February 24, 2021
Since Melissa had the day off yesterday, we decided to go for an afternoon drive. The day was in the mid-70’s and this was exactly why we had kept the SLK convertible. A combination of cold weather and sitting during the winter meant that our battery had died. I know I need to periodically fire up the engine and take it for a spin to keep a charge, but it has been too cold to mess with lately. I keep a hand-held charger for just such occasions (and the boat motor) so I hooked it up and the engine began to purr. I pulled out of the garage and brought down the top. It was a great day for a drive.
Melissa gave me the option of going any direction I wanted. The four o’clock traffic was so bad I had no choice but to turn right on the main road. When we got to the edge of town I decided to go south as I wanted to take another look at a lake I have wanted to fish. As I turned onto the road a sheriff car slid in behind me. He no doubt thought my little red sports car would not be able to stay under the speed limit. I put it on cruise control, and we enjoyed the birds and scenery that went by. I could see the officer checking my registration with dispatch. Even though he found nothing, he continued to follow (too close by the way) for the next six miles. He finally went around when we got to the next town.
Melissa told me to turn right at the intersection and we ended up in Oklahoma. As we took the bypass around a small town, we passed another patrol car that slid in behind us. I saw this was local police and was surprised when again we were closely followed for the next seven miles. I set the control for the speed limit and tried to enjoy the drive. Since we did not have a clear destination, I purposefully turned off into the next town. We were not followed. I decided to take the car north and ended up in Spiro, Oklahoma. The road east out of Spiro took us to Poteau, and from there we crossed over into Arkansas and Fort Smith. I knew Fort Smith was on the boarder but did not realize the southwest road did not cross the river. Despite the distractions, it was nice to just get out and drive.
Thoughts: When we stopped in Spiro, I came across a sign showing all the wonderful places to go in Southeast Oklahoma. The roads were nice and there was natural beauty. I knew a bit of the colorful history, especially its lawless attachment to Fort Smith. I could not help but think we were identified as part of that wild lawlessness as we drove through the area. A red convertible with its top down on a warm day is obviously up to no good (and speed!). Twice I warranted tailing for miles at one mile below the speed limit waiting for me to do something wrong. We recently watched the documentary, Driving While Black. The documentary mainly spoke of how the automobile gave a sense of freedom to Black drivers and families. However, the name comes from the perception that driving while Black was enough to pull a vehicle over on suspicion. While we were not stopped, I did get a small sense of what it must feel like. Do the work. Change is coming and it starts with you.