A teenager’s New Year’s Eve to remember

By Bob Bennett

The teenager worked part time in a Rutland department store and was invited to a New Year’s Eve party with other male employees at the home of the boss. Because he lived seven miles away, up Route 4 on Mendon Mountain, his mother agreed to let him attend provided he could stay overnight. She didn’t want him driven in the wee hours of the New Year up the icy road – one probably populated with drunken drivers. If the boss would drive him home in the morning, she would be much relieved. 

The party certainly included a lot of liquor, and they were in high spirits (no pun intended) when just before midnight the phone rang. It was the boss’s younger brother, a sailor just out of boot camp in Maryland. He had a bus ride toward home only as far as Albany and asked his older brother to pick him up at the bus station there about 4 a.m.   

Neither the host nor any of the others wisely felt sober enough to make the drive, so they elected the teenager to take the wheel. He had sipped only some soft drinks and a couple of beers. Never mind that he had no driver’s license. 

Down snowy and slippery Route 7, in a car he had never driven, with his boss as a passenger, he navigated past inebriates on foot and in both lanes. He did a fine job until he missed a turn at Bennington (which only occurred to him in Williamstown, Massachusetts). He finally found the road to Albany and arrived at the bus station close to 4, to find the younger brother too tipsy to drive them home. 

So up Route 9 to Glens Falls and east on Route 4, while watching more pedestrian revelers and wary of erratic motorists, they arrived safely at the boss’s house about 8. Then, after 250 miles in three states, they decided to go to church for the New Year’s Holy Day. Afterward, the sobered boss drove the kid the seven miles home. 

“I’m so glad you didn’t come all the way up here last night,” his mother told him. “I felt so much better you stayed overnight in town. You never know who will be on this road on New Year’s.” 

Categories: History

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