Not counting my layovers at the airport in Atlanta, I have visited the state of Georgia twice in my life.
The first time was during my university’s Spring Break of 1990.
But this is not that story.
Instead, we set our calendars to May of 1992. My former college roommate (who goes by the name of Bill) and I were winding our way across the United States and Canada on a journey to see a baseball game in every Major League ballpark. This trip was first brought up back in my post about Boston, which is where our stadium trek began.
On May 10 (Mother’s Day that year), we had seen an afternoon game at Three Rivers Stadium as the Pittsburgh Pirates blanked the Houston Astros 3-0. Our next scheduled contest was Thursday, May 14 in Atlanta so while we could have taken our time to drive the 600-700 miles between PIT and ATL, we decided to do the 12-hour run in one stretch of driving.
One main reason for this strategy was that there was a great deal to do in Georgia’s capital city and we wanted to see as much of it as we could. In addition to catching a game at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, here are some of the other attractions we saw…
We took the tour at the headquarters of Cable News Network (CNN) (where sadly we did not catch a glimpse of media mogul Ted Turner) and we visited the King Center…
…where we were able to view the tomb of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
We also toured the Coca-Cola Center.
In addition to baseball games, another theme of our trip was touring the presidential libraries that dot the United States. Our first such visit was in Georgia when we toured the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum where we saw a bust of the 39th President and a sliver of the Berlin Wall.
Other Chief Executive stops we had along our trek were the libraries dedicated to Presidents Nixon (Yorba Linda, CA), Reagan (Simi Valley, CA), Johnson (Austin, TX), and Truman (Independence, MO).
However, the reason I am in a Georgia state of mind at the moment is because of this article that I read talking about the new whiz-bang feature the Ford Motor Company is placing in their 2018 Expedition. This news about live streaming television in a vehicle took me back to an event that took place on Monday, May 11, 1992 as Bill and I made our mad dash from the confluence of the Ohio, Allegheny, and Monongahela Rivers to the confluence of Interstates 75, 85, and 20.
This is that story.
The story centers around the television show Murphy Brown. Bill and I enjoyed this show about a hard-nosed journalist, played by Candice Bergen, and the other cast of characters that populated the 60-Minutes-esque news program she worked for called FYI.
As the fourth season (1991-1992) was nearing its end, Bergen’s character was pregnant and she was going to raise the child as a single mother. This fictional situation would create a minor political controversy when Vice President Dan Quayle would invoke Brown in a speech about values and fathers. However, before that kerfuffle occurred, Bill and I were looking forward to the upcoming episode, the 100th of the series, because it had been promoted that several real female journalists would be on the show to attend Brown’s baby shower. Katie Couric, Paula Zahn, and Joan Lunden would play themselves as they feted Bergen’s fictional peer.
However, as night fell under the Georgia sky, we were still some miles away from our planned hotel and the show was minutes away from starting.
It was technology to the rescue.
Now, when planning a cross-country trip, it’s best to it in style. Thankfully and luckily, we had been given the opportunity to accomplish the first half of our trip in a Lexus (and the year and model escape my memory) and this particular model sported a technology that was nearly Jetson-esque for the early 90s – a television.
Now, mind you, this wasn’t streaming video like the 2018 Expedition sports, but it was displaying over-the-air television images and that is exactly what we needed. Bill pulled over into a parking lot, switched on the set, and then executed a series of maneuvers to put the car in a good position so that the antenna could achieve its optimal reception.
We never fully achieved optimal reception as the image was wavy and blurry at times, but the volume was pitch perfect so my traveling companion and I were able to hear (if not perfectly view) the hilarity of Murphy Brown‘s 100th episode.
That’s my story.
This story reminds me that any gee-whiz technology that is jaw-dropping one year will seem like old hat some time in the future. Watching live, color television in a car was revolutionary to me then, but a quarter of a century later, I can view almost any movie I want from my smartphone screen.
Twenty-five years hence, I wonder what sparkling, shiny tech we drool over now will only bring a yawn to the next generation.
(I’m guessing holograms)
P.S. As for my first foray into Georgia…well, that’s a story for another day.