Jim Thompson
Jim Thompson
By Jim Thompson
HCP columnist

Thanksgiving weekend 1964 revolves around a hamburger, served to me about 7 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 28, in a small diner in Oolitic, Ind. I drank a glass of milk with it.

We had lived on the Beaver farm since January 1963. While we would occasionally go to Portsmouth on a day trip to see my Poppy, my Grandfather Beekman, we had not been to Graysville, Ind., almost to Illinois, to see Granny, my Grandmother Thompson, since August 1962, before we moved to Highland County.

Feeding farm animals – and a lack of money – kept us tied to the farms.

Somehow on Thanksgiving Day in 1964, the family hatched a plan to go see Granny. Dad, always clever in extracting more work from us boys, had us put together a list of items we would need to do on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, in order to make this all work.

Of course, that list was impossibly long and included items we had been meaning to do for months. (By the way, I have employed this trick many a time since then, on myself and in a work environment).

Friday was a clear, cool day as I remember. I carried the list around the farmstead and checked items off all day long. We got it done! The plan to see Granny could be executed.

We fed all the animals very well on Friday night. Made sure they had water and so forth to get through the day Saturday. Alarms were set.

We got up at 3 a.m. on Saturday morning. We hopped into our recently acquired 1962 Corvair and headed for Indiana. The path was fairly straightforward. Remember, these were the days before the interstate system was complete, so you generally traveled in straight lines – diversions to get on high-speed interstates did not exist.

State Route 506 to Marshall, S.R. 124 to Hillsboro, then on to U.S. Route 50, all the way to Bedford, Ind. (going through Cincinnati at 4:30 a.m. on Route 50 was frightening to me).

At Bedford, you turn north briefly on S.R. 58 to Avoca, Ind. Oolitic is on this stretch and it was in Oolitic that we stopped for breakfast.

Everyone else wanted breakfast but I wanted a hamburger, and the owner gladly fixed me one – with one pickle on it. And I had a glass of milk.

From Avoca, one takes Indiana 54 to Indiana 154 and you are almost to Granny’s. The trip, according to modern computer aids, takes 5 hours and 13 minutes on this route.

We spent the day with my grandmother. I remember we installed a Taylor Indoor/Outdoor thermometer for her (it was an early Christmas present from my parents). The last time I was in that house, which is still in the family, that thermometer was still working.

Toward evening, we retraced our path back to the Beaver Farm. If I remember right, we got home about 10 o’clock that night – and had to feed the pigs and cattle.

That was the biggest trip we took during our years on the farms. We did not repeat it, but I have always remembered it.

And that hamburger in Oolitic.

Jim Thompson, formerly of Marshall, is a graduate of Hillsboro High School and the University of Cincinnati. He resides in Duluth, Ga. and is a columnist for The Highland County Press. He may be reached at jthompson@taii.com.