(Day 13 of the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories: Holiday Travel)
We never traveled anywhere during the holiday season. My Dad worked graveyard for bread company and he never had Christmas Eve off. Besides my folks couldn’t afford to travel more than once a year, so all our festivities were in town.
But several relatives came into town for the Christmas Eve celebrations at my Grandparents house. Life the 1960s and 1970s was so different than today. People looked upon alcohol and rugs in a very different light. No one ever heard of a designated driver. People didn’t wear seatbelts. Mom often had a baby on her lap as Dad drove the family around. Dad drank a cup of coffee, then convinced everyone that he was sober enough to drive, and they were on the road.
At these Christmas Eve celebrations, alcohol flowed freely. The adults drank heavily in the name of festivity. No one thought about drunk driving or having too much. When the party at Grandma and Granpa’s was over, they piled into the car. Dad a bit more than tipsy and the kids drowsy in the back seat. Some had an hour or two of driving ahead of them to get to their Christmas Day celebrations.
I cringe now to think of it. I can think of several occasions where an individual never should have gotten behind the wheel, but no one stopped them. But, it was the 70s and pressure had no mounted over driving responsibly. All I can say is we must have had some serious guardian angels watching over the family. Too many times to count a person never should have been on the road after the family party.
Genealogist and writer. Creator of the Portuguese Hawaiian Genealogy and Heritage website, yourislandroutes.com