Cruise Control

by Fred Prout

Sometimes your life seems to go in one direction. Always forward. A super highway. Doing things. Going places. People. We collect people. And places. Like a bee collects pollen. Life on cruise control. New places. Different people. Eyes always focused ahead. What’s next? And new?   The older we get the faster we seem to go. Time condenses. We perceive it differently. Sometimes we look back at people and events of our life. We smile, and look ahead to the endless highway. No need to feed the gas. Hit the brakes. It’s all automatic. Cruise control. Endless highway. Until…


The other day I heard that a dear friend was ill. Very ill. It hit me hard. We had some adventures together that are indelibly written in my memories. Willie saw my reaction to the news. The shock. A good friend very ill. She reminded me that a burden shared is halved. A laugh shared is multiplied.

Suddenly, more news. Larry didn’t make it. This is the first time I have ever said Larry without also saying Phyllie. They were, are, a unit. An extension of each other. I know everyone who knows them will feel the same.

RV Days

Of the tens of thousands of people we meet, a very few are truly special. Can make us laugh. Or cry. I know my tears will mix with those of many others who spent time with Larry and Phyllie. When you share laughter with someone, it changes you both for the better.

Back in the RVing days, Rita and I stumbled upon a membership RV park. Through sheer luck we got an opportunity to volunteer to work on the activities. That’s how we managed to meet some really great people. Friends. Especially Larry and Phyllie.


Part of the job was helping with the entertainment. After setting up for the amazing Walt Quigley (the best Roy Orbison ever) we came up with Trailer Trash. We would have Walt play Tequila, and Rita and I would encourage (drag) people from the audience, bounce around like fools and sing the only word in the song. Well, duh,”Tequila “.  Larry and Phyllie were always first up and helped more and more people to join in. They were always willing accomplices to whatever insanity was devised. They always added to everyone’s enjoyment.


Dick and Charlotte were also friends of Larry and Phyllie. If you ever need to define class, look no further than Charlotte. Beautifully dressed, not a hair out of place. The perfect person to pull off a prank. You would never imagine her capable of doing it. Well, the three couples got together to make some laughs. We went to the local thrift store and bought a pair of ladies bloomers. Size XXXXXXXX. Larry got Walt to sing a Tom Jones song. As he started to sing, Charlotte summoned all her dignity, walked down the center aisle and tossed said bloomers up to Walt on the stage. To his credit he didn’t miss a beat.


A few shared moments in our lives. A friendship is born. With very special people. Although I am sharing these words with everyone, they were written for Larry and Phyllie. Phyllie, I know you will have many happy memories of your life shared with The Big Kahuna. Hopefully these words will make you smile. You two touched many lives. Probably more than you know.

Love you guys. You will stay in our hearts forever.

Fred Prout

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4 Responses to Cruise Control

  1. Eric says:

    Never forget that it’s (pretty much) always better to be the one reminiscing than to be the one being ‘reminisced’.

    We’ve all spoken to people about mutual friends/acquaintances, and said “I wonder how ****** is getting along?” only to be informed that “he/she trundled off ages ago”……which internally morphs into “At this moment is someone reflecting on my apparent absence….or are they celebrating said absence?”

    Rock On!

    “I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.”
    ― Mark Twain

  2. Lora Fletcher says:

    Yes Fred those were such good times and all the special people from the park are all truly missed when they have moved on one way or the other. Larry, Rita, Mike, Dick and a number of others who have left this earth especially.

  3. Edith Vondall says:

    Isn’t it strange how quickly news travels among good friends no matter how far apart we landed when the wheels got taken away from us. Some lost ones are remembered for along time especially when clear out clutter I come across a Note saved because it was so personal or a special pair of earrings made by a beading friend.

  4. Val Carano says:

    Ah … The memories! Love this Fred!

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