A Service Station Start to Family Fun

If you haven’t gone to a pumpkin patch this year, there’s still time. Do it! It’s great family fun. Ali and I took the girls this past weekend, and we can chalk it up to another Nurture Her Nature adventure. Ali, bless her, got in from a business trip way early in the morning, but she was still raring to go (though she was running a bit late and wasn’t quite dressed in festive wear). I know, we can’t fault her for that; however, I can’t quite let her forget it considering she is the holiday honcho.

Of course, I had forgotten to get gas. We were headed out on minor roads, so we needed to hit the first station we came across; it wasn’t likely we’d see many along the route. Lucky for us, there were no gas-mart Speedway-type stations. No, we got to experience a true service station — you know, like “back in the day.” A couple of motocross bikes had to move out of our way so we could access the one remaining working pump. Before I had a chance to get a good look at where to insert my card in this non-digital pump, the woman working the station was outside asking how much I wanted.

I felt completely awkward standing outside my vehicle while she was pumping my gas — you know, because I’m a modern woman and perfectly capable of pumping my own gas. I’m sure I looked rather awkward too. I had no idea what to do with myself. I waited an eternity while the numbers flipped through the dial:

I followed her inside to pay and realized I was probably supposed to get back in my car while she pumped and then pay her while I listened to Chuck Berry or something. But no, I followed her in and foolishly asked if I had to pay in cash. She grinned and said that they had upgraded and I could use my card.

The service station smelled like oil and metal, and there were various car parts on countertops and hanging on the walls. An old man sat in the corner using a dirty rag to wipe down what I was sure was a very vital piece of engine. In the very back, there was a small cooler with, disappointing, plastic soda bottles. I don’t know if they were for sale or if they were for the employees. A child behind the counter said she was hungry. “Just a minute, hon,” the woman told her.

As I signed for my gas, I asked if I could tip her. She laughed a bit and said I could if I wanted. I gave her a couple bucks. How much do you tip for pumping gas?? She very graciously thanked me, and I got the sense that not many people tipped her. I paused before leaving to take it all in, and she told me that her grandfather owned the station and had for years and years. She and her daughter came in on weekends to help out and visit. I just loved it and told her so. She was proud of it, I could tell. The little girl behind the counter told me bye and the man in the corner raised his hand in farewell.

In this current Old America versus New America political climate, I felt very good about having blended the two as we headed off for some good ol’ family fun.