Jo Ann Jaacks: Round and Round we Go

Elizabeth Wolff's pierced tin lanterns amongst homemade soaps.

Elizabeth Wolff's pierced tin lanterns amongst homemade soaps.

Jo Ann Jaacks /

I remember two of my mother’s sayings when we all climbed into the 1950 era Ford Woody Wagon. If we were going to the beach, which meant we had to pack bathing suits, sunscreen, a monstrously heavy cooler with enough food and drink for the day, one or two blown-up tire tubes, and comics for reading material to last the hour and a half drive, she inevitably said, “We’re off like a herd of turtles!”

If we were going for a Sunday drive after church, meandering to new towns, cruising down bumpy dirt roads just to see what was at the end, and searching for an ice-cream stand or hot dog stand, my mother said, “We’re doing a Roundabout.”

The Woody was the perfect vehicle for our family: with three rows of seating, the older four siblings each had their own window - no squabbling - and the baby was on my mother’s lap - no seatbelts to buckle.

My father never bought any vehicle new. He was an experienced mechanic and could fix anything on four wheels, plus tractors of any vintage. On out-of-state trips and vacations, he brought along extra belts and other parts to make engine repairs by the side of the road.

These memories recently came flooding back when I sat in the back seat of two friends’ car. The first stop required using a navigation app to re-route the car to avoid traffic, but we eventually turned up on a road that we all recognized, and met up with our friend at her booth in the art show. Then it was decided to check out a new coffee house, close to our favorite library which unfortunately was closed.

Spying another recently opened shop for local artisans and décor, we walked across the street and were delighted to see the name of an artist we know well. Elizabeth Wolff’s pierced tin lanterns, an art that dates back to the 14th century, are definitely one-of-a-kind.

Back in the car, using a navigation app again, we searched for a relative’s B&B. The road was discovered, but ended in a dirt path and it seems the guest house is well hidden in the woods. Heading back home, we came to a choice to turn left or right. Two of us voted for right and again, we ended up on a road we all knew, and after a quick stop at the market to get three kinds of cheese for vegetable lasagna, we came back to where we started. I would call this a perfect Roundabout Day.