The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 5, Issue 1 (May 1, 1930)
The Man behind the Wheel did not look happy. He sat there, a grim look of dissatisfied resignation on his face, a tense look in his eyes— decidedly miserable.
As the shining gray car shot forward, there were wild squeals of delight from the other occupants of the car who nestled in deeply upholstered back seat, but the Man at the Wheel sat straight and rigid, every now and again glancing with anxiety at a large leather trunk which reposed in rather a precarious position at his side.
Slowly it was dawning upon him that this was no holiday—no careless throwing off of daily cares. Here he was, cramped up with the weight of a huge travelling case, his hands moving mechanically, piloting the great car through dangerous passes, his eyes staring and sore, searching the wayside signs so very important to the motorist who does not know the road.
He had protested, “But I don't the way there …..” But his protests had been ignored by his eager family. “All the more reason why we should go—new scenes will do you good!”
New scenes! His thoughts were bitter—new scenes—fleeting glimpses of the surrounding country, then eyes straight ahead. The sign said “Sharp Bend,” and one drove cautiously, “Drive Slowly,” and one slackened one's speed, “Railway Crossing,” and one gazed anxiously down the gleaming steel tracks—new scenes!
His back was aching—he longed to relax, to lie back in his seat and enjoy the drive, but it was not to be—anxiously he wondered if he had enough petrol to see him through to the next station, automatically he moved closer into the left side as a raucous din proclaimed the approach of another car.
On and on—winding black roads, shining like waterways in the shimmering heat—to the right—to the left—across a bridge—round a bend—on and on—with staring eyes and aching back, with fingers rigidly gripping the wheel—on and on …
And to himself, the Man at the Wheel was whispering, “Next time—next time.”
A happy man walked briskly into the busy rail way station, his eyes were gleaming with excitement, for he was no longer the “Man at the Wheel,” he was the “Man on Holiday”—how different!
In his pocket reposed a little oblong of cardboard, insignificant, but very wonderful—for it was his pass to blessed contentment—his railway ticket! With a happy smile on his lips, the man on Holiday stepped onto the train, and passing between the rows of seats, found his own, and with a sigh of utter contentment, he settled down into its comfort.
The engine gave a shrill scream, the people waved last farewells, and slowly, steadily, the long train moved off—faster, faster—into the country, between high hills resplendent in the morning sun.
And the man on Holiday gazed happily at the passing scenes. No need to “watch the road” now, one just relaxed and forgot the cares of the day, one revelled in “new scenes,” blue skies, and sun-bathed landscapes—one was happy.page 31