THE FILLIN’ STATION
As we age, there are things we think about and wish our kids, maybe even our grandkids, could have experienced. By the way, if we are truthful, there also might be a few things that might be just as well they didn’t experience. You want an example? How about, The Corral, The Eastside and The Northside. What were these? Well, in my growing up years, these were the three local drive-in movies. Enough said?
This morning, very early as I was making my way to my coffee place, I slipped in an old Johnny Cash cassette. Yes, still playing cassettes. Mr. Meeks and his satellite radio stuff forget it. Cash has some classic things that never became hits, but were just good stuff. One such song is, “Cisco Clifton’s Fillin’ Station.”
I started smiling-fillin stations! Say that word around our grandkids and they have no idea. What’s a fillin’ station? If you grew up in the 50s’ in a small town, you would know what a fillin’ station was. It was a place where you got gas for your car. By the way in most cases you did not pump the gas, an attendant did that. Quite different than today. But as in any small town, you could definitely get more there than your car filled up with gas. Often it was a place you stopped on your way to pick up a date, and often a place you might stop after your date. It was a place where you might find a game of checkers or cards. You might find old men sitting around in the front, passing judgment and comments on passersby. You could get unsolicited advice on just about any subject. If near a highway, often they stayed open well into the night. Some of them might be a combination fillin’ station, restaurant and dance hall. They had particular names; two in the neighboring communities where I grew up were The Blue Goose and the White Swan. Often a gathering of guys and cars would be found there.
Today, you buy your gas at a convenient store. They try to sell you everything from gas to a velvet picture of Elvis. The one stop market. Also if want gas you will have to push seventy- five buttons, wait seventy-five minutes and then someone yells at you thru some speakers from inside. Oh, for the days of the ole fillin’ station!
Next time you pass through some little town or find you’re off the beaten path, take a look around and you might see the remains of a “fillin’ station,” and remember that is where you could get more than just gas.
Footnote: In a neighboring town there was this gas station/ restaurant/ dance hall combination called The Blue Goose. The Goose was where I had my first cigar, then went outside and puked. The Blue Goose- just thinking of it could spawn more tales. I saw my first real “dance floor” at the Blue Goose. You could push back the curtains to pass into the dance floor; the brightest lights in the room were from the jukebox. Oh yes the Blue Goose. That is for another time and story.