“Workin’ on mysteries without any clues

Workin’ on our night moves

Tryin’ to make some front page drive-in news

Workin’ on our night moves

In the summertime”

– Quoted material by Bob Seger

ROLLING FORK—You know that you are getting old when you find yourself missing things that used to be around but aren’t around anymore. And I miss a lot of stuff.

I miss drive-in movies. They used to be everywhere, as Mr. Seger’s above lyric points out, providing a not only recreational, but real educational service to the nation’s youth. And then it was like one day I woke up and there were no more. They had simply vanished from the American scene. Pity, that. The country was a better place when it had drive-in movies.

And so it was when it had drugstore soda fountains. Remember those? Remember all the really neat treats that you could get at those? Only if you are of a certain age, I’m afraid. Try to remember the last one those that you saw somewhere. The town drugstores all across America were alive when their soda fountains were.

I miss pool halls, not places that have a few pool tables, where pool minnows who would be sharks invariably shoot far too hard to ever be any good, but real, old-fashioned pool halls. A young man could learn some of life’s more valuable lessons in a pool hall. I did. Lessons like respect, not only for the other folks in there (you’d better get that one quick, if you wanted to live long and prosper), but for the game itself, and lessons like nothing is quite often a really good thing to say.

There was truly no better place on the planet to learn invaluable insights into human nature and body language and whom you could, and better not kid around with, merely through a glance. Pool halls bred trained observers.

I miss gas stations. No, real ones, not like today’s convenience stores with gas pumps, where a real human came out to your car and pumped your gas and checked under the hood and cleaned your windshield.

Remember? We some-times called them “fillin’ stations,” and said cool things like “fill ‘er up” if you had some money and things like “give me two dollars-worth” if you didn’t.

You couldn’t go inside them and buy sandwiches with the consistency of cardboard or rubber chicken, because all that was in there was a Coke machine and maybe some peanuts and Nabs. This was a better country when we called peanut butter crackers Nabs and there were real “fillin’ stations,” with calendars featuring dogs playing poker and pinup girls adorning oil-stained walls.

I miss rotary telephones and I miss dialing 0 and have a pleasant-voiced female person say “Operator,” to whom you said things like “Operator, please give me Edgewater 7-2764,” and you didn’t hear unearthly sounds that make dogs’ ears bleed.

And I miss phone booths, too, and sit-down diners. Turns out I miss a lot of things that used to be on the side of the road and aren’t anymore.

Yes, I know how inconvenient it would be, but I sometimes wish that the flying saucer hadn’t crashed at Roswell or that the Terminator hadn’t come back through time or whatever it was that suddenly gained us access to the alien technology that has brought us the wonders of cell phones and 24-hour TV news channels and microwaved meat products and blogs, where know-nothing kids sit in their underwear in their parents’ basements and dispense wisdom, unquestioned by the masses and uncomplicated by the facts.

So yeah, you know both you and your country are getting old when you miss so much stuff that used to be around but isn’t around any-more. Thing is, it strikes me neither of us is aging all that killin’ well.

“Ain’t it funny how the night moves

When you just don’t seem to have as much to lose

Strange how the night moves

With autumn closing in.”

This column was originally published in 2012. Ray Mosby is editor and publisher of the Deer Creek Pilot in Rolling Fork.

This column was originally published in 2012. Ray Mosby is editor and publisher of the Deer Creek Pilot in Rolling Fork.

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