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  • Writer's pictureHanky

Giving Thanks Happily

Recently we were handed a copy of a letter written by a sweet, eighty-eight year old grandmother who still drives her own car. This letter to her grandaugther is so innocently uplifting that we just had to share it, hoping you will get as good a laugh out of it as we did:

My dearest girl,

The other day I went to our local Christian book store where I noticed a bumper sticker that said “Honk if you love Jesus!”. I was in very high spirits that day because I had just come from a thrilling choir performance follwed by a thunderous prayer meeting, so I just had to have that sticker. I stuck it on my rear bumper right away. Boy, am I glad I did, for what followed was the most uplifting spiritual experience of a life time.

I was stopped at a red light at a busy intersection, deep in thought about the wonderful things the Lord has done, so I didn’t notice that the light had changed. I was woken out of my reveries by the driver behind me honking his horn - clearly he had noticed my sticker. So I stuck my hand out of the window and waved in acknowledgement. Then he stuck out his head and shouted in a very exuberant voice: “For the love of God, GO already, GO!” As I turned around to smile at this wonderful man, other drivers started honking as well. Obviously everybody wanted to join in this very joyous occasion, so I waved at all of them and honked my own horn a few times too - this was turning into a glorious religious happening.

There must have been a man from Florida back there, because I heard him yelling something about a sunny beach. And another man was waving his arm in a funny sort of way, with only one finger stuck in the air. I asked my teenage grandson - you know, your cousin Charlie - who was cowering on the backseat, what that meant. He thought it could be an ancient Russian good luck sign, like an encouragement showing you’re half-way to Winston Churchill’s victory sign. I thought that was so wonderful, that I gave the good luck sign right back. By then, Charlie was rolling with laughter - clearly he too was caught up in this joyous event.

Several people had gotten out of their cars and started walking towards me - I think they wanted to shake my hand and ask me what church I attended. But that’s when I saw the light was green, so I had to drive on - I noticed that I was the only vehicle that got through the intersection before the light changed again. And I felt kind of sad having to leave all those new friends who were all honking loudly. So I slowed down, leaned out of the window and gave them all one last Russian good luck sign, before I drove away praising the Lord for such wonderful folks.

Will write again soon. Love....... grandma.

As I am in my eighties myself and still drive quite a bit, I found the above letter a real eye-opener. In the last year or so a number of people have given me this Russian good luck sign, but I have mistaken it for an expression of post-pandemic road rage. I apologize to all those well-meaning, wonderful people for having misjudged their loving kindness and - from now on - shall be happy to return their heart-felt salute.

Signage by the Wayside

More important than the signals that motorists give to each other, are the signs by the roadside - actually, we are supposed to know what they all mean before we are to venture out on the road. Even so, it can happen that you come across a sign that doesn’t quite make sense (or maybe it’s one you haven’t seen before) - though it is hard to imagine a total confusion like we’ve shown on the right - that look like a dog’s breakfast (albeit hot)!

More likely we’ll find very common and very sensible signs like the little “keep right except to pass” ones that have been planted besides our B.C. roads for decades. Now there is a simple, but very effective (and inexpensive) sign that

doesn’t discriminate between one motorist and an other. If all of us road users would follow this sign all of the time, we would never be confronted with lane huggers nor lane swappers, nor people cutting you off or forcing their way into your lane. And if observed in conjunction with other rules (like speed limit and such) there would be a lot less honking and fingering road rage. Because this little sign was designed (read de-signed!) on the KISS principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid).

Alas, a number of years ago, the provincial government, in an effort to

“improve” on a good thing, decided to start replacing the old reliable small signs with a much bigger, more elaborate and much more expensive sign, that fails to get a clear message across. To begin with, it’s message “keep right - let others pass” clearly reveals the government’s goal to reach two kinds of road users: the ones that “keep right” and the “others that pass”. And since all of us law-abiding British Columbians always keep right, the “others” must be the foreigners, like those red-plated !%&#! Albertans and Washingtonians. No discrimination here, right?!!

To further clarify (or mystify) the purpose, graphics have been added to this new sign - a green and a black car on a double lane road, with black stripes/arrow showing the travel direction. Presumably the green is the safe car, driven by us “the righteous” BC-ers, and the “other” (black) car is obviously coming up behind the green one and then swerves to overtake it (see arrow). But: note that our safe green car is staying in the left lane and that foreigner’s black car is passing in the right lane. That’s two No No’s!!

A dozen or more years ago, the government started replacing those little old signs with the big new ones on all our double lane roads. But only a relative small number were placed - most signs out there are still those little old ones. And that little one is still being produced under code R007-2 in the BC government inventory. It appears no more of the new ones have been placed for some years - maybe our leaders got wise to the misleading aspect of this product and decided to let it die quietly? Thus we continue with a mixed message - while we’re reminded to “keep right except to pass”, we are also informed that “others” are permitted to pass, and to do so any which way. We think that those new signs have become an expensive exercise in futility, only causing more confusion the longer they are left out there.

It brings to mind that old Marlene Dietrich song:

Where have all the flowers gone? When will they ever learn?

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