Missing People: New Hampshire Sunday Drivers

Sunday Drivers were once all the rage. I'm serious. 

Where do you think that term came from?  Nowadays the term “Sunday Driver” describes just a person ahead of you on the road, who is driving at a rate much slower than you'd like.

About fifty years ago, the term meant something else completely.  Heck everyone was driving slowly then. If you drove fast in New Hampshire, you only did so until you hit that first frost heave, and heard the clunk of your transmission as it hit the asphalt.

It used to be a common occurrence after Sunday lunch for my (and other) parents to stuff the kids into the back seat of the car and head out into the country “to take in the sights.” The younger kids were so short that they really couldn't see out the windows, and the older siblings took the choice outside seats to insure you didn't fall out somehow.

Mom was a certifiable tour guide, providing us with a road by road, building by building, cow-by-cow description of what we might be seeing if we were taller.  About half way through the ride one of my brothers would get bored, and would begin pinching and kicking.  No matter how hard we begged and cajoled, mom wouldn't tie him to the roof of the car.

My dad would sometimes comment about how the area had changed since he was a boy.  Once in a while he'd take a crazy turn, my mom would squeal and we'd be bouncing down some god-forsaken rut.  You'd hear loud scratching sounds as the car plowed through overgrown tree branches and bushes.  When we'd come out on the other side, my mom would protest and get him to promise that he would never do that again.  But of course he would repeat the process the next time.  

By the time you got home from our Sunday Drive, either you were sufficiently bored and ready for a nap, OR your stomach was so upset from all the jostling that you wanted to lie down.  Either way, it was a brilliant way for parents to “naturally sedate” the kids, so they could enjoy the rest of the evening.

The new generation has forsaken the traditional Sunday Drive. Instead of that feeling of togetherness produced by close quarters, each person instead goes their own way. Instead of driving around somewhat aimlessly for hours, electronic devices such as Wii, television, and iPods provide adolescent amusements.

All I can say is “Way to go!”


P.S.: I'm the little girl pictured above, in my best outfit and bonnet, getting ready for a Sunday drive.

-Youtube: “Sunday Drive”-

Sunday Driver Rock in New Boston NH

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One Response to Missing People: New Hampshire Sunday Drivers

  1. nhmarkers says:

    My husband and I are Sunday drivers who grew up in Sunday driving households. I alternate between envy and pity for our only child, who never experiences encroachment on her side of the back seat, but pays by suffering through adult conversations about Very Boring Things. At least there’s usually ice cream in the offing.

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