There Really Were Good Old Days
A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet
An old friend and I were conversing recently and reminiscing about the world we grew up in as opposed to the world we actually live in today. It is something “old-timers” like us have been doing since the dawn of time.
We were comparing the price of gasoline where he lives as opposed to the price for the same gasoline here, where I live, on the edge of a coastal resort area.
We live in neighboring states, but here in NC we have one of the highest state gasoline taxes in the United States. Add to that the proximity of that resort area and I, unfortunately, fall into one of those pricing zones set up for the tourist trade. As a result, the price for gasoline is consistently higher where I live than where he lives… substantially higher.
Of course, we began comparing the price of gasoline today to what we paid for it as teen-agers. There is no comparison. Regular gasoline was 13 cents a gallon and high test was 15 cents per gallon. Really expensive gas was 17 cents a gallon for regular and 19 cents a gallon for high test – and that was before gas wars. Then it was not unheard of to pay 11 and 12 cents for a gallon of regular gasoline.
When you went out to purchase a car, you didn’t buy a car that got the best gas mileage – you bought a car you actually wanted! They had lots of steel and lots of chrome. Cars of that age had character unlike these generic models that are so similar you can’t tell who made the cussed thing without getting a good look at the trademark on the hood or trunk lid.
We both remembered the early gas pumps. They had five-gallon glass containers on top. There were manually operated. They had no electric pumps inside them. YOU pumped five gallons of gas from the underground tanks up into that glass container atop the pump with a pump handle. Then you placed the nozzle of the hose into your gas tank and gravity transported the gas from the glass container to the tank of your car. You could only pump five gallons at a time. If you wanted more, that meant you had to repeat the process.
It was quite an experience when it was raining or sleeting – or worse. A dollar’s worth of gasoline would last you all week!
A teenager on a date could have a ball on five dollars -- and still have money in his pocket when he got home.
A hamburger was 15 cents and a coke was a five to seven cents, depending upon whether we were in North Carolina or South Carolina. Since we lived right on the border we were then, and remain today, as much at home in one state as the other.
NOBODY, in their wildest dreams, ever thought gasoline would sell for three to four dollars, and more, per gallon. NOBODY. It was inconceivable … period. This was America and such things just did not happen.
But it did happen -- all because we were not paying attention. We trusted our government to do what was right for America… not what was politically correct. Suddenly there was something called the Environmental Protection Agency, and something else called the Department of Energy -- and by that time -- we were well and truly had! We were then, and we are now, sitting on a sea of oil. Yet, our government will not allow us to knock holes in the dirt and suck it out.
We have oil containing rock and oil containing sand and we have vast deposits of oil just off our coasts -- in our own territorial waters. It’s just sitting there while we pay through the nose for oil we have to purchase from countries that hate us even after we debase ourselves just for the privilege of buying their oil.
What kind of government does that to its people? Answer: The kind of government we have in Washington, DC.
See, back in the good ole days, we made a terrible mistake. We trusted our government. Now that we KNOW better -- it is too late.
Or is it?
If, as some are suggesting, we are about to have a global financial collapse, we’ll get a “do over.” It won’t be pretty and it is going to hurt like the dickens, but if there is a bright side to an economic apocalypse, it may be that we will get a chance to clean our government of the socialists, Marxists, progressives, and left-wing liberals that spent us into this mess.
Some say the Good Ole Days were not all that good. Having lived in both I can tell you the Good Ole Days beat the heck out of the mess we live in today!
J. D. Longstreet