I was raised in the 1960′s. In fact born July 4th 1960. So yes I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy and a big fan of an old fashioned American road trip. Long before cable TV, reality TV and Nav Systems people climbed in their no A/C bench seated road hogs and took a family trip. You had no I-Pod or videos just an AM radio and my Dad’s 1964 Buick Electra 225.
Gas was cheap so if you got 12 MPG in your highway barge you were king of the road. We took alot of trips when I was young. We would all pile into the Buick and hit the road. The first stop was the local Gas Station or “Service Station” My Dad would say “Fill er up with With “Ethel” Being only 36 cents a gallon you could afford the best in your Electra or Eldorado.
A man in a uniform would fill your tank, check the oil, check the tire pressure and wash your windows. All with a smile and the tip of a hat. You always knew the Gas Jockey's name and he knew yours. Alot of these gas stations were palaces of light and colors. Squeaky clean and had a great old Coke machine outside.
They had no convenience stores just gas and oil. That was OK because you went to the Bohack or A & P to buy your groceries in those days. Bakery to buy cake. Hardware Store to buy well ummm Hardware.
These grand ole places had great names.Texaco, Esso, Shell, Sinclair, Phillips 66 and Power Test. Even the TV ads were cool. Texaco had “You can trust your Car to the Man who wears a Star” and sold you “Sky Chief” gasoline. Air was free from the old "DING DING" air pump. Even when you pulled up to the pump you got that wonderful ""DING DING", awesome sound. You could ask for directions. Get a flat fixed and use the clean rest rooms.
Most of those great old gas stations are long gone. Replaced by self serve and places that are open 24/7 with cold looking convenience stores.
In some places these days you can get full serve but the pump jockey looks like he is one step ahead of immigration. No more clean uniform. No tip of a hat. No “Can I check your oil?” No old Coke machine outside. Only swipe your card and move on.
The modern gas station is like our society it moves 24 hours 7 days a week. We text, blog and email till we sometimes have no conversations or human contact. In those days most places were closed on a Sunday including your local Power Test or Sinclair.
What did you do? You actually spent time with your Family and Friends on a Sunday. Went to Church and had "Sunday Dinner" Relaxed, had the day off filled with conversation, quality times and memories.. Wow!! What a concept.
Monday would come around again and you would go fill er up at your local gas station. Go to a job that paid a good wage with a decent pension plan and hope.
Your friend Gus would Fill Er Up with Ethel, wash your windsheild and you would chat about what you did on a Sunday with your family. Perhaps the demise of The Old Fashioned Gas Station is a reflection of the demise of truth and values in the USA.
Back in "The Day" the only Reality TV was Candid Camera. Values mattered. Family and Faith were the Foundation of our lives. We would work jobs that fed us and gave us a solid future. People cared. Even Ole Gus who filled your tank and checked your oil.
Was it all perfect..No but nothing is. If we want to go back to better days when All Lives Mattered than we need to bring back The Old Fashioned Gas Station and the days when people talked, loved, had pride in there work and were able to stay at a job till they retired. The days when home, family and faith were like a glorious tank full of Ethyl..