Write Again … A GPS would have helped

Published 12:05 am Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My first choice for the title of this column was “The Four Horsemen Ride Again.”

Now that’s an impressive, attention grabbing title, wouldn’t you say?

Alas, it would have been a real stretch, and not really apropos of a literary allusion to “ … of the Apocalypse.”

Nor would it have been a valid reference to Stuhldreyer, Layden, Crowley and Miller, who were made famous in such fashion by Grantland Rice.

Even in the unlikely chance that any reader may not be familiar with those names cited here, let me tell you that the foursome were the starting backfield for Notre Dame in the mid-20s, and Grantland Rice, perhaps the most famous sports journalist of all time, gave them sports literary immortality when he so named them.

So. On to my narrative.

A little before nine in the morning I picked up Carl, then we proceeded to Fritz’s house to get him. The purpose of this sojourn was to provide company to Fritz, and be return home drivers. You see, he was to have an early afternoon medical procedure at a hospital to our west. I’ll get back to that in a moment.

Our last pickup was to take place in Winterville. Milton was going with us also.

Meaning to be helpful, Milton had provided Fritz with a hand drawn map to his house. A short cut, if you will. His recommended route would save time.

Well, after several attempts at deciphering Milton’s map we found ourselves in unfamiliar territory. The clock was ticking, and we were getting a bit concerned.

At an intersection — somewhere in Pitt County — we spotted Ernie’s Grill. That was a new place to the three of us. However, Ernie’s Grill might be described in many ways, but “new” it was not.

Had the makers of the film “Deliverance” known about Ernie’s Grill they most surely would have used it for an on-location shoot. This combination store and grill would have made the 1950s look quite modern. The few men situated in there would have made perfect casting for “The Grapes of Wrath.”

We left there with diminishing hope that we might yet reach Winterville. When we drove into the town limits of Ayden, we quickly realized that the first leg of our journey was still not over. Ayden, for goodness’ sake!

Finally — finally — we found Winterville (after wrong-turning and back-tracking quite a bit).

No problem. We found Milton’s house, and thanks to his map drawing expertise and our ability to comprehend same, we only took a little over an hour to reach him. Using his short cut, that is. Plus, we got to see a lot of the less developed and sparsely populated regions of Pitt County.

Then it was on to Chapel Hill. For those of you not familiar with that particular place, let me provide a little geographic frame of reference. Think Carrboro, you know, west of Raleigh. Also, we were told there is a school located in that town.

The one next to Carrboro, that is.

By boldly rolling the direction dice, we actually managed to find the hospital. You know, the one in the town adjacent to Carrboro.

Friends, you’ve rarely seen such traffic, such congestion, as there was at the hospital. Finding the appropriate parking area was quite a challenge. This all took place under drizzling skies.

The reason for this trek as stated was that Fritz needed to be there to have a procedure done. We were his support team.

I was sitting near the foot of his bed in recovery when Fritz came out of the Land of Nod. Even though he didn’t exactly say so, I suspect he knew he had survived the procedure and wasn’t in heaven, because the very first thing, person, he saw was me. That’s not to say he completely ruled out having landed in that other venue.

The main thing is that everything related to his hospital experience went well, and good news was the result.

When we finally arrived back at Milton’s house on our return trip, he volunteered to lead us back to some point where we could use the shortcut back home.

Surely he was kidding. We immediately opted out of that option, quite happy to go home using a more familiar route.

Besides, since it was now dark, we didn’t know if Ernie’s Grill would be open.

I still think “The Four Horsemen Ride Again” would have been a good title.