Today I was playing a Merle Haggard cd in one of my old cars ('55 Thunderbird) driving along when a song came on that brought back a childhood memory.
Growing up one of the things I remember about my folks is one should try to do their best to live within their means and stay out of debt. Borrowing money was done with caution. My parents were in their 50s' before they were able to actually buy a house.
When I was not more then nine or ten years old I remember going one Saturday morning to a bank (Farmersburg, Indiana) with my dad. Banks back then were opened on Saturday mornings and on this Saturday he and I had been to Calvin's Barber Shop to, as the old timers might say, "to have our ears lowered." I never understood that statement when I was a kid.
After the "ears lowering" we went across the street to the bank. For whatever reason, which I do not know my folks needed to borrow some money. The only things I can ever remember my parents borrowing money for was for an appliance, such as a stove-refrigerator or a car. A television, I think not. Remember this is the father that once bought a car, '57 Chevy without a radio. To which when I reacted, "no radio," his statement, "if you want to listen to the radio come in the house."
On one of my last trips back home I drove once again down the main street of that little town and I drove by what one had been the barber shop and the bank. Today it is like one of Alan Jackson's old song "they have boarded everything up." Today it is just another empty boarded up building in a sad dying (dead) town.
I remember as we walked into the bank we had gotten only a few steps inside the bank and almost immediately a suit and tie man approached my dad, called him by name, and extending his hand to shake dad's. They exchanged adult talk to which I paid little attention. Then finally the man again calling my dad by his name said, "John, what is it we can do for you today?" By then my dad and the man were standing just a few feet from the window of one of the tellers. "What brings you to the bank this morning," the man ask. My dad answered " well we need a bit of money, a loan." "How much to you need?" I honestly do not remember the amount say something like a couple hundred dollars I might imagine.
The man immediately turned to the lady in the tellers cage calling her by name and said, "If you would get John two hundred dollars." There was no sit down at the manager's desk with questions being asked. I don't remember my dad filling out any papers. I do remember he was ask to sign something. The teller took just a moment, money was placed in an envelope and then handed to my dad. He and the man talked a bit more, shook hands and then we left. Merle Haggard might sing about it, I once saw it.
" He could borrow money down at the bank simply on his word."
Try that today.
January 2, 2017