Withering Glance: Tales of yore from the front and back seat

  • Article by: RICK NELSON and CLAUDE PECK , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 3, 2014 - 12:25 PM

Photo: Damian Dovarganes, Associated Press

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Rick Nelson and Claude Peck dispense unasked-for advice about clothing, etiquette, culture, relationships, grooming and more.


CP: It’s that time of year. Load the Catalina wagon with camping gear, herd the young ones into the back seat and head out to Estes Park, Colo. In a mere 21 hours, you’re there. Family magic on the open road.


RN: Probably the leading cause of divorce. How did we survive the boredom of the pre-iPad epoch, when an acrostics paperback and a No. 2 pencil were the best distractions a kid could hope for while camped out in the back seat of Dad’s Pontiac Bonneville?


CP: Devices be damned. The Peck family children, all paragons of car-trip virtue, merrily sang cowboy chanteys and played license-plate lotto. No one ever complained, rough-housed, passed gas or cried “Are we there yet?”


RN: Please, I’ve met the siblings Peck. I’m ashamed to admit that the Nelsons, attempting some major Von Trapp realness, were known to warble in the car. How my parents survived with their sanity intact remains a mystery.


CP: One time, my dad (unwisely) left the kids at a drive-in movie across the street from a motel.


RN: Uh-oh. I’m guessing that hilarity did not ensue.


CP: We managed to get the car in neutral. It rolled away from the window-hung speakerbox, severing the cord. There were repercussions.


RN: Claude Peck Sr. was a saint. And since you’ve been left wondering all these years, Brian Keith and Maureen O’Hara get back together at the end of “The Parent Trap.”


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