Light & Shadow #28

Shade Tree Mechanic — Monett, MO 1979

In Light & Shadow #18, I wrote about attending the University of Missouri photojournalism workshop. This picture is another from the story I shot that week — of two small service stations struggling through the gas crisis of the late 1970s.

I could have documented others around Monett, but none were like Leo’s. As though caught in the past, its character appealed to me. I was surprised time hadn’t swallowed it up long before 1979. My pictures from the week may be the only proof Leo or his business existed.

Leo’s was a simple place, from simpler times. He had a couple of gas pumps where today you can choose from a dozen. A modern convenience store can fuel a junk food binge for the most arduous road trip. At Leo’s joint, a candy bar, pack of smokes, and a cold soda would have to do.

Who knows what time has in store for the spit-and-polish fuel stops of today. In Leo’s time, you’d pull up a tire and ponder the question.

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