DWI Straddling the Center Line

Extra DWI Patrols this Weekend. Drive Sober. The message began to appear yesterday, Halloween, above the Interstate Highways in Minnesota.

It reminds me of a funny story.

Years ago, as my friend Ron remembers it, he and his parents were driving home from a relaxed dinner at the Nagy’s, the newly arrived Hungarian refugee family. Mr. Nagy was a gourmet chef accustomed to offering guests the best libations along with a delicious professionally prepared home-cooked meal.

Ron’s father, John, was not much of a drinker, maybe a beer once in a while, but nothing more. John got a little happy at the Nagy’s.  Driving home with young Ron in the back seat and his wife Helen in the passenger’s seat, John was straddling the center line on a two-lane, two-way street just a few blocks from home when Helen criticized his driving. Helen was a force to be reckoned with. “John! You’re drunk. You’re over the line. You’re wandering over into the wrong lane. You’re going to get us killed!”

“Helen,” said John, “it’s obvious you don’t know the law. There’s a law here in Pennsylvania. After 10:00 p.m. you can straddle the white line.”

Telling the story to my friend Steve and me last year, Ron could hardly get through the story. We’ve been friends since Kindergarten in Broomall, Pennsylvania. Today Ron is in ICU in a Pennsylvania hospital following emergency surgery straddling the center line.

Prayers surround you, Ron. I remember your story like it was yesterday.

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