A First Time for Everything

black and white photo of pier

Pass It On is a new, bi-weekly peek inside the heart and mind of Francis Pass…


Click the play button to listen to Francis Pass tell this story.

My dad’s mother lived in Norristown, Pennsylvania.

It had been many years since dad had seen her. So, he decided to take the whole family out east for a visit.

I was only six or seven years old. Apart from Cape Girardeau, Paducah, and Cairo, I had never traveled too far from home.

There’s a first time for everything. And there were a lot of firsts on that trip.

previous line quoted over black and white image of the pier

I saw my first of many Howard Johnsons. Remember those? You’d always find them peppered along on the turnpikes. It was also my first time staying in a motel.

Another first was buying candy at Stucky’s gas station. They were famous for their Pecan Log Rolls. There’s one over there now in Johnson City.

Since we were already on the east coast, dad decided to take us to the boardwalk in Atlantic City.

That was the first time I saw the ocean. I couldn’t believe how big it was. I remember filling my lungs with that fresh sea air. The ocean was magical. All I wanted to do was play in it.

I remember experiencing that strange sensation of the sand giving way under my feet as the tide took the sediment back out to sea.

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But one thing I did NOT remember was sunscreen. So the sun tanned my hide that day.

I remember one of the motels where we stayed had a restaurant that served fried shrimp. Golly that was good.

It’s funny how you remember the little things from vacations… like fried shrimp and pecan logs.

But it’s been a while since I’ve had a vacation. I rarely take them nowadays. I’ve always been tied to the business and never really felt like I could ever leave. So any so-called vacations have happened in conjunction with industry events.

But, gosh, I’d love to know what it feels like again to go somewhere you’ve never been and try something for the first time.

previous line quoted over black and white image of the pier

And that’s just what I’m gonna do.

I’m gonna start taking a few vacations. It’s gonna be a learning experience for me… and I may not feel comfortable the first time or two I get out of town, but I owe it to myself and my wife to do it.

I have a reunion with some old Army buddies coming up, so I’m gonna make that a vacation. And Patricia and I are gonna go see the leaves change in five states that I’ve yet to visit.

What about you? Have you been talkin’ yourself out of taking a vacation? Do yourself a favor. Pull out your calendar and block off some time. You’ll be glad you did.

Just don’t forget to wear sunscreen.

Be well. Stay well. Thanks for readin’…

Francis Pass

P.S. – The first motel in the world was appropriately named The Motel Inn. It opened in southern California in December 1925 and charged $1.25 a night. Hmmm. I wonder if that price included fried shrimp.

red motel sign