Thursday, April 26, 2012

Drive Safe and Sanitary

Last week-end, when I was headed to Billings, I received a sweet text from our daughter, Maria.  In the text I was instructed to "drive safe and sanitary".  In fact, I received multiple similar messages.  Mike also directed me to drive safe and sanitary as I left that morning.  Actually, I stood there until he remembered to say it, refusing to make my exit until he did.  Those are words of love in our family and they pretty much always make me happy.

Reminding a loved one to "drive safe" probably isn't so weird, but are you now wondering if I am known for driving in an unsanitary fashion?  How would someone do that?  Maybe I drive with the windows down and cough out the window at pedestrians?  Maybe I sneeze into my hand and transfer germs onto the steering wheel, endangering the next driver?  Do I throw used tissues willy nilly around the car?  Well, just in case you are worried about any of that, I try my best to cough into the crook of my elbow, pick up any tissues I may use and I even have hand sanitizer in my car and I know how to use it.  Sometimes, if I am sick, I even put a gob of it on my hands and smear it around the entire steering wheel.

When Maria and Mike commanded the "safe and sanitary" trip they were simply carrying on family tradition.  Here's the story, at least my memory of it...  I think it was my great-grandfather who started the strange send-off.

He was seeing off some relatives, you know, how you all stand awkwardly around a car as you say your "good-byes".  That is also the time when someone remembers that they never took photos of their loved ones during the visit so they snap them just before they leave.  In fact, I was fascinated by how many "leaving" photos I saw in the old family photo collection.  The first two below are my Grandma Rose.  Wasn't she a beauty?

Sometimes those send offs take awhile, huh?  Anyway, he started talking without thinking out his entire sentence.  Of course, I've never done that.  He said, "Drive safe and....." I don't know what he meant to say and maybe he didn't either.  Finally, out came "sanitary".  What?

My great-grandfather's words to "drive safe and sanitary" became part of family lore and is now the send-off for multiple generations of descendants, people who live all over this country.  It's silly, isn't it?  I'm sure it brought laughs for awhile, making fun of the original speaker of that odd phrase.  Now, it is just an expected part of our tradition.  I hope none of us become superstitious, thinking we won't be safe if we don't hear it, but it does kind of make us feel sealed with love.  The funny times are when one of us says it to someone outside the family.  Oddly, they just don't get it.  Trust me, I've done it.

I am guessing my great-grandfather had no idea that his quirky little phrase would only gain steam over the generations.  I'm quite certain he never imaged that phrase being texted to people not yet even born when he first uttered it.  I'm sure he never conceived the idea of someone blogging about it.  Funny, huh?  Today, I am sending the "Drive safe and sanitary!" directive to a loved one via this know who you are!

Now, it is your turn.  Anyone brave enough to share some odd little family sayings or traditions of your own?


Michelle said...

What a hoot! I had planned on doing another family traditions piece on "Safe and Sanitary"--now I don't have to. I really enjoyed your take on it.

My photo albums are full of "leaving" pictures. It seemed like every time any of us visited Mother, the cameras came out at departure time. And, I must confess, I still tend to do that, preserving those last moments of togetherness before the company is gone.

Kate W. said...

Ha! So did you see my post asking Maria about this?? :) When she said she thought you'd blogged about it, I spent like an hour last night, searching your blog for something about driving sanitary. My OCD making an appearance, obviously. LOL! So imagine my happiness to see this title on FB this am! I booked it right to my computer to find out the secret!

As far as family traditions, Mike and I have developed one over the past 18 years -- I actually picked it up from a sweet friend of mine. Every day, when her hubby would leave for work, she's tell him "Be so safe!" I adopted that, and each morning, I'd tell my Mike "I love you. Be safe, and have a good day!" And it's stuck.

Oh, and one other little one to share. My friend, raising teenagers, would always tell them to make good choices. So we turned that into kind of a loving joke, so with all our "kids" (ie, close friends children), whenever we're around them and they're going out, we make sure to shower them with hugs, and holler out as they're leaving, "Make good choices!!" Silly, I know.

Gosh! Should have blogged about his myself! LOL! Have a great day Sue, and thanks for solving the mystery of driving sanitary! :)

Maria Rose said...

We took the generations old advice and continued our journey safe and sanitary!

Susan Struck said...

So, Michelle, did I get the story right? I think you should do your version of it anyway. Eventually you will have lots of readers who don't read my blog and maybe they need to know this story also. Maybe we can start a worldwide tradition!

Susan Struck said...

No, Kate, I hadn't seen your question. I actually thought I'd blogged about it before but couldn't find it. Maybe Maria had blogged about it long ago; she's been blogging for years.

I like your tradition with your Mike as well. I also like telling teens to make good choices. That can't have hurt!

It's always nice to hear from you, Kate!

Susan Struck said...

And you'd better continue to do so! ...please.

AKM said...

(I actually stole "drive safe and sanitary" from y'all and use it because it cracked me up. And it's actually really good advice. So it's now sweeping St. Louis, FYI.)

Wow, we have SO many weird family sayings/traditions that I can't even think of specific ones. Well, for one thing, my brother, mother, and I can have whole conversations or convey an idea with TV/movie quotes/scenes. And the other person TOTALLY gets it. Stuff like that. ;-)

Hey, Kate, we have a "choices" line in our family, too! A while back, my mom's boss's preschool daughter told her parents, "I'm going to start making the right choices," because Christmas was coming or Santa was watching or something like that. We just thought it was so funny because it was such a serious statement coming from a little one, all on her own! So, whenever we know we shouldn't do something -- like, say, eating dessert before lunch -- we'll tell each other, "Well, I think I'm going to start making the RIGHT CHOICES." :-)

Featured Post

My Life as a Travel Agent

On a recent morning I was at work and as one of my patients was waiting for his death, I thought again about an idea that keeps popping int...