by Leonard Sullivan
As a young farm boy in school in Oklahoma, as we studied our history and geography lessons, we never dreamed the impossible dream of one day traveling to “far away”places. The only persons I knew, or knew of, who had traveled out of the USA were a few WWI veterans. Some had been to Europe and they had no plans of ever returning there.
With the bombing of Pearl Harbor and WWII starting, all the young men were joining the military and shipping out to places all over the world . I was seven years old five days after Pearl Harbor was bombed and I remember hoping the war would last until I had a chance to join in on this heroic traveling to far away places.
My traveling adventures by the time I graduated from high school was a trip to California via Route 66, a couple of family reunions in Arkansas and Texas, and a trip to Kansas City to move relatives back to Oklahoma. It was a dream come true to be able to drive a large truck through parts of Missouri and Kansas. My pay for the task was two days of meals and a night in a motel. While in college I made another trip to California taking the northern route through Kansas, Colorado, Utah and Nevada. The next year as an employee of a produce plant in Shawnee, Oklahoma, I drove a truck of frozen chickens to Concordia, Kansas. There was a highway sign showing Nebraska 30 miles away so I drove that 30 miles to the state line and turned around and headed back to Oklahoma, adding Nebraska to the list of states I had been in. My next trip while in college was a flight to Memphis for a job interview with Kroger, my future employer. The airplane I flew on landed in Ft. Smith and Little Rock before landing in Memphis.
As they say, the rest is history. Once in the business world, traveling became a part of life. But, as a kid squirming at a desk in Dale, Oklahoma, I could never have imagined traveling all over the world. Marilyn, my wife owned a travel agency, which allowed us to travel by plane, train, and ships throughout the world. We have made one or two major pleasure trips every year for several years now. We have just returned from a trip to the South Pacific including Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand which included a 14 day cruise.
As I was day dreaming in the “Crow’s Nest” of that cruise ship, I was reminded of just how fortunate we have been to be able to travel to those “far away” places that I had never dreamed of as a kid.