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Our Current Virtual Church Message

Good Ole Days

U.S. 40 was a dog to drive at night. Ralph knew every stoplight and cross road. Interstate 70 had been closed off because of some mass search of semi's related to terrorism. To keep going, the only alternative was to take U.S. 40. Ralph wondered how the old road handled all the traffic before Interstate 70 was built. However, in the good old days there were not as many cars. Ralph turned on the radio and the country station was playing The Judd's "Grandpa (Tell Me 'Bout The Good Old Days)". Ralph was 64 and in a week would be retired from Renton Plastics. Ralph started work there 35 years ago and he hung in with all the ups and downs the company faced over the years. Renton had been sold four times since he started and the word was the company was being sold again or going out of business altogether. As Ralph headed down old U.S. 40 he couldn't help thinking about how great life was back when. There was no terrorism. No stinking computer to foul up the works. Things moved slower. People cared more. Life was easier. Life was freer. Everything was so much smoother. Ralph was thinking about how nice it would be to go back to those good old days.

Ralph glanced down at his gas gauge and it was between empty and one quarter of a tank. Ralph told himself to stop at the next gas station. Gas stations weren't gas stations any more. Now they are huge self-serve outfits or a convenience store and a self-serve gas station combined. Ralph saw a lighted sign appear in the darkness a short distance ahead on his side of the road. The closer Ralph got to the sign the more old fashioned it looked. The lighted sign was one of those old round metal Texaco Star signs with a light bulb shining on each side of the sign. No neon. No interior lighting. Just the old metal painted Texaco Star with a light bulb in front.

Ralph pulled up in front of the station and he could hardly believe his eyes. A guy came out dressed in the old Texaco uniform complete with the cop-style hat. Ralph rolled down his window and the man asked Ralph if he wanted to fill'er up. Ralph said sure. Ralph thought about how you don't see stations with an attendant any more. After a few minutes the attendant walked up to Ralph's window and told Ralph the amount. The amount was $2.64 for twelve gallons. Ralph said, "Wait a minute. That isn't right. Gas isn't 22 cents a gallon it is $3.50 a gallon." The attendant said, "How much? No, tonight gas is 22 cents." Since Ralph was tired and in no mood to argue, he gave the guy a five dollar bill and received back $2.36 in change.

Ralph was getting a little hungry and asked the attendant if he had any candy inside and the attendant said, "Yeah, we got some in the case. Go inside." Ralph crawled out of the car and walked into the interior of the station. Everything inside looked old. Things didn't look dirty and old like they look when they are used and worn out. Everything in the station looked old but it all looked like it was freshly painted and newly made. Everything in the station looked like it had come out of the 1940's. The attendant came in behind Ralph and said, "Heck of deal about Pearl Harbor wasn't it?" Ralph was a little amused at the remark and said, "Yeah, but that was a long time ago." With a start the attendant said, "Long time ago? It happened yesterday! Where have you been man?" Very perplexed Ralph said, "What happened at Pearl Harbor?" In disbelief, the attendant said, "Boy, haven't you heard about it? The Japs attacked Pearl Harbor and we are goin' to war. Here, look at the paper." The attendant handed Ralph a local town newspaper, The Indianapolis Times, and the bold headlines told the grim story of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The date on the paper was Monday, December 8, 1941. What riveted Ralph's attention was the paper wasn't yellowed. The paper was as white as you can get from new newsprint. Ralph put the paper down on the counter and said, "Yeah, that was too bad. I have to shove off, I'm late." Ralph opened the door of the gas station but where his 2006 Hyundai stood a few minutes ago was a 1940 Chevy.

Ralph walked back into the station and asked the attendant, "What happened to my car?" A little surprised, the attendant walked over to the window and peered out at the driveway. The attendant said, "Looks OK to me fella. Didn't it start?" Ralph said, "Well, I didn't drive that car in here. I drove a 2000 Hyundai in here." The attendant said "Listen. When I was out there the only car I saw you in was that Chevy. I filled your car up with twelve gallons of gas. Charged you 22 cents a gallon. Same as I charge everybody. You feel OK mister? You look a little pale."

Ralph said, "Well, to tell you the truth, I don't really know." The attendant said, "Well, if you need a place to stay, there are some tourist cabins just up the road a piece." Not knowing what to say or how to say it, Ralph kept silent. Ralph began to realize he had gone back in time. He began to realize he had gone back to December, 1942. Ralph had gone back to the year he was born. Ralph also noticed his hands. His hands weren't wrinkled any more. His hands were smooth and young. Ralph looked at his reflection in the plate glass window and saw himself as a young man. The attendant broke Ralph's stunned disbelief when the attendant said, "Young man as you are, your gonna be up for the draft. I hear they are gonna start draft'en guys any day now. Things sure ain't like they used to be. Things sure ain't like the good ole days."

Ecclesiastes 7:14 When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other.

1 Timothy 4:4 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.

This article is fiction. The article first appeared in March, 2008, in the Virtual Church web site at http://www.findthepower.com

Any resemblance of the persons or characters in this story to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. 

 

 

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Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (RSV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Copyright © 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Shepherd's Care Ministries author and webmaster, Rev. Patrick Kelly, is affiliated through ministerial ordination with Church of God Ministries, Anderson IN 46018