Weatherford Democrat

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June 30, 2013

NOW HEAR THIS: Fill ‘er up and check the oil

By Larry M. Jones

How long has it been since you made such a statement? If you’re under 60 years old, you probably don’t know what I’m even talking about unless you’re a nostalgia buff.

Thanks to the contrived oil shortage brought about by the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973, filling stations, or service stations as we knew them, have become a thing of the past. Emerging with the introduction of the automobile, gas stations quickly became a prominent fixture on the American landscape. You could pull up to the pump and be greeted by an attendant who would proceed to tend the needs of your vehicle.

With a fill up, he would normally check your oil, coolant level in your radiator, check hoses and belts, air up your tires and wash your windshield while pumping the gas. This was the typical routine for motorists from the 1940s up into the ‘70s.

While your car was being looked after by the handsome, friendly and neatly dressed service station attendant, you could go to the spotlessly clean restroom. Then you could enjoy an ice cold Coke, Nehi, Cream Soda or Grapette while you picked up a new, free road map. Service bays were conveniently located in the station so that any necessary repairs could be quickly made. Since gas only cost 20-something cents a gallon, paying the bill never necessitated hocking the family jewels. Those were the days.

In the real world, it didn’t always work out that way. I also remember some surly slobs that would wipe your dipstick with the same rag he used to clean your windshield, and would “finger” the dipstick to make it appear you were a quart low in order to sell you oil you didn’t need. There was also the character who would cut your fan belt so he could sell you a new one.

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