I thought I would write about one of the funnies from my childhood. Well, not funny to everyone who fell into this trap.
I grew up in Triadelphia, WV a small town on the east side of Wheeling WV. It was a coal mining town and on hot muggy days you could see the coal dust hanging low over the valley to the east of town. It was a town with its own flavor and characters.
We lived next to a gas station. I won’t name the brand but…“you can trust your car to the man who wears the star“…OOPS! Dated myself there didn’t I?
Now our town was as dull as the flat head of a nail. When I was around 7 and not allowed to venture outside our yard, entertainment was to see how many different state license plates went by the house. Another point dating me, the interstate highways had not been constructed yet. We saw tons of traffic on National Road that passed in front of our house. No wonder our house was so dusty; heavily traveled National Road in the front and the rail road behind the house. The railroad is now gone and one of the town wonders decided to buy the land and put mobile homes on that track of land behind all the houses.
The gas station next to our house would hire neighborhood guys to work the pumps. Remember full service at a gas station? We often talked with these guys and my sister ended up marrying one of them, but I’m off point. Anyway, by the time I was 14 I too would talk with the guys since they all lived within a shout of our house. One particular young guy just thought it was terrifically funny to give misdirections. Wheeling was west of Triadelphia, and you could easily walk to the outer edges of Wheeling. My friend would be happy to provide the full service that stations did back in the day and his service included giving directions. A traveler would ask “How far to Wheeling?” he would tell them they had already passed it.
He would tell them to go back out of the station, turn right, east not west, go to the first traffic light, turn right and go about “X” number of miles. Well, there were a few small towns between Triadelphia and the first traffic light. Yes, he sent them in the opposite direction.
In the evening after he was done sweeping the front of the station, he would stop by and tell us how many travelers he had given directions to that day or that week. I would ask him, “Aren’t you afraid they will come back this way and come looking for you.” He was never worried “By the time they know they went the wrong way, most likely they don’t stop again. If they do I will just I meant to say turn left.” I guess that is why I learned to read a map. I wasn’t going to take a chance of finding this type of a character in my travels.
Life might have been boring in our little town, but some of the residents had their own version of entertainment.
Happy Motoring and either have a map or a GPS!