In the 1940’s and 1950’s people traded with a business/businessman. The agreement of supply was exclusive, barring a major snafu. My Dada was overseas all of WWII and Korea. He was abroad more than home from 1940 to 1960. During that time, when my Nana needed to fuel up her Chevrolet, she didn’t drive much…you could walk most everywhere but church and even there in good weather… she rang Red. Red owned and ran the gas station/mechanic shop in Normaltown, the part of Athens where Nana lived. After a call or on their regular day, Red would drive his truck over to Nana’s house and park it in Dada’s tree canopied space. Then he would drive the Chevy back to his station and fill her up, check all the belts and  fluids, check the tires and clean the windows…and then he would drive it back. He charged her regular price for gas, there was no self-serve, and for any parts: filters or oil he might have to replace. He put the charges on her account. She would settle with him once a month when the Dada’s check arrived from the service.

Even in the 1970’s after self-service has infiltrated even his corner, Red did the same for Nana, “Sarge” having passed on and all. Red took care of Nana and consequently, me, until he died some time in the early 1980’s. Then I pumped her gas.

Red didn’t sell 50 kinds of gum and Slurpies. I remember Dentyne and Wrigley’s and Tom’s peanuts in jar and maybe a box of Moon Pie’s. When Dada, who remember worked for a candy distributor, and I went inside to settle his bill, he always bought me something. And then he made sure to shake the hand of the man who kept his girls going.


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