Do you really need that GPS?

By J.C.Coon

Recently in quest of directions to Winchester Hospice, I inquired of a friend who had lived in Berryville for directions.   She proceeded to share with us (hubby and I) “Well it’s over there by the Wal-Mart.   Then go straight, the K-Mart is on your right, go past the KFC…. by then hubby (who has his CDL and is a professional driver) is getting a bit cranky, but I am nodding, sure, I am following you, continue.

Did you ever notice that there are those who give directions by landmarks—“Pass the pink house,  then turn right by that cute little restaurant .  It is just across the street from the school. The house with the purple shutters. — Then  there are those who go strictly by route numbers,  measurements ,and compass directions. —  Take Route X east for 1.5 miles then make a right heading south on Route Y, proceed  for one block. House number is 123.

Being raised as a Highwayman’s daughter, Dad made a game of teaching us how to read a map and road signs.   Yes, early on I was also taught how to fold a map properly, but why?   I love maps!   While raising children, there was always a U.S. and World Map on the wall, in the dinning room, kid high.   While discussing the days events at meal time or watching TV it was amazing how often one would get up and go to the map to see the exact location of a city or country.   Or when the report of ‘weather’ came when you could look on a map, and get a birds eye view of what streams are feeding into the main river and better understand….Oh, so that’s why the Shenandoah River is filling up with water and over flowing her banks (why again is it a she?). Or why did the storm stop in Clarke County and not got over to Loudoun — Blue Ridge Mountains stopped it.

Yes, the GPS can be useful, if you can read the tiny square or if you happen to have the exact address and zip code it will TELL you where to go…I mean how to get there.   Like the time my friend tried to find my house on the mountain, poor GPS kept insisting that it was just a mile away, oh right, straight up the side of the mountain, with no road to traverse? Really?   There is just something satisfying about spreading the map out on the dining room table, or the hood of the car and pondering for yourself where you want to go next or where the heck are we?

The variety of on-line ‘quests’  are ‘very scientific’ but still need the human touch.  How often have we printed out and have the directions in hand, arrive at an intersection and say…”Say what?”    I for one need to remember, while on line to go back to the ‘quest’ source and say — ”update needed.”    I must admit, the new directions that actually have a photo of an intersection are quite intriguing.  Oldest daughter now has an iPhone , who needs any thing else?   Hubby?   He is our GPS.

We did not make it to Hospice (actually on 333 W. Cork Street) in time. A cell phone call informed me that the Lord had taken one of his own home quickly. R.I.P.  Robert W. Craun


  1. If one had just looked up the address in the phone book, it would be a lot easier to find all of the Hospice info. Retail shops, the main office,etc. I realize that phone books are becoming a lost item in most peoples lives, but they do serve a purpose.