Dr. Goodword’s Language Blog

Archive for the 'Slow Lane' Category

Drunk Driving Central PA Style

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

More Life in the Slow Lane
Not much crime has happened in Central Pennsylvania since my last report on the one-man riot. Last Thursday, however, the local police arrested a man for driving under the influence of alcohol—a man driving a horse and buggy.

Yes, we still have horses and buggies in Central Pennsylvania. We still have hitching posts on Market Street in downtown Lewisburg. The Amish do all their vehicular travel in buggies; in fact, the next town over, Mifflinburg, PA, was once the buggy capital of the US and today has the museum to prove it. When Henry Ford began manufacturing cars in Detroit, he purchased his first bodies from a Milton buggy shop but soon changed to buggy shops nearer to his factory.

Up to the time our Amish and Mennonite neighbors swept into Lewisburg in 1971 to help dig us out of the remains of the 50-year flood brought upon us by hurricane Agnes, there was no record of any Amish or Mennonite arrested in Union County. However, the incident in question did not occur in Lewisburg (our Amish are quite sober people), but in neighboring Milton, PA.

The arresting officer, of course, was astonished to see a horse and buggy being driven recklessly along a Milton road without even the required lighting. When he asked the arrestee if he were Amish, here is what the driver replied according to the Sunbury Daily Item: “Well, sort of. I left and sort of came back. I’m a bad Amish.” I’ll say. His blood alcohol was 0.165, a bit above the legal limit of .08.

The Amish lad had attended a nearby fair and, on the way home, stopped at a local tavern where he inhaled about 12 drafts. When asked why he decided to drive home in such a state, he frankly responded that he thought the police would leave him alone because he was Amish. “They always get away with things,” the arrestee opined. Hmmm. That may tarnish the record I mentioned above.

Anyway, I thought you might be interested to know that crime does occur in the slow lane.

One Student Charged with Rioting

Saturday, May 3rd, 2008

One of my first blogs was “Life in the Slow Lane“, a short essay on my life in Lewisburg. Perhaps I shouldn’t have spoken so soon since this past weekend we had a riot downtown. It was reported in the Sunbury Daily Item this morning (no hurry: news doesn’t go away) under the headline above.

My wife and I were downtown watching the parking meter flags pop up at the time of the riot but somehow missed it. Apparently he didn’t spill over onto Market Street.

My first reading of this headline led me to suspect that maybe a riot had charged up an otherwise lethargic student into really digging into his studies. But, no, he actually was the riot under the Lewisburg criminal code if not under the laws of English grammar.

Ho-hum. Another week slips by; another word gains new meaning.

Life in the Slow Lane

Monday, August 7th, 2006

We hear so much about life in the fast lane, do you every wonder what it is like in the slow lane?

At the peak of the heat wave last week, the headline–HEADLINE–of our local newspaper was:


It was a distressing fact for the Lewisburg community but we really aren’t disappointed that we never see headlines like this: “Three Killed in Holdup Attempt”. You read headlines like this in the fast lane.

The first edition of our local weekly newspaper, the Union Country Journal, that I received (back in ’65) contained a story I almost memorized. It went something like this:


Mrs. Dolly Wallop [I made up the name] was treated at Evangelical Memorial Hospital yesterday and released. Ms. Wallop cut her finger on the screen on the back door of her house causing minor injury. Doctors said there was little danger of infection. Mr. Wallop’s husband will repair the screen door this weekend.

I showed this article to my wife and we decided then and there that Lewisburg was the place to settle down. The previous week we had been in my hometown where the story of one soldier biting the nose off another in a motel parking lot was relegated to p. 7. The front page was devoted to national and international mayhem and significant local crimes like major drug raids, holdups, and murders.

As you can see, the threshold for an injury making the paper has risen since the screen-door incident. In fact, the day following the unfortunate passing of the dog, ostensibly from heat stroke, the headline of our newspaper (The Sunbury Daily Item) was:


Stu DeBaker [I made this one up, too], of Milton, was driving a teal Chevrolet Cavalier south when [it] swerved off the road at approximately (continued on p. A4) 7:45 pm. There was no apparent cause of the accident” according to local police. (Driver probably fell asleep from boredom and accidentally slipped into the fast lane.) “[He] had a really nasty bruise on [his] arm,” according to one of the people in the house hit. Mr DeBaker was treated at the hospital and released shortly thereafter.

The important point I want to make here, though, is how relaxing it is to live in a community where life is so laid-back and easy-going that reporters use the color and model of cars to beef up their crash stories and people are so healthy that only household animals are subject to heat stroke.  Beat that, Garrison!