Galley

“Heresy” is, like all the Stories from Potomac County, fiction. However, my brother, Galley Smith, III, is the inspiration for George Jonas.

From his very young childhood, Galley was fascinated with vehicles, and bigger was better. Trucks held him in thrall. Fortunately, our dad owned and operated sawmills, so trucks coming with logs or leaving with lumber were a fairly common occurrence. Galley’s education about trucks and trucking probably began before he entered first grade.

In addition to our dad’s mills, we grew up around farms and orchards where an eight- or nine-year-old could learn to drive without endangering too much of the general public. Much earlier than he could get a license to drive, Galley was a proficient driver. He also had an intuitive sense of direction and quickly learned to read a map. Maps to him are not simply two-dimensional documents; he can visualize the map as something with depth and height. Looking at a map, he sees or imagines the surroundings, and that is a rare ability.

With his skills, Galley would have kept the Jonases heading in the right direction. While Heresy is fiction and George Jonas a character, had my brother found himself with two completely lost adults in Washington, D.C., no doubt he could have gotten them where they were going and back home again afterward—that is, if they had been willing to take direction from a boy too young to drive.

In this story about something that didn’t happen more than sixty years ago, try to imagine the adults finally realizing that their young son knew where he was and where he was going. It is fun to think that it could have happened.

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