Like a lot of other families with little kids, we’ve made a game of looking for the license plates from different states. For a while, Jeremy and Owen would bring a check-list with them on all car trips — even short ones to the supermarket — and I found myself having to restrain the urge to speed up on highways in order to catch up with license plates that looked tantalizingly unfamiliar in the distance.

A high point for me was our first sighting of an Alaska plate. The boys and I spied it, of all places, at the intersection of Webster Avenue and Union Avenue, right here in New Rochelle. We were east-bound, Alaska was west-bound, and we all began screaming “Alaska, Alaska, Alaska.” We couldn’t wait to tell mom back at home.

Anyhow, for a long time we had three hold-outs: North Dakota, Montana, and Hawaii. In recent weeks, North Dakota and Montana fell into place, leaving only Hawaii. The tension built as Catie and the kids prepared for a trip to California to visit Catie’s sister, Julie. Prospects for a Hawaii sighting are, obviously, better on the West Coast than they are here … but, even so, not many people drive across the Pacific Ocean, so it was still a long-shot.

Imagine my delight when I received this photo from Julie. Hawaii!

Well, it turns out that the license plate was purchased in a gift shop, not actually seen on the road (which I should have been sharp enough to figure out, given that license plates are usually attached to cars). But I’m willing to overlook that inconvenient detail and call it a full fifty.

Now, we’ve got to complete our collection of state quarters.

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