Views from the driver’s seat

opinions

January 19, 2013 - 12:00 AM


A little potpourri:
I listened to a few minutes of Sean Hannity’s show on Fox Radio Wednesday and, predictably, he was railing about President Obama’s efforts to curb gun violence.
Nothing the president said — all of which made sense to me — set well with him and a couple of flacks chiming in with reinforcement.
Eventually, he got around to the thread-bare comparison of guns and automobiles: Cars can kill, so why not outlaw them along with military style firearms and large capacity magazines.
Actually, I can see a comparison between motor vehicles and guns, though not in the context of the Obama basher.
We are required to register cars, must take tests to obtain or retain a driver’s license and are required to have liability insurance.
Let’s put the same provisions on gun ownership and use.
Also, vehicles may be traced through registration numbers and with guns registered, their ownership cycle would be readily available.

WHEN I was a new driver, a good many kids congregated at the Texaco service station on the corner of Mulberry and Ninth streets in Humboldt.
Ken Johnson (no relation) owned the station and didn’t mind that we hung around to visit with those who worked there.
I learned how to repair tires — when most had innertubes — and that a trick to save money on oil, for the cheap jalopies most of us drove, was to strain used oil through a big can filled with sand.
I had a 1950 Pontiac. Its purchase price, even then, of $20 probably tells all anyone needs to know about its condition.
Springs on the left side were broken down to the point that it leaned noticeably to that side and it burned so much oil bluish-gray smoke rolled out of the exhaust pipe. I joked when I stopped for a fill-up of 30-cent-a-gallon gasoline to check the gas and fill it with oil.
Attendants in those days checked the engine’s oil level and air in tires and cleaned windshields of customers’ cars, as well as put gasoline in the tank. You could sit in the driver’s seat, pretty as you please, and be waited on.
Johnson’s Texaco employees had uniform shirts, but they weren’t as spiffy as those at stations in bigger cities, where workers wore full uniforms, including distinctive hats, and came out in pairs or threes when a car drove up.

THE OTHER day in Casey’s, someone asked if I thought I’d ever see gasoline under $3 again. It was posted at $2.999.
How times have changed. I remember gasoline under 20 cents a gallon, and prizes awaiting when you purchased enough to fill a coupon book.

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