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.