The next time you’re on Highway 30 West between here and Oxford, and the traffic is backed up, waiting to pass a little, blue car, don’t get too upset. That’s my wife, going exactly 55 miles an hour on the uphills, the downhills and the long straight stretches. Most times, she’s even using the cruise control, so she doesn’t unknowingly creep up a little on a downhill stretch.
I suggested that when there is a lot of commuting traffic, she should just go along with the flow so she doesn’t make other drivers mad. Especially if the other driver is behind one of those 18-wheelers.
“No, it’s the law,” she said.
This is the new Jenny. Why the new Jenny? Because the old Jenny got a speeding ticket a week ago on Highway 30 while driving home from school. Now, if you know Jenny, you know she doesn’t get speeding tickets. She’s usually within five miles of the speed limit.
In fact, she was so upset about getting her first ticket that she actually called me on her cell phone while the Mississippi Highway Patrolman was writing it out.
“I thought the speed limit was 65,” she said.
“No, it’s 55 on two-lane roads,” I told her.
She was still upset by the time she got home. I knew a little bit about how she felt because I had never gotten a speeding ticket until a couple of years ago. We were on vacation, the first I had taken in a couple of years. We had gotten off the Interstate and were headed across the Texas desert on a two-lane highway, making our way to New Mexico, where we were to visit Carlsbad Caverns National Park.
I was feeling fat (actually, I’m always feeling fat), content and happy. We had just stopped in a small town for a Dairy Queen cone, always a highlight of any family trip. The road seemed to stretch out for miles like a brown ribbon on a long table; there were no other cars.
I was driving, but I wasn’t paying close attention. Jenny and I were talking about the Texas practice of putting a picnic table on the sand amid a couple of scrub shrubs next to a road and calling it a roadside park.
Suddenly, the shrubs started flashing red lights. ‘He must have been called to an accident,” I thought, as the trooper pulled out and started gaining on us.
“Pull over; you’re going to get a speeding ticket,” Jenny said.
“No, I’m not,” I said, looking down at the speedometer. My heart sank. The little green “Cruise” light wasn’t lit; I had forgotten to reset it after the ice-cream stop.
“Do you know what just happened,” Jenny said, turning to Joe in the back seat.
“He got a ticket. So?” Joe said, never looking up from his Game Boy.
“But he always brags about never getting a speeding ticket in his whole life,” she said.
Then she called my sister, Donna, who delights in poking fun at me. Donna suggested Jenny find my baby book and paste the ticket on one of the pages labeled “Firsts.”
Jenny and Donna got a good laugh. I didn’t think it was funny.
When Jenny got her ticket, I was proud of myself for not embarrassing her by calling up my sister or Jenny’s friends.
Writing a column about it doesn’t count. Does it?
T. Wayne Mitchell, publisher of the Gazette, can be reached by phone at 662-534-6321 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.