What a long strange trip

Published 4:06 pm Tuesday, May 14, 2019

First of all, thank you Lord for the wonderful showers we have received these past few days. We might get caught out in the middle of a parking lot and get uncomfortably wet and messy. It might be irritating to the farmer whose field may be delayed in planting, but the rain sure does make the leaves on the trees and the grass in the yard greener. Plus, we don’t have to drag hoses around to water the flowers.

I like historical stories and I heard one this past week that I enjoyed. This May, 2019, is the 150th anniversary of an event that changed our nation forever. For the good!

It happened in Promontory, Utah, on May 10, 1869. As I wrote a few weeks ago, the Jeopardy clue might simply name that town. Any buttons pushed yet?

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If you answered, “Where was the golden spike driven in the crosstie to finish the project known as the Transcontinental Railroad?” give yourselves a high-five. The great continent of North America had finally been connected from the east coast to the west.

In 1868, one year before, it did not matter how rich or smart you were. If you lived in New York City and wanted to travel to San Francisco, a covered wagon was your best bet and it would take six months.

After May 10, 1869, the journey across our great nation would be possible in only ten days. That would take a lot of money for that time and some good fortune. But still, to be able to go from the east coast to the west in even 20 days was so much better than six months. Our country would never be the same.

As I heard the story, I’m sure there were some liberties taken with the telling, but it was something that I had never considered. We have taken for granted how easy it is to go from one place to another. Just a short 150 years ago, life was so much different.

Some may think that 150 years are a long time, but not so fast. I have a great aunt who will be 100 years old in September of this year. Donna Sue’s mother is 95 years old and I have friend in Pelham who celebrated his 98th birthday two days ago. Just think of all they have seen.

In 1919 when my great aunt was born, automobiles were just becoming popular. I’m sure in her first few years, if she went anywhere; it was probably in a mule-drawn wagon of some kind. Going to the nearest town, maybe five miles away, was a big deal.

By the time she was a teenager, though, her family probably had their version of an automobile and going to town was not that big a deal anymore. By the time she married, she was probably driving. I saw Aunt Mary a few weeks ago at a family reunion and she still drives, but to church only.

The Grateful Dead is a musical group born in the 1960’s. They have millions of fans and one of their songs, “Truckin,” has a line in it “What a long, strange trip it’s been.” I have always liked that song because of that particular line.

When thinking of just how far our nation has come, it’s appropriate to think how long that distance is. Hearing of Promontory Point, Utah, and how the east met the west there in 1869, made me realize that we take a lot for granted these days.

We take for granted that we can travel quickly and easily, but I wonder if we know where we are going.