Thursday, July 21, 2011

Gibson's Parking Lot

When you live in a small town, there's not always a lot to do. The town where I spent some of my teen years was pretty boring so for fun, I spent many hours riding around. The town had a main street called 7th Avenue and that's where all the kids hung out. Riding around consisted of cruising 7th Avenue on a 2 mile stretch. Back and forth. Over and over and over. There was a Gibson's variety store which had a huge parking lot and the kids would park there and talk when they weren't going back and forth on 7th. This gathering spot was affectionately known as "Gibson's parking lot." I'll bet every small town has a version of Gibson's parking lot where the teenagers gather.

In the late 70s, it was a popular trend to raise the back of cars up higher than the front. Guys who had pickup trucks could really jack up the back. I always thought it looked funny to have the back end way higher than the front. It looked like the car was going to tip over! Glass packs were another fad. It had something to do with the exhaust and it made the car sound rumbly. Sometimes it was loud, too. So when cruising 7th Avenue in my glory days the tippy, rumbly cars were everywhere. If they weren't rumbling down the street, they were on display in Gibson's parking lot. And if they weren't there, they'd be driving through the Sonic store. If you've ever been to Sonic, you know that the driveway is horseshoe shaped and it's hard to go fast because as soon as you get up a little speed it's time to make a u-turn and head back out. The guys who had glass packs always revved their engines and tried to peel out a little bit before it was time to shut it down and make the treacherous turn.

It's been 30+ years since I've cruised 7th Avenue but whenever I pass through that small town, there are still kids cruising on it. And Gibson's has been gone for almost 30 years but people still call the parking lot "Gibson's parking lot."  I bet the kids that park there don't even know what a Gibson's is! Oh, and yeah, guys still try to peel out on the Sonic driveway, too.

In talking with friends the other day, I mentioned Gibson's and they piped up and said that their town had a Gibson's where the kids hung out. They came from a small town two states away but the mere mention of Gibson's brought out many funny stories from our youth. We had a good ol' time walking down memory lane. Or should I say "cruising" down memory lane. All things change with time but some pastimes will probably always remain the same. And thank gosh for that!

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