C.H.I.P.S. and the Texan
Kathleene Runnels is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or wilsoncountynews.com.
In the early 90's, I was new at traveling in Southern California and still scared spit-less by the harrowing driving on 'The Five'. I was with my friend Cathy, who had made a reputation back in Texas for her inept driving skills, as she raced ~ literally ~ down toward Fisherman's in San Clemente. I had already learned that to look at one's speedometer was unwise. In those days the speed limit was still 55 mph, yet folks out there gave that law little heed. I found myself plastered to the back of the passenger seat while Cathy raced at speed limits nearing 80 mph, and that was before switching in a heartbeat to the HOV lane, then SPED UP! Oh-my-gosh.
I had decided that she must be in her element, because back home in Texas she was always at her max in speeding tickets; yet she assured me that after several years of driving in California she had not gotten even one! Never the less, on this particular lovely day, I was not surprised to hear her say with dismay, "Oh dear. I'm getting stopped!"
Cathy pulled over to the right, onto the grassy roadside, and stopped. The highway patrolman, (CHIPS), sauntered over to my side of the car, looked down through my opened window, and asked Cathy for her driver's license. As she leaned down and over and looked up, and I leaned way back against the seat so they could make eye contact, she said in a rush, "Oh Officer. I guess I wasn't paying any attention. I'm taking my friend to Fisherman's. She's from out of state, and we were so busy talking...."
Interrupting her, he said slowly, "Well, you were passing the other cars.... And you passed me. I'm going to have to give you a ticket." Then he turned and walked back toward his patrol car.
Cathy dejectedly dropped her head, and I said, "Oh, Cathy. He's going to write you a ticket." Then what seemed almost instantly, the patrolman was at my window again and said, slowly, "Excuse me, ma'me, but did your friend say you were from out of state?" I thought, "Oh, dear. I guess in California passengers aren't supposed to talk and now I'm in trouble!" I stared wide-eyed, nodding with trepidation, and found my voice enough to squeak out, "Yes." He asked, "Where are you from?" I said, "Texas?" kind of like a question and an admission of guilt.... He hurriedly replied, "I knew it! What part of Texas?" I said, "San Antonio." He said, "Me, too. I went to school at Edgewood." I said that I had gone to Burbank. He said he moved to California back in the 60's when he had joined the Marines and had been there ever since. Then he said, "You ladies go on and have a nice day. I'm not going to give you a ticket!"
We could only look at each other in astonishment. How did he know I was from Texas from that one little comment I made and while he was walking away? Is my Texas accent truly so apparent? Amazing! C.H.I.P.S and The Texan had bonded, and we all went on our merry ways.