Pop’s was on our list as a quick stop in Oklahoma. It is tourist attraction along historic Route 66 serving thousands of different types of soda pop and has a 66 foot tall bottle of soda out front. We were on schedule to arrive just after noon for a lunchtime burger and a pop.
Christina was driving along Route 40 just west of Oklahoma City and had the cruise control set at 76 in a 75 MPH speed zone. I was attempting to knit, and Papa was wondering if Pop’s would have a chocolate milk shake to go with his hamburger. Leave it to Papa to go to Pops, a soda store, and order a milk shake. We noticed an undercover police car make a wide U-Turn through the median and start to follow us. Christina checked the cruise control and we continued driving, knitting and talking. After five minutes Christina mentioned he was still behind us and after 10 minutes he finally turned on his lights. Christina pulled to the side of the road, turned off the car and we waited.
Officer Friendly came up to the passenger side of car so I rolled down my window; he popped his head in to look around and asked to see license and insurance. Remember we have three generations, our vehicle car is loaded, tail end dragging, and has windows tinted so dark that we are not even sure it is legal in state of Arizona let along the rest of the country, and we have handicap plates. Christina pulled out her license and I gathered the insurance card while he was asking where we were headed. After several minutes of discussion on our trip and final destination he finally broke the news as to why were had been pulled over. He had called in and our license plate and they did not have a registration associated to it. He asked for Christina to accompany him to his vehicle while they called it in again. Papa and I were to wait in the car.
One minute passed, Papa asked, Should go talk to him? No, Papa he said we should stay buckled and wait in the car.
Two minutes passed, I inquired as to what his plates are, and without a pause in his memory Papa said ABC123. I pulled out the vehicle registration and noticed that the registration was WCABC123. Officer Friendly is right, they don’t match.
Four minutes: Papa said, I better go back there. She is fine Papa; she can work it all out. They will contact Arizona to check on the registration.
Six minutes: I don’t understand why they are talking to Christina, it’s MY car! I understand Papa but he needs to talk to the person driving the car, she is OK.
Seven minutes: What is the problem? That is the registration that came in the mail with the plates. I know, I am not sure what the problem is but she will work it out, it is OK.
Ten minutes: How long is he going to keep her? Do you think I should go back there? No, just wait here with me Papa; Christina will be back soon. I am sure everything will be fine.
Twelve minutes: I am still holding the registration and wondered why he hadn’t asked to see it. I checked it one more time and it finally occurred to me that WC stands for Wheel Chair. I smiled.
After just over 15 minutes they returned to our vehicle. Christina quietly got in the car and Officer Friendly leaned into my window again and told us to continue driving safely to our destination. I mentioned that I perhaps the WC on the registration matches the picture of a wheel chair on the actual plates. You could see the same light bulb go on above his head just as it had for me after looking at the registration for an extended period of time. He also smiled, suggested that once we reach our final destination we contact the DMV to make sure that is actually the case, and sent us on our merry way.
We continued driving and Christina filled us in that Officer Friendly was with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics. Apparently Oklahoma has a large drug and human trafficking problem and our vehicle fit their profile. I am not sure if the field interview felt longer for Christina or for Papa but we were happy to be driving again. This is the only time during the entire road trip that Papa seemed a bit anxious, and it was our only brush with the law.
After our unexpected delay we arrived at Pops for a late lunch. The glass building is covered floor to ceiling with glass soda bottle has an entire wall of refrigerated coolers filled with thousands of types of soda. Both Christina and I played it cautious and had a cream soda, of which they had 77 varieties to choose from. Papa was no longer upset and had his chocolate shake. If I were to go back again I might live it up and try: Dougie Dog Butterscotch Root Beer, Manhattan Special Expresso Soda, Cookie Dough Bites Fudge Brownie Soda, or perhaps a Jackson Hole Snake River Sarsaparilla to wet my whistle, and Papa mentioned that next time he would have a cream soda.