Don’t Throw Mama off…

… the Turnpike

Mama_for_WebpagesAnother work related directly to the Free State experience came in 2009, when Wright had returned to Michigan because of a need to care for his ailing mother. A book that came from that period is more a humor and travel work, where he had to sell his ‘Free State’ Audi. The original Don’t Throw Mama off the Turnpike (< this link goes to the original Lulu version) also included three other narratives of memorable events pertinent to the Freedom Rider’s experience at the time:

  1. early victory over anti-smoking-freedom forces in the Free State, [1]
  2. way back, the Libertarian Party convention 1987 where Ron Paul was nominated for Prez over Russell Means, [2] and
  3. a personal Woodward Dream Cruise in the Motor City with his SE Michigan huckleberries.[3]

These appendix pieces do not appear in the current Createspace-published edition, but I have provided links to the articles on my Coffee Coaster site.  It’s better to separate the three smaller pieces out anyway, because Don’t Throw Mama is such a fun and humor piece withal, that stands on its own… rekindling the special time I had with my dear mother whom I now miss so much. I’d give anything to make another exceptional business road trip to mid-state New York with her as my ‘wing man.’ Then return via Canton, Ohio, to visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame and fete her special hero, Troy Aikman, quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys.

Plot Summary

“The time had come… as times inevitably do: the car had to be sold—i.e. the world-famous Freedom Rider’s Audi A4, 1.8 Liter Turbocharged, 2002, Dolphin Gray, with New Hampshire Vanity plate: BWRIGHT… as described reverently in Brian Wright’s number-one best-selling book on the Free State experience, New Pilgrim Chronicles… “

Okay, here’s the plan, Mom… Mom?!

“The buyer is going to leave NYC on an Amtrak train on Wednesday, July 22. I will leave Detroit area with the Audi on Tuesday, July 21, arrive at Liverpool Knights’ Inn that evening after driving 500 miles, then I’ll pick up Bob at the Syracuse, NY, train station at 4:01 p.m. on the 22d. Bob will have cash money for me in the agreed upon amount, along with an additional $200 for my travel expenses.

“Well, our expenses, meaning for me and for whoever I can find to be my “wing man” to caravan with me to Syracuse… in order that I’ll have a ride back to Michigan. Let me think, who has the time and the wheels to follow me to Syracuse, stay there for two nights, and drive me back? Hmmm. All right, no need for fanfare. It’s got to be my 82-year-old mother, and her 1997 Mercury Villager…”

So what was I thinking?

Won’t give you the rest of the story, except to note that I had to have my head examined to put my mom through this ordeal at the age of 82—and I didn’t realize it then, but in a few months’ time she would be undergoing dialysis for her genetic kidney condition. From the gitgo the trip could have ended in complete disaster, when at the access to the Ohio Turnpike south of Toledo, instead of following me to enter the eastbound route to Cleveland she took the westbound to Chicago. Yikes! How did we ever recover from that?!!!

Along with torrential rainstorms as we approached the Syracuse, New York, transaction point. And the fact that I’m driving a performance automobile in the Audi, while she’s trying to keep up, especially in the rain, while not running into me and ruining the whole deal. It really was an adventure of a lifetime, and I’m sure if Mom were here today, she would volunteer to help out her number one son, once again, in his hour o’ need. I made the connection with a man taking the railroad from Long Island, NY, and did the deal. $6900 cash.

[The buyer had a Mideast look. We were lucky Homeland Security didn’t detain him.]

The return trip in the Villager through the lush countryside in the western wedge of New York was a true healing and bonding experience I’ll treasure more and more each year. It wasn’t just the side trip to the Hall of Fame or trying (unsuccessfully) to find the windmills I’d remembered from previous journeys back and forth from New Hampshire. I remember distinctly having wound up in one of the small ski-resort towns (Ellicottville?) along one of the old state highways. I’d gotten turned around, and needed gas.

So I filled up, bought a Dr. Pepper, and we pulled a couple of sandwiches from the cooler, along with some celery and carrots, making a light lunch there in the car. We’d become quiet, a light rain pinged on the windshield, like the sun shining, intermittently. Just me and my mom in the aftermath of another unusual little victory, enjoying being alive. There was such a feeling of peace and being, mother and son, unquestioned, the way of the universe. We never spoke of the special moment in the middle of nowhere—it’s not the kind of event one profanes with chatter—but I know it was the deep-quiet high point of the trip for us both.

Obtaining Don’t Throw Mama off the Turnpike from the Author

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Don’t Throw Mama from the Turnpike

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