Stuck in the ‘50s not a bad work ethic

By Karl Terry, PNT Managing Editor

The sight of a neighbor cutting his grass with an old-fashion push mower the other day immediately brought back memories of another neighbor — Clay Blue

Mr. Blue lived next door to us when I was growing up and kept his lawn of Bermuda grass manicured to golf green standards with one of the old reel mowers. No pulling on a starter cord, no need for gasoline, no waking the neighbors up early Saturday morning with the roar of a Briggs and Stratton combustion engine. Just lots of leg power.

That’s not to say he didn’t maintain the mower meticulously — he kept it clean, the moving parts oiled and the blades sharp as ice skates. It seemed to be that way with everything he used in his life — he took care of whatever it was, it lasted longer, three or four times longer, than it would have for anyone else and he saw no need to replace something simply because it was a little outdated.

To look at his tool shed or the other things in his life, it was as though technology had stopped somewhere around 1958.

A pharmacist by trade, Mr. Blue owned and operated College Drug on Main Street in Portales. I’m pretty sure you could count the number of days he missed work on the fingers of one hand. He did all the pharmacy work himself.

When I was in high school you could still get the best cheeseburger in town at his drug store and I can still taste the fountain root beer they served in icy glass mugs.

He drove a late ‘50s Chevy Nomad station wagon from the late ‘50s until he retired from the drug store sometime in the 1990s. You could set your clock with the departure and arrival of that two-tone turquoise wagon.

My dad was always amazed at how well kept that car was. When we moved onto the block in the ‘70s it still had the original wide white-wall tires. Eventually it began to smoke a little bit, but it was still so quiet you