If my memory serves me correctly, John M. Lipton owned a filling station on South Main Street just to the North and right next to Frazer's Funeral Home. On the other side of the filling station was a service station owned by the Williams Brothers. Williams Lion Station it was called I believe. For purposes of debate, the difference between a "filling station" and a "service station" was clear cut. Filling stations were just that. They sold Gas and a few incidentals and nothing more whereas service stations provided fuel and maintenance and often ran the gamut in all things mechanical pertaining to an automobile.
One of the attendants who usually worked evenings at the filling station was Mr. O. V. Guest. The year was 1980 and I was 16. " Mr. O. V." had to have been approaching his eighth decade. Mr. Guest had worked in the trucking business as a young man and was not one to mince words. He manned his post with authority and the binoculars he kept at the ready laid to rest any debate about the charges one incurred while filling up. Bear in mind during this era of life in Warren, few things were digital. Real time meant watching the slow numbers turn in the old Gas pumps detailing the the quantity and amount tendered.
I will never forget a wisdom pearl that Mr. Guest bequeathed to me on a second-hand basis as the patron in line before me haggled with him over a small amount of money. The sage attendant quelled any objections to the sum due with one simple sentence: " Son: There is no such thing as a half-penny. " Since that time, I still hear Mr. Guest's firm but truthful words anytime I am faced with a situation regarding honor, effort or integrity. Truly, there is no such thing as a "half-penny". You are either in life wholeheartedly or you are not in it at all. You either give your best effort refusing to give up or you fail. You either do what needs to be done whether it requires pain, sacrifice or suffering or you do not complete the task at hand. There is no such thing as a half-penny.
But if not,*
Andrew Goodwin Gibbs
* Since this is the first post, I will explain the closing "But if not". It is my life mantra and is apt as a closing to any letter or entry in this writer's humble opinion.---- In early 1940 the British and their allies sent a force of some 350,000 men into the low countries of Europe to stem the tide of German advance into France, Belgium and Holland. Caught in a brilliant pincer movement by the invading German forces the beleaguered British Expeditionary Force was pushed back to the beaches of the small Belgian town of Dunkirk. To everyone’s surprise the Germans halted their advance to regroup. As England and the world waited for what appeared to be the sure and certain annihilation of 350,000 men a three word message was transmitted from the besieged army at Dunkirk. It read simply, "And if not." The British people understood the biblical import of the cryptic message. It was a reference to the Old Testament book of Daniel, where Daniel and his friends chose death rather than worship an image of the pagan king, "If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up" (Daniel 3:17-18). The British Expeditionary Army, surrounded, cutoff and on the brink of destruction was declaring to Britain and to the world that even in apparent defeat they were, in fact, victorious. The message, more eloquent than a sermon delivered in St. Paul’s Cathedral, galvanized the British people. In a matter of hours thousands of boats of every description headed across the dangerous waters of the English Channel and, at the risk of their own lives from enemy fire, began the evacuation of the heroic but beleaguered army in what historians now refer to as "the miracle of Dunkirk."