Not much ‘Satisfaction’ for #036;2.60

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 18, 2005

Sticker shock – it's not just at the car lot anymore.

It shouldn't be a big surprise to anyone by now that the price of gas has shot through the roof.

Personally, I made plans to fill the tank of my pick'em-up truck on Monday morning. Then, the price of regular unleaded stood at a mere $2.49.9 per gallon. By the time I stopped for gas later in the afternoon, I received the honor of paying 10 more cents per gallon.

When the pump came to a halt, my bill for 14 gallons was $36.40. I've spent less than that for a nice dinner and a night out at the movie theatre for the wife and I.

What happened?

Has the wicked Saddam escaped captivity and set fire to the oil fields in the Middle East?

Did a hurricane strike an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico?

Has Mexico reclaimed Texas?

Did the captain of the Exxon Valdez get another job as the skipper of an oil tanker?

Should I shut-up and stop asking so many stupid questions? (You are not required to answer that one.)

It doesn't seem all that long ago where a gallon of gas was under two bucks. As a matter of fact, I can recall it being at that level in September of last year where myself and other family members were making daily trips to Greenville when my mom was in the hospital.

Oh, how I yearn to see $1.99 per gallon once again.

Heck, I'm so old I can remember where a dollar would buy three gallons of gas. I fondly remember a gas war, when I lived in Raleigh, on Hillsborough Street where the price hit an all-time low (for me) of 19.9 cents per gallon.

Who remembers the oil embargo back in the late 70's? Gas was being rationed on certain days. If I remember correctly, I paid somewhere in the range of 70-75 cents per gallon after waiting in the long lines at H.B. Powell's Texaco station on Academy Street here in Ahoskie. We thought that was highway robbery!

Now for 75 cents, you might be able to fill a quart jar with gas, or just about the same amount to takes to crank-up and briefly idle one of those big-old SUV's.

That got me to thinking about what could I buy in the past equal to what the per gallon price of regular gas is today.

For $2.60, that was a chicken snack pack (white meat to boot) with French fries, roll and a drink plus a chili cheeseburger (of which I'd wolf down on my way back to work) from the former, but never forgotten, Tastee Freeze in Ahoskie.

An ice-cold six-pack of Bud was $1.99 back in the day. Throw in a pack of smokes and the bill would come close to $2.60.

Remember when Hardees first opened? Burgers (with cheese) were priced at 15 cents each. If my math is correct, the per gallon price of gas today would equal to 17 cheeseburgers (with a nickel in change) back then.

I can't remember paying too much over $2.60 for a large pizza. Then again, I can't remember too much unless it deals with food.

Wait a minute; I do remember that my first full-time job here at the News-Herald (working as an assistant in the camera room for the legendary Larry Howell) paid $2.65 an hour. And I thought I was rich!

Give a kid $2.60 in dimes back then and a parent could turn them loose for an entire day at a pinball arcade. Heck, I've played the one down at White Lake for much less than that.

Speaking of White Lake, the old music pavilion hanging out over the water was where I first heard "Satisfaction" by The Rolling Stones. If I wanted, I could have blown my entire arcade allowance on hearing Mick Jagger belt out that song 52 times for the same amount I pay today for a gallon of petro.

I can remember getting off the school bus and going inside my home to beg my grandmother for 11 cents so I could hop on my bike and ride to Mr. Collin Liverman's Sinclair station for a 6-cent Sun Drop and a nickel pack of square nabs. If my "ma" would have handed over $2.60, I would have either dropped dead on the spot or invited 23 friends to join me at the store for an afternoon treat.

For a buck, another buck plus 60 cents, I could have my hair cut twice at the Barnes Barber Shop and have 10 pennies left over for the gumball machine.

Todays per gallon price could buy me a movie ticket and a box of popcorn back in the day.

Please forgive this old man for rambling on about the good old days, but it sure felt good to vent about the high price of gas.

If you see me at the pump, please stop by and say howdy. If you are in a hurry and don't have the time to stop, throwing cash in my direction is permissible.