Gas Prices and Cruising

This week, the media was full of news concerning a pipeline leak that caused the closure of a crucial pipeline in Alabama, which carries gasoline to the eastern United States. It is being reported there will probably be a gas shortage in some south eastern states, causing much higher prices at the pump. And, of course, Tennessee is one of the states that may see the higher prices. It’s not like gas is high enough already. It seems especially high for those of us who remember the golden days of very low prices at the pump.

Do you remember when gas was just not an issue? I do! Way back, in the olden days of the sixties, gas was cheap. Teenagers cruised around town without a care in the world. The only worry we had was whether or not we could find anyone we knew, or wanted to know, cruising around town. These were the days when we would literally combine our pennies and head to the gas pumps. Many times we would pump in twelve or thirteen cents. Really? Yes, really! Believe it or not, this provided a lot of cruising time. Pennies and nickels meant something then. Finding loose change meant gas, and gas meant cruising. If we couldn’t find change, we would clip food coupons and cash them in to buy our gas (we had a friendly grocer). We would take the family car “as is.” This meant, “if the tank was full… great,” if not, “you put it in.” Unlike today, when pennies and nickels are treated like “disowned step-children,” and parents are expected to “keep the wheels rolling.” It’s no wonder teens no longer cruise. Gas prices are just too high to burn aimlessly wondering around, looking for other teens.

Oh, but what fun they are missing! Crowding into the car (no license restrictions or seat belts) to cruise. You would be amazed at how many kids would fit into one car, or how many phone numbers could be exchanged. And… those favorite places. Remember The Spot, Carson Newman Campus, Cherokee Dam, The Hanging Tree (oh… that one was for “parking” in two’s), The Pizza Palace in Knoxville, Shoney’s, The Silver Spur and The Blue Circle in Morristown, and many more? Anywhere cars parked for food service, you would find cruising teens. Cruising was today’s texting, a social network for teenagers.

So, I guess the message to this memory is: Gas is high… so no cruising. Or, let our teenagers text or we will be paying the price of gas! Or maybe, “times change, things change!”

Source: K. P. Guessen