A retired old Army friend of my retired old Army dad used to like to find spots for new Jiffy Lubes and didn’t even bother to charge Jiffy Lube for the help.
“That,” he would say, pointing out the open front seat passenger side window at a subdivision entrance sign as it whizzed by, “would be a good spot for a Jiffy Lube.”
This exercise usually took place in the afternoon, after we’d quit fishing and got the boat back on the trailer and started easing on back to the house in Midway, taking the long way so we could look at stuff and listen to Creedence Clearwater Revival turned way up with the windows way down.
I’m talking back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the world was younger and you could still ride around without getting get run over by somebody in a SUV sporting an Ohio State or Michigan decal - Buckeyes and Wolverines being somewhat farther between in those days in these parts.
And, full disclosure, back then you could legally ride with an open, cold beer in hand and a lot of people did, me and my retired old Army dad and his retired old Army buddy and some others included. But anyhow.
“That would be a good spot for a Jiffy Lube,” my retired old Army dad’s retired old Army friend would say, popping the top on a can of cold Miller Lite and looking philosophical.
“And a Hooters,” he’d occasionally add.
Mostly, these spots for a Jiffy Lube would be near various subdivisions, which were also fewer and farther between in those days. It was before hordes of residential developers began developing everything that sat still long enough to have a house or 200 built on it, though not by much. Nowadays, subdivisions are everywhere, stretching as far as the eye can see and gleaming like new plastic in the Georgia sun.
Sure, a few are tony and upscale with real trees and space to roam and may include real bricks and space for two Land Rovers in the garage and a pony out back; others cram in as many houses as possible. This is done both to maximize profits and give the lord of the manor less yard to worry about and more time to hose mildew off the attractive vinyl siding and faux brick plastic, or time to try and figure out why his commode backs up and garden hose wiggles every time the guy next door takes a shower.
As an aside, I do wonder, sometimes, how people can tell one house from another, but it apparently works out because houses kept getting built and sold, built and sold, built and sold, and there hasn’t been a rash of misplaced theirs. Yet.
Surprisingly, all this occurs despite the dearth of amenities modern Americans who move to this part of Georgia don’t have and need, like more to buy or eat or watch or do (see Bryan County Chairman Carter Infinger’s guest column).
If I were county commission chairman I’d say to those who want a Target that they ought to go find a place with a Target already in existence and move there, and that’s probably reason No. 5,219 I’m not an elected official.
I once ran into some self-important old goat from Florida by way of Boston about 20 years ago who wanted the paper I worked at to do a story on the dirt road he’d just bought a house on, because it got muddy when it rained and was dusty when it didn’t and the county wouldn’t come pave it.
“If you didn’t want to live on a dirt road why’d you buy a house on one?” I asked, first question.
That made the guy mad. He was there to complain about county government and that blasted dirt road, not get asked why he moved to a place if he didn’t like what it offered. My news judgement was wrong, of course, as it often is. I know this because the man called a couple of local TV stations and at least one came out and did a story on the dirt road and how awful it was, out there in the elements. I think the road is still dirt. Not sure if that fellow still lives on it, fuming.
Anyway, to those bemoaning the lack of shopping, and a Target, and movie theaters and all which other folks have, I say don’t worry. Don’t worry because one day a new Dollar General will be right there in your back yard, beside the Dollar General behind your neighbor’s swimming pool and across the street from the other Dollar General, which is just around the corner from that Dollar General over there at the four-way intersection with no traffic control at all except for one weatherbeaten stop sign that has been shot about 20 times by the sort of red-blooded Americans who tend to shoot up traffic signs.
It’s almost as if somewhere out there someone much like our retired old Army buddy is riding around with a couple of buddies after a day of fishing, sipping beer and saying, “that would be a good spot for a Dollar General.”