This time of year we have a ton of birthdays in our family. Younger brother turned 55 a few weeks ago. My older sisters are both going up another notch this week, but I won’t mention their ages here. Mom is now a year away from 90 as of this past Sunday.

For fun, we took a trip down memory lane over the weekend and dug out the old slides that my dad took back in the ’50s and ’60s.

I was amazed that I could remember having seen most of those pictures of family vacation trips. The big ones were the trip to the West Coast in 1953 and the trip to Washington, D.C., and New York in 1961.

The major thing that stuck out in those old photos was how slim we all were back then. It would be neat to make a digital slide show from all of those old transparencies and arrange them better-if only we could find the time.

I had forgotten about our green ’51 Plymouth sedan we drove to the West Coast. It contained more memories than just that one trip.

The keys were left in the ignition as it was parked in the driveway beside our house in Mountain Lake, Minn. My brother, who was about 3 or 4 at the time, got in and turned the key. The car started right up and took off toward the alley that was perpendicular to the driveway.

I remember it scared the wits out of him and he scooted over to the passenger side and clutched the glove box door. I was running along side but decided it was going too fast for me to jump in and be a hero. Before long, and without guidance, the car lurched to the left and smacked into our big apple tree. That was the end of the ride.

Brother didn’t get into trouble because it wasn’t his fault the keys were in the car. After the wreck, the car would only turn to the right since the fender was crumpled so the tire couldn’t move to the left.

Before it could be repaired my dad could still drive it to work, but had to go down the driveway, then turn right at the alley, then turn right at the highway and then right past our house, then right at the corner at the end of our block to the street that went past the school. You get the picture.

I was thinking about when it makes sense to purchase cheaper-priced items and when it doesn’t. For the most part, it hardly ever makes sense.

One of the few examples I could come up with was a comb-the cheapest comb you could find would probably work just as well as an expensive one.

Places not to go “cheap” are clothes, shoes, parachutes, brake jobs and green beans to name a few.

This is my 321st Partly Nonsense column. I haven’t skipped even one week since we started publishing the Free Press in August 1998.

After looking over what I’ve written this time, maybe this should have been the first time.

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