Fiction or Fact from Bob’s Almanac

by Robert Mason Jr.

With all due respect to Elijah W. Reed, John Washington, John Carter and Richard Lee, if you ain’t from here, learn to drive here.

Now Reed, the father of Reedville, Washington, the great-grandfather of George Washington, Carter, the father of Robert “King” Carter, and Lee “The Immigrant” and great-great-great-grandfather of Robert E. Lee, were all come heres.

I doubt they did a lot of driving. Except for Reed, the automobile wasn’t even a figment of the imagination during their days in the Northern Neck. Many credit Karl Benz with the invention of the automobile in 1885 or 1886 in Germany, but it took a while to find its way to the Northern Neck.

By the time the Ford Motor Company was churning out the Model T in 1908, Reed had been dead for some 20 years.

And given the relative financial successes of these come here’s, if they were around today they’d probably use chauffeurs—an acceptable alternative for those who can’t drive themselves.

I won’t go to the extreme and say, “if you ain’t from here, don’t come here,” an attention catching, even offensive approach to the visiting driver syndrome.

Granted, last week’s congestion in Kilmarnock might be attributed to the peak summer holiday tourist season. With July 4 falling on hump day, the weekenders couldn’t pick which end to spend here, so they were coming and going or staying all week long.

It might just be that our transportation system of rural roads, town streets and traffic light synchronization isn’t designed for the influx, but the cacophony of horns didn’t really solve anything. And I don’t know that the new flashing caution arrows at some of the hot intersections helped all that much to relieve the pressure of the bottleneck.

For the most part, those of us who live here, including come heres like myself, don’t block intersections and don’t take up two parking spaces on Main Street in the Steptoe’s District. There are exceptions.

But most of those parking spaces are at least 21 feet in length from white line to white line. What’s the problem?

That’s enough room for many drivers to park front wheels first, avoiding the classic signal, pull forward and back in parallel approach we learned in driver’s ed.

And we try to practice a little patience when the car in front does need time and room to maneuver in or out of the designated spot.

I observed that many vehicles experiencing navigation issues displayed out of state tags. They always seem to be in a hurry.

Slow down. The need for speed on Route 3 sort of died in August 1957. When the Rappahannock River Bridge opened, the race to beat the ferry’s final crossing for the day ended.

And there’s no reason to be in a hurry to cross the bridge anytime soon. Chances are the signal or flagman is going to catch you coming or going, if the blue lights don’t get you first.


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