Days gone bye – A dollar a day

Published 8:18 pm Monday, April 15, 2024

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By Tom Boggs

Now, let me clear up the fact that I never did work for a dollar a day, unless it was working for my daddy in early years, and there probably are not all that many folks left around who did get a buck a day. 

Man, I’m talking ‘bout a greenback dollar bill in these present times is pretty small potatoes, but I was just recollecting hardly ever even seeing a $20 bill, much less a $50, and I still have no idea whose picture is on a $100 bill. 

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As you’ve heard me exclaim: “Those great and wonderful 50s!” That dollar bill could get you 20 “Co-Colas” or RCs if you prefer. The café crowd down at Lewis Café in Linden or Sam’s up north of the Bogue, could plop down a sawbuck, and that would set up the crowd to 20 cups of coffee, plus free refills. Then, for another dollar, each one could go out, and fill up their car or truck with five gallons of fuel. 

I laid out 315 of those saved up dollars to Dick Allen down at Jeffrey Motor Company and drove off the lot in a nearly used-up 1951 Chevy Coup in 1960, my very first. It naturally had no air conditioner, but the heater worked half the time. And it only took about five minutes for those radio tubes to warm up so you could listen to “The Hit Parade” or “The Grand Ole Opry.” 

That car was named the Boggismobile. Good day when I traded it off to George Braswell, and took up payments on his later model Chevy, so I’d have more dependable carpool transportation down to Marathon Southern Paper Mill, where, for some reason or another they were paying me more than three of those bucks an hour to chunk boxes up in a railroad boxcar. I had arrived. 

Hey, when you didn’t have two Buffalo nickels to rub together, did you ever make your own kite outer cedar sticks, newspapers and paste made from water and flour? When’s the last time you’ve seen any chullun walking around the neighborhood on homemade stilts or buying two pieces of blow gum for one Indian-head penny?

I wonder how many times I got Virginius Jones to half sole my favorite pair of Sunday shoes? I hope I have a say so the next time one of my great grandsons gets a loose tooth. They just gotter experience sitting in front of a door with one end of a string tied to the tooth, and the other to the doorknob of that closed door, just waiting for an uncle or a papa to jerk open that door and pull the loose tooth real professional-like. 

Most folks have migrated into towns, and the towns have gotten sorta sophisticated, so ‘cept for the few lucky ones out yonder in the country, I’m afraid chicken coops and rabbit hutches are pretty well gone for now on. 

Crossing over the Barton’s Creek bridge on the way to Linden the other day, I thought about fishing that creek with my daddy and brother way back yonder. They were much harder fishermen than me. Shucks, I’d hunt me up a likely looking grapevine up on a sandy bank, put down that fishing rod with the Hawaiian wiggler on it, and swing out over the creek ‘til I got worn out or the vine broke. 

Okay, let your own mind wander a bit. You might even remember drinking cool well water outer a tin dipper or a cut out gourd. 

Those memories are worth every dollar ya pay for ‘em.