Loved ones on the road cause worries

Stuck in the middle with you.

-- Stealers Wheel

As if I didn't have enough to worry about.

I have a 16-year-old who's been driving for almost six months.

I'd like to say I don't worry every time he starts that engine and backs out the driveway. But I do.

(I hear you always do. It never stops.)

If I'm there when he's getting ready to leave, I will look him sternly in the eye and say, "No risks! Be careful!"

That's not all.

I also have two parents -- average age 80.

They like to take trips. Always have.

They like to drive to Louisiana to see their great-granddaughter.

They like to drive to Tennessee to see old friends in personal care homes.

They like to drive to Kentucky to visit a scattered collection of family members.

I'd like to say I don't worry about them, either, but I do.

I ask them to call me on my cell along the way. I ask them to check in when they leave ... and when they arrive.

I can't look them in the eye, and I certainly can't order them around, but I do ask them (nicely, politely): "Please drive carefully. Please take your time. No need to rush. Wear your glasses. Stay away from trucks. Call me along the way."

They were doing just that over the weekend, when I had to put them on hold. It was my son on the other line telling me he had made it safely to a golf course for a tournament.

Everyone's on the road but me.

SPEAKING OF TRAVELS: A former teacher of major leaguer Tyler Colvin sent a card from Chicago, where she went to see him play for the Cubs. She also planned to go to the College World Series after that. She says she went to Carolina and her husband, Mike , went to Clemson.

I couldn't make out her name, but I bet we know who best enjoyed that drive home from Omaha.

Jeanette Barton , Muriel Chavous and Shirley McCorkle send a card from Mississippi, where they are on the way to fun and adventure.

Mark , Arleen , Barbara and Aaron send a card from Cody ("We love this town!"), Wyo., and another from San Francisco.

Ed Holmes attended the wedding of his niece Martha Kasper Asbridge at the Grand Canyon. Greg and Teresa Brooks are on a cruise of the Atlantic.

Jack Carswell is in Agra, India, where he saw the Taj Mahal. He writes: "I have just completed the first of six weeks in India, a fascinating and (frankly) unexpectedly beautiful country. The only negative ... the oppressive heat. It is very hot!!!"

The Thomson folks, including Jason and Miriam Smith , are enjoying Jekyll Island.

Finally, regular travelers Pat and Wayne Fuller , of North Augusta, send cards from Mississippi and New Orleans.

TODAY'S JOKE: An 80-year-old woman was arrested for shoplifting.

When she went before the judge with her elderly but visibly timid husband, the judge looked down and asked her, "What did you steal?"

She replied, "A can of peaches."

The judge then asked her why she had stolen the can of peaches, and she replied that she was hungry.

The judge then asked her how many peaches were in the can.

She said six.

The judge paused a moment, then said, "I will give you six days in jail."

Before the bailiff could lead her away, the husband raised his hand and asked, "Your honor?"

"Yes?" the judge said looking down at the little man. "What is it?"

"Well," the husband said, "she also stole a can of peas."

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