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License Plantes

A number of years ago I spent a summer teaching in Mexico. Both my children went with me. To pass the time as we drove, my 13-year-old son Larry watched for license plates. The trip to Mexico netted him plates from 24 states, and while we were there he saw four more.

So when we started back, he was over halfway to having “collected” all 50. Our return trip was during the peak vacation season, and to top it off, we went through Yellowstone National Park—a license-plate collector’s paradise. By the morning of the second day there, he had just one more state to go: Delaware. Larry became obsessed with finding a license plate from Delaware.

When we stopped to see Yellowstone’s magnificent sights, he didn’t glance at them. He preferred to run up and down the parking lots, looking at license plates. Talk about stress! Talk about anxiety! You would have thought that his whole life depended on finding a Delaware license plate! When we stopped to eat in a cafeteria near Yellowstone Falls, my son begged me to let him look for license plates. Please, I don’t want to eat,” Larry said. “Can’t I just stay here in the parking Lot?” “No,” we told him, “you have to eat.” So he went inside and ate as quickly as he could get the food down and then headed out to the parking lot. No sooner had we finished our meal, however, than Larry came bounding across the parking lot. “Come here! You’ve got to see it You won’t believe it if you don’t see it!” All of us went running out—and there, just pulling out of a parking space, was a blue Volkswagen bus with Delaware license plates. In fact, we got a picture, and even today, a decade later, when we look at our Yellowstone pictures, that’s the picture that tells more about what we did in Yellowstone than anything else.

Signs of the Times, August, 1992 p. 12