The year was 1958. My father had loaded us all into the family car, a lavender and black 1957 Mercury Turnpike Cruiser for one of his infamous road trips. If someone asked what we did on vacation the most honest answer was "We got up early and left." His idea of a great trip was to see just how many miles he could put on the car in two weeks.
We lived in a small town in south central Missouri. The day vacation began, we "got up early and left." After a short jaunt to Springfield, we turned onto Route 66 and headed west through Joplin, into Oklahoma and the two turnpikes that made the trip boring but quick.
As the day ended, Dad began to look for a place to spend the night. We pulled into a gravel lot and parked in front of the office of a motel. A bright red neon sign announced "Free TV." Since television was relatively new in those days, and since televisions were actually quite expensive, free television for the night meant a bonus. Standing at the desk, Dad inquired about a room. The man behind the counter asked about number of people and number of beds. Answering those, he asked of us one more question.
"Do you want an $5 room or a $7 room?"
"What's the difference?" we wanted to know.
"Well, the $7 room has the free TV."