Stephenson Tales


In the late 1950's or early 60's the highway speed limit in Michigan was raised from fifty miles per hour to sixty five. I was pulling the famous 4x6 baggage trailer (see "The Harp" and "Piano Adventures 3") going to Ann Arbor - either to take things home or to get things from Ann Arbor to take back to Interlochen. I was going about sixty and a State Police car was ahead of me travelling about 55. I sped up to 65 and (talk about chutzpah!) passed him. He followed me as I levelled off my speed at the new limit of 65. In a few minutes his flashing red and blue lights caught my attention in the mirror. I immediately pulled off on the right side of the road and waited.

A tall, young, officer came up to the car on my side as I rolled down the window.

"Good afternoon, sir. May I see your operator's license and insurance card?"

"Of course."

He took them and said, "Wait here, Jim."

He was gone almost five minutes. When he came back he said, "All right, Jim Bob -just keep it down. The new law says that when pulling a trailer the speed limit is 55."

"Oh. I honestly did not know that the limit was diffferent if I was pulling a trailer. I was going exactly 65."

"I know you were - but with the new law the limit is 55 with a trailer. Just keep it at that. Drive carefully Jim Bob."

And suddenly I knew why he had taken so long when he went back to his patrol car - and I could almost hear the conversation he had had with the Ann Arbor police.
"Do you have any warrants out for a Jimb Stephenson?"

"Jim Stephenson? -oh-you mean Jim BOB Stephenson, the police commissioner's son."


"Yeah - no warrants. Jim Bob is one of the sons of Orlando Stephenson. He is a professor at the University. A real good friend of our department. Sometimes we even invite him to ride with us in the evenings. He wrote the final exam for our deparmtent. Real nice fellow. Yeah - Jim Bob is one of his sons. He's OK."

So that's why he addressed me by my full name when he came back and let me off with such a cordial warning.

Composed 3 December 2008, transcribed by Robin.

© Jim Bob Stephenson 2008

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