Cheap Fuel

Laugh Tracks in the Dust

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Lots of folks, including me, have been griping about high vehicle fuel prices. And, even though gas and diesel prices have eased a bit recently, prices are still high enuf to take a bite out of about anyone’s budget.
However, that all changed for me — albeit, temporarily — last week. I got more than $99 of free ethanol from a local self-serve fuel station — and, no, I didn’t win the lottery. The company volunteered to give me nearly $100 of free fuel.
Here’s how it happened: Ol’ Nevah and I went to town to pick up a medical prescription, eat lunch at Sonic, buy a few needed groceries, stop at the farm supply store for green bean seed and chicken feed, and buy fuel for our utility vehicle, riding lawnmower, and top off the tank in my pickup. We took my old Ford pickup because we wanted to put the plastic fuel containers safely in the pickup bed.
Our final stop wuz for fuel and the first pump I pulled into, I wuz half-way through the credit card and fuel reward program when the pump’s internal computer apparently shot craps. It quit working. Well, since the temperature wuz over 100 degrees, the computer glitch didn’t make my internal temperature go down.
So, I cancelled out and moved to another pump. There, I got through the credit card folderol okay, dropped the truck tailgate and opened the lids on the five fuel containers lined up across the bed. Together their capacity is around 20 gallons.
However, when I took the fuel dispenser out of its slot and pulled on the fuel line to start filling up the containers, whoops! The entire danged fuel line dropped from its high hookup point and curled around my feet on the scalding asphalt. That’s about when my internal temperature matched the air temperature, but, truth be told, it scared me a bit. For an instant, I could envision gas pouring down on my head.
So, holding my ire in check, I went inside to the cashier on duty and explained what happened. The poor gal’s face blanched and she explained that someone ahead of me must have tried a drive-off without paying and yanked the rubber fuel line from its hookup to the pump.
Then, she said, “Company policy is that you get a freebie for your inconvenience. Just move over to another pump, run your credit card, and when you’re through, I’ll cancel the purchase.”
So, that’s what I did. And, the total was about 25-cents shy of $100. Before I left, I rechecked with the clerk and she assured me that there was no charge.
So, that’s the long story of how I got free fuel during a time of record fuel prices. However, I’m still a bit of a doubter, so I’m gonna check my next credit card bill to make sure the fuel wuz really free.
***
I got a phone call last week from Faith Philreeder, from Benkleman, Neb. She explained that she gives my weekly column a thorough once-over and even shares it with her friends. And, she told me she wanted to share a funny story. I never turn down a free story because I’m basically lazy — and thankful.
However, as we conversed, it turns out that we have two mutual friends. Just for reference, Benkleman is just across the border from Bird City, Kan., in extreme northwest Kansas. I mentioned to her that I used to hunt a lot of pheasants with friends from Bird City and we usually hunted until one p.m. in Kansas and then went to Benkleman for lunch at noon because it is in the mountain time zone.
When she asked who my Bird City friends were, I told her ol’ Claude Hopper and Poole Shark, who were in the dorm room next to me in 1960 when we all three started attending Bea Wilder U.
Claude is still my bestest fishing buddy who now lives in Pratt. Poole lives in Lincoln, Neb., and I seldom get to see him. Faith told me she knew both of my friends when they lived in Bird City. Small world, indeed.
***
Now, here’s Faith’s funny story: An old rancher, Hayes T. Dryver, wuz hurrying to get to happy hour at the local Dew Drop Inn Bar and Grill in his rattle-trap old pickup truck. In his haste to get a cold brewski, and thanks to a bit of day-dreaming, he got caught by a county mounty doing more then 100 miles per hour.
After he pulled him over, the deputy looked the situation over and told Hayes, “If you can conjure up a convincing enough story about your excessive speeding situaton, I might see fit to only give you a warning, not a real ticket.”
So, Hayes cleared his throat and said, “Well, officer, here’s the deal. My wife died a few years ago. I was lonely and desperate for companionship, so I remarried to an ambitious younger woman and, let me tell you, she made quick work of my finances before she left me high and dry.
“Truth is, when I heard your siren and saw all those flashing lights, I thought you were trying to return her because she ran off with my money and with a handsome highway patrolman. That’s why I tried to outrun you.”
His convincing story earned Hayes a warning ticket.
***
Words of wisdom for the week. “Needless to say, one of the most successful aggie inventors of all time was the fellow who invented the hay baler. He made a real bundle.”
Have a good ‘un.

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