Gas Prices and Tooling Main Street

Teenagers tooling Main Street in Milo back in the 1960’s spent evenings driving from the state store parking lot between the two bridges on lower Main to the IGA parking lot uptown 2000 feet away. Parking and leaning out the car window to talk was a common form of socializing for 5-10 minute spurts, and then back to the other end to see what’s new, or who else showed up. On weekends and in the summertime the activity went on day and night.

The constant parade was not missed by the owner of the hardware store on Main Street, who was quick to share his country wisdom on a wide variety of topics. One Saturday I walked up to Milo from Derby and was in the hardware store, which was empty except for me, and he went into a rant about gasoline. Back then a business owner was more likely to spend 30 minutes on a one dollar sale, and between customers this guy could go on for hours expounding stubborn opinions on how to fix the world. Being a polite and attentive listener I was the perfect audience for a good yarn, and was treated to some good ‘uns.

Milo was and is a small town, so traffic on Main Street was quadrupled by the tooling teenagers, and taking notice the store owner started in on gas prices and the foolishness of the parents. The price wasn’t a real issue because at 25 cents a gallon, fixin’ the world included more important issues. He was disturbed by the waste. “Why can’t they just park and talk in one place?”, he’d asked.

Anyway, during the course of his tirade his son passed each way several times as we talked. I was about to comment about his son just as he ended his story with “If I had that kinda money to waste I’d get outta this sonsabitchin’ cold country!” I doubt he’d ever make poster boy for Maine tourism, yet I fondly recall that closing comment with quiet amusement more than 40 years later.

Jim's handwritten signature

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