Together with our friends Barry and Frances Edwards, my wife and I traveled into New England last week. We enjoyed the attractions we found there, including historic landmarks, scenic views and fine restaurants.

We also encountered memorable women – especially one that took good care of us during our journey.

Diane Sawyer greeted us with eyes as bright as the lights shining above her in the ABC studios. We quickly swapped Glasgow stories with the “Good Morning, America” host during a break in her duties.

Academy Award winning actress Julia Roberts gave us a smile as wide as Fifth Avenue when we photographed her outside a theater entrance in New York City.

A charming lady in a Massachusetts bookshop was quite helpful in recommending local sites worth visiting. We also enjoyed learning about the work of her artist husband.

A fellow train passenger got our attention while we were making a trek by rail. The woman had a loud and animated argument with herself that we couldn’t help but overhear. While we never learned her name, we still learned more about her than was necessary from hearing her conversations.

While these ladies were interesting to us during brief visits, it was with the one we called Bertha that our foursome spent the most time with during the trip.

Bertha constantly ordered us to make either a right or left turn. If we neglected to follow her directions, she would quickly tell us to make a legal u-turn.

Bertha wouldn’t recommend sightseeing locations or accommodations for the night, but she would calculate the route between the choices we made and tell us how to get from one to the other. During our beginning miles we sometimes doubted her advice, but we soon learned she was always correct.

She didn’t tell us where to eat in New Hampshire, but once we had decided, she told us how many miles and how many minutes it would take to travel there.

“Bertha” was the name we gave to the monotone female voice that spoke to us from the rental car’s digital navigation system. Barry first called her Bertha somewhere halfway through Connecticut and the name stuck.

As long as she had the open skies to receive signals, she would tell us how to get where we wanted to go through the roadways.

For a while we got tired of hearing her and turned her voice off and listened to the car radio. Then we found ourselves lost somewhere in the hills of Vermont and had to invite Bertha back into our company.

We relied on Bertha so much during our trip that now I miss her since returning home. I went to the grocery store this morning and it wasn’t quite the same in the car without her.


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