I have a Hector Heathcote lunchbox. Does anyone remember Hector? If not, don’t feel bad... I didn’t, either.

So Wikipedia told me “Hector Heathcote was a Terrytoons cartoon character. Created by Eli Bauer, he first appeared in 1959 in The Minute and a Half Man.

Hector was a Colonial era patriot who turned up, often as an unsung hero, during various stages (time traveler) of American History. In some cartoons he was accompanied by his faithful dog Winston who talked with a slight English accent.

The Hector Heathcote Show debuted October 5, 1963, on NBC. The series ran for two seasons.” So now you know.

I was 2-years-old for the premiere. I suppose there were reruns. But as a first grader in Grove School, I could describe Hector to you, in detail, from the many 30 minutes of lunch hours I sat and stared at the colorful sides of that lunchbox I received in 1967.

As I licked my orange fingers from the Cheetos my mom had twist-tied into a tiny plastic bag, I really had no idea why this little guy wore a funny hat with three points or why the big guys in red coats were being tricked by him. Hector hauled my ham sandwiches.

By now you are wondering why a little girl would pick this tin tote? It’s very simple. When momma realized she was going to be packing my lunch every day, we went to the only place in Grove that sold lunch boxes... the furniture store.

Grove Home Furniture didn’t have a lot to choose from is why I wound up with Hector. I really don’t recall, but I was more of a Roy Rogers kinda gal, not some short scientist time traveler in an American Patriot uniform. I can assume that there was Barbie and Hector to pick from and I hauled Hector home.

What in the world has this got to do with travel? Everything.

I recently strolled down the “back to school” aisle at several of our local merchants. The excited kiddos raced back and forth between the dozens of choices of backpacks, notebooks and yes, lunch boxes.

Overwhelmed parents pointed out options and examined price tags. Items were grabbed and tossed and selected and discarded at an amazing rate of speed. I got dizzy watching.

Ok, I’ll admit, I’m not the greatest shopper in the world; in fact it’s not my favorite thing to do.

Ok, I’ll admit, I don’t want to sound like an old crankpot that is starting with those ‘back in my day’ stories. BUT, I think all of us, of all ages, have too many choices in life. If I had to pick from all those lunchboxes I recently saw, it might have been my second grade year by the time I selected.

There is a big world out there for us to explore and enjoy. You could go anywhere! It’s hard to know which direction! There are so many options, even in the USA, that a year could slide by while you debate and examine and consider all your options.

One of the many benefits of organized group travel is having the selections narrowed for you so you can be Good to Go with a decision. Many of the big decisions are worked out, time of year, best values, safety, etc.

Life is simpler when you pick between Hector and Barbie.

Patti Beth Anderson has more than 20 years of experience in the group travel industry taking people all over the world. Her motto is "I return with the same number of people I left with… not necessarily the same people, but the same number nevertheless. So no 'crankpots' allowed" She may be reached at 918-786-3318 or pb@goodtogowithpb.com.