COLUMN/PERSPECTIVE: Feeling the effects of inflation | Local News

Inflation is a bad thing. I used to complain that the restaurant burgers were $5. Now you can’t get a good one for less than $10 and often more.

We are more concerned about the price of gasoline than anything else. The day before I started on this column, I paid $3.679 a gallon and was thrilled. This was down from the $4.11 I had paid a few days earlier. And two years ago, the average price in Georgia was $1.85 a gallon, but that was back when the only inflation we worried about was President Trump’s ego. This has probably been more accurately described as hyperinflation.

But I miss his orange, at least the awards under his presidency. Gas prices started surging while Biden’s left hand was still on the Bible, and they didn’t stop until very recently. Experts tell us that one of the reasons for inflation is that Americans have a lot of money thanks to the generosity of the government, and many don’t work, but spend. Since they don’t work, nobody produces enough to buy, so we pay too much for what little there is.

One thing we don’t produce is domestic oil and that’s partly because Biden put a moratorium on drilling leases on federal lands. He wants to leave US crude in the ground while he negotiates with the Saudis for their oil.

A local gas dealer told me months ago that a lot of the inflation is tied to fuel prices because everything we buy is trucked. If diesel fuel costs more, when we pay more at the pump, we also pay more for jeans, socks, recliners, televisions, beans, coffee, chicken fried rice, etc.

Back when I was still in diapers, a dollar bought something like Hang Williams sang in “Hey Good Lookin.” In the second line of the lyrics, Mr. Williams asked “What are you cooking?”

You have to understand that he was considering a face-to-face meeting with a woman commonly referred to at the time as a “sweet young girl”, with whom he wanted to remain stable, as he indicates: “How do you save all your time for me? “

“I got a Ford hot rod, and a two dollar bill

And I know a place just over the hill

There’s soda and the dancing is free

So if you want to have fun, come with me.

In today’s world of cellphone communications, Hank would have texted, “Yo. Supper? Want to go clubbing? »

There are few Ford hot rods or $2 bills in circulation now. They were replaced most often by a Honda Civic with a modified exhaust to mimic the flatulence of elephants and Visa debit cards to pay for craft IPAs, a liquid similar to beer.

Hank sang this song in 1951 when $2 would buy something. At a quart in the south, you could buy enough gas to get you over several hills.

People didn’t worry about fuel economy in the 1950s, but I remember my stepdad once pulling his pants up when he was bragging to my Uncle Arthur that his ’55 Chevy had “20 mpg”.

The family’s next car — like most, we only had one — was a 1957 Chevy Bel Air wagon, two-tone, black-on-white with a red interior that got hot in the summer.

We made long drives between them, which then took at least four hours on two-lane roads to daddy’s brother’s house north of Spruce Pine, North Carolina, and further up the cri from Brushy Creek to the home of his father, Joe Clark. Pa Clark was still in the yard with a cup of coffee, if I remember correctly.

As either of the Chevys soared 226, Webb Pierce sang “There Stands the Glass” on AM radio, Hank Locklin walked in with “Please Help Me I’m Fallin” or the DJ played Kitty Wells old and enduring hit, “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels.”

I marveled at the summer air getting cooler as we climbed the mountain and small springs gushing out of the granite walls inside the curves.

Other times we followed Highway 29 from our front door through Greenville, Spartanburg and Charlotte to my Aunt Ruby Nell’s house in Kannapolis. In 55’s, my sisters and I were stuck in the back seat with the youngest in the front on Mom’s lap. I was always looking at the sites along the way, except this time my cousin Joyce gave me her copy of “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.” I climbed over the seat in the back of the station wagon with the few clothes we had taken and read about Tom, Huckleberry Finn, Becky Thatcher and Injun Joe by the sunlight glinting through the trees on the sides of the highway. That car is long gone, but some of my shelves are still sagging with Mark Twain books.

I don’t remember Dad ever worrying about the price of gas on those trips or the price of food. We’d usually stop at a truck stop or a coffee shop, and he’d come out with a white bag with grease dipped in hot dogs and burgers with chili and onions – Caroline style, some call it now – for everyone probably bought with the equivalent of a few $2 bills. We ate in the car and then drove back.

We complain about prices, but wages have increased considerably. In the 1950s, anyone making $100 a week was doing well. That’s a third of what you make at minimum wage today, but $300 doesn’t get you much.

Jeopardy’s very first contestant on March 30, 1964, won $345 and spent it to see Broadway shows. A recent champion, Matt Amodio has 38 straight wins worth $1,518,601. He could buy a lot of gasoline with that.

Back when I had my own car in 1967, gas was about $0.29 a gallon, and the price of personals also went up after McDonald’s raised the price of its hamburgers from 15 cents to 18 cents. Most girls didn’t eat burgers anyway. They wanted an order of fries and a chocolate milkshake – actually a cup of soft serve ice cream – to dip them in, which I never understood. I checked a few sites on McDonald’s menu prices and found that a small shake is $2.19 and a small order of fries is $1.39, for a pre-tax total of 3, $58.

Sorry, Hank, but you’re gonna need more than a $2 bill.