Sep 02

On the White Line Backstory

by in Work & Self-Employment

Each time I reached for the keys to Big Red, our family’s 1976 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight, my father would call out, “Keep the eagle on the white line!”

The phrase was familiar in our house. As far as I knew, he and my uncles invented the phrase in the 1930s… a personal farewell to be exchanged when one brother made the trip home from the dance hall without the other. As long as the hood ornament was kept in line with the stripe on the highway, the driver was sure to make it home safely.

Later, my uncles uttered the words to mark my father’s trip to the mines in Ajo, Arizona, then to the battlefields of World War II. Dad never stopped using the phrase, and he took a private delight in hearing it slip from the mouths of his children.

Just as my every journey began with “Keep the eagle on the white line,” every return home had its own ritual. I’d stand in the doorway and ask my father, “Did you miss me?”

He’d raise his eyebrows and snap back, “With every shot so far.”

“I love you too, dad.” Then, I’d head to the kitchen to sample the fresh scones, chocolate fudge cake, oatmeal cookies, currant cookies and safron bread he made especially for my arrival.

3 Responses to “On the White Line Backstory”

  1. From Jessiev:

    i love your homecoming – and your family. thanks for sharing this – looking forward to reading more on your site!

    Posted on September 14, 2009 at 10:55 am #
  2. From Karen:

    Wow great story! I love hearing stories like that.

    Posted on June 15, 2011 at 5:25 pm #
  3. From Matt Purol:

    Love the travel blogs. There is so much to see in the US and you guys are taking full advantage of it. Keep up the posts!

    Posted on July 1, 2011 at 10:20 pm #