This is Georgia’s going to town for a funeral outfit–to the “big” town 20 minutes away, the county seat where they have things like restaurants. Doesn’t this hat make her look as if she’s prepared to go motoring across the English countryside? We went to lunch after the funeral. She said, “I was the only one there wearing a hat.” At 78, she walks in the foreign land of people younger than her, a land she doesn’t quite understand. They weren’t wearing hats at the funeral! What’s wrong with them?!
And I find myself, at my age, not just her guide, but the guide to my teenage children, who also walk in a foreign land sometimes in this small town where we have “antiques” like gas pumps with no pay-at-the-pump slot. I am the in-between, the guide, the sandwich generation between Georgia’s childhood without TV and my children’s childhoods with the world wide web bred into their bones.
In our little town, we had a little gas station with a little old man who would come out and pump my gas. Full service!! No card slots in the machines. These are the machines I remember from my childhood. The only machines Georgia has ever known, and machines my children had never seen before in our former suburban lives. The first time they came with me to get gas, they were baffled when I didn’t jump out of the car. We sat there for a minute and finally one of them said, “Aren’t you going to get gas?” I said, “Yes.” The little old man came out and pumped my gas. My children nearly fell over with shock. I loved that little old gas station and the little old man. He always called me “honey” and if I wanted a bottle of water and a candy bar, he’d bring that out to the car for me, too. A few months ago, he retired due to health problems and we’re all waiting, hopefully, for someone to buy the gas station, and praying they’ll give full service, because we are all so spoiled.
Georgia got her gas at the little old gas station from the little old man for years and years. Before that, her husband (now deceased) got her gas for her, so she had to learn how to get her own gas after the little old gas station closed. Sometimes I get gas for her. The other day, after we had lunch and before we left the “big” town, we stopped by the gas station. I got out, pumped the gas, and got back in the car. Georgia said, “Aren’t you going to pay?” I said, “I already paid.” She stared at me, not unlike my children stared at me when I didn’t get out of the car to pump the gas myself the first time they came with me to the little old gas station. I explained, “I put my card in the slot and I paid at the pump.”
Georgia said, “Oh my. I didn’t know you could do that.”
I said, “You need to get the bank to give you a debit card.”
She said, “Oh no, no, no!”