Friday, December 03, 2010

A gas station story

Outside of Chester, Nebraska, just across the line in Kansas and surrounded by corn fields, is an old-style gas station, built in the 1960's.

Sinclair StationThe gas pumps aren't computer-controlled. They have the dial face. Remember how much your total is when you go in, because you have to tell them how much you owe. It's OK; they trust you.

You get a free small fountain soda with a fill up, too. Or coffee. But not cappuccino, which they also have. I got iced tea.

The guy hanging around the station, the one with the full beard, is headed out to the test plot dinner. A farmer plants small test plots of different seed varieties. Then the seed company or the extension service has a dinner to discuss results. He says it's all business, but the ladies say they know it's social. "All I ever hear 'em talking about is who's bringing the beer."

Sinclair StationWhen the old man who built the station died, his son from the city came to fix the place. He wanted to modernize it. He wrote a reprimand to one clerk for talking too much. She was not to talk to people except to ask what they needed. "This is not a social club," the reprimand said.

"We got rid of him, and just in time," one of the ladies said.

I got her recipe for cajun cake before I left. Maybe it is a social club.


  1. I love this story and do remember these types gas stations. My aunts in North Carolina and Virginia ran little general stores that were pretty similar. We actually pride ourselves in offering this type of friendly, personalized service to our customers. It's never a waste of time being friendly.

  2. Thanks, folks. I remember stations like this from growing up, too. Neat to see one still around.

  3. Well, what can I say? We should all tour rural America.

  4. Wayne, it was a bright spot on a long, long drive.