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Columbia Missourian

FROM READERS: A tank of gas

By JOHN HALL/MISSOURIAN READER
April 15, 2012 | 12:00 p.m. CDT
A creek near Walnut Creek cemetery flows as the sun rises in the morning.

John Hall frequently photographs his mid-Missouri surroundings, and he has been sharing his images with the Missourian  for several years.

One of the English cockers and this old guy did a rare thing this morning. We went to the gasoline pump for the first time since February 25, 2012. Early this year I declared independence from high fuel prices and decided to do what I could...quit driving.

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When I purchased the pick-up truck, shortly before the election in 2008, I figured I could afford a tank or two every month. However, I was told by some folks that if I voted for a certain candidate gasoline would go through the roof.  Of course, I didn’t believe them. I recalled the first time I had the opportunity to vote in a presidential election and was told if I cast my vote for a certain candidate we’d be knee deep in the Vietnam War in six months. Of course, I didn’t believe them in 1964 any more than I did in 2008.

So, when I tried to fill my truck with gasoline this morning and the digital readout went awfully close to $100, I faced up to it and had to admit that I’m totally to blame for the current fuel prices because of the person whose name I marked “x” beside in 2008. Then as I thought through that logic, I had to also come to the conclusion that I’m also to blame for the escalation in the Vietnam War. Those are two heavy burdens for one guy to carry but facts are facts. The guys elected in 1964 and 2008 aren’t to blame for anything that happened on their watch. It’s John Hall who has caused a lot of pain and suffering all these years because he wouldn’t listen to conventional wisdom.

I’m so sorry for that, that I’m sharing some of the photos taken after purchasing a tank of gasoline today. There won’t be any more of these kinds of photos since the fuel I purchased this morning is going to have to last until nearly the month of June. Oh, did I mention the guys for whom I voted in 1964 and 2008 suffered the same fate?  Their opponents won. If yesterday’s photo commentary made me a candidate for the “funny farm” this one ought to earn me commitment papers. But, I do enjoy contemplating the “what if” scenarios. I usually do my “best” contemplating when out driving on country roads or walking in cemeteries.

This morning I awoke to a very heavy frost that was as welcome as a cat in a canary show. But as the sun came up the creeks didn’t seem to mind the cool temperatures and neither did the barns shown from photos and beyond. Driving around the dairy experimental farm that J.C. Penney used to fund, I noticed the first cutting of hay.

Since my allotted miles for the day hadn’t been used up, I went down the road toward Walnut Creek cemetery  and saw a number of interesting items such as more barns and a silo that somehow defies the laws of gravity and remains as a reminder of the past along with a windmill.

Arriving at Walnut Creek cemetery I stopped to pay a visit and couldn’t call some of the residents by their names since time had worn away the lettering on their tombstones. I walked the entire cemetery and took a lot of photographs so as to do some genealogy research on those days the truck remains in the garage.

After departing the cemetery and saying “goodbye” to the sentinel horse silhouetted on the horizon I headed toward home.

Driving east on U. S. 40 I passed a bunch of four-legged “beasts” that yelled “Where are you going?” I went down the road a few hundred feet and decided to go back and answer their question. I told them I was headed home and they inquired as to what I had been up to and I told them “Taking pictures of all manner of animals, barns, silos and tombstones.” They replied in unison “Well, how about us?" So I told them to hold still and I’d take a “few” photos of them. You see Gary, Gretchen, Gertrude and Gregory being on basically their best behavior. They said the next time through that way I should bring some of those photos printed out so they could share them with the rest of their family and friends.  I told them not to look for me before June.

This story is part of a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's how.