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Donna Flood
Gasolene Prices

“There was a time in Oklahoma around about 1934,” Dad was strumming his fingers on the table. The far away look in his eye made us believe he was looking upon some scene from a place long ago. “Yep,” he went on, “the gasoline ran along the bar ditches. It was called drip gas. I guess because it dripped out from the pipes close to the wells. We used to just take a gallon can and dip it up. That was when I was a kid and couldn’t stay at home like I should have been doing. There was plenty of work to be done on the ranch but you know how it is. Your mother was too beautiful and too much of a temptation for me to stay out of town. The oil royalties coming into the family bought us all a car around. Shoot! Ain’t no way we weren’t going to be dashing around town with all our buddies. We had dances to go to, church picnics, basketball games. Your Mom was a doll in her shiny satin basketball suit. It was a bright yellow gold and with her shining black hair who could have wanted to miss a game with her playing?”

Dad told the story around the year 1975 and I could identify with his feelings for the automobile especially since we had been living in Dallas. There was an unending feast of adventures in that old town. The children and I never tired of dashing here and there on the plentiful freeways that allowed us to zip around to any place from the zoo to museums, or horse riding lessons.

All too soon the realities of my ancestor’s frugal, conservative ways would be upon me. Dad might make a simple observation like, “Say Girl, with what you spend on dog food for those labs you could be fattening out a calf,” or, “you can enjoy a smaller car as much as that big old gas guzzling dinosaur you have.”

“What! Give up this luxurious LTD? I don’t think so,” I replied. But then, I did. A smaller compact car worked just fine.

Then came the day I realized that instead of working so hard at little projects for spending money I could simply do nothing but stay out of the car and have at least 20 dollars more a day. Getting into the car with kids meant, first of all, gasoline, and then, treats at the local drive-in. Heaven help me if I took them in a store. The 20 dollars spent could turn into 100 dollars in a heartbeat.

We were puttering with raising chickens, learning about growing things, picking up odd jobs around the neighborhood and many other jingle, jangle projects that didn’t mean great amounts of money coming into our life but, on the other hand, there wasn’t money dropped, either.

Today in 2006 that was thirty years ago. Was it a rough existence, hard to live through? Heaven’s no! To the contrary. The money I would have spent on gas we instead, spent at least one day a week for having folks into our home for a meal. We’ve made some great, loving friends. I’ve learned to cook a fair bit. The kids’ love the entertaining we did and still do. Of course, there are hidden benefits. When you know you are having folks in your home you finish up small projects, clean up testy places, and have to think about what can be done in a conservative way to maintain your space, modest though it may be.

Gas prices, like anything else, can be a sour lemon to suck on but making lemonade with a little bit of sugar is our motto and it works.

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