Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Brian Wilson presents 'Smile'

Last night’s show was a good ‘un. I was fortunate enough to have WFMY News 2 meteorologist, Rachel Peterson, in the same room with me.

Her personality matches her attractiveness. She’s incredibly cool and personable and she didn't treat me like John Merrick. Feel free to check out her bio…

Today, I’ve been hit with a real craving. I need to drop by Sonic and get me a burger along with some chili-cheese tots. Since Hardee’s introduced the Thickburger, I haven’t even thought of any other place until now.

Sonic’s burgers take me back in time.

My Grandmother Clarkson ran a restaurant in Gap Mills, West Virginia. Those were good times.

There was a long counter with stools coming up from the floor. Maybe it’s my memory, but I don’t remember any booths.

Behind the counter, there were shelves for those impulse buyer types filled with everything from Lance candies to pocket combs. It was really quite ingenious. Folks sitting at the counter, eating a good hamburger, and the only thing they can look at are shelves filled with things that they need, but are often forgotten. If you're gonna nickel and dime a customer, give 'em something they can use.

My cousin Dan and I were constantly abusing our privileges. We played in the restaurant because there was a long space of floor to go with the counter. That was the perfect place for us to roll our Tonkas from each end only to crash them together in the middle. It was beautiful! We had a bit of a destructive streak in us.

I’ll say this for Tonka, those jokers could stand a beating. We never did tear one of them up.

One of our favorites were these demolition cars where you pull a zip cord through them, sit them down, and they would take off to meet each other in a horrible crash. Hoods, doors, and trunks went flying off in different directions. Then you clean up the mess, pop in the missing parts, and start all over again.

Here’s one on eBay….

I’ve actually entertained the idea of purchasing one for my nephew until I saw what they were going for on eBay. It’ll be our little secret.

Grandmother Clarkson, or what we called her at the time, Maw-Maw, also had a jukebox and a pinball machine. Dan and I weren’t allowed to play with the jukebox because we favored goofy songs that no one wanted to hear. It was mainly those songs by Jim Stafford and Ray Stevens. We weren’t allowed to play pinball that much either since we rocked the crazy thing to death. We loved TILT’ing that joker for some reason.

What I remember most are Maw-Maw’s hamburgers. Here’s how our reunions often went… We would hug and she immediately asked me if I wanted a hamburger. I always replied with a YES!

I loved those burgers. I ate them for almost every meal. She had a big grill that she fried them up on and she went to the trouble of toasting the bun for me.

Even after she got out of the restaurant business, she always had food for anyone’s arrivals. And, she always knew that I was partial to her hamburgers.

The closest I’ve found to Maw-Maw’s hamburgers are the ones from Sonic.

I didn’t try Sonic until within the last five years or so. As soon as I tasted that burger, I was transported back to Maw-Maw’s. The first Sonic burger that I ever ate was probably the longest time that I spent eating one. I savored every bite.

Maw-Maw died last summer, but whenever I get myself a Sonic burger, it’s like a visit back in time for my taste buds.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous2:35 AM

    First of all, thanks for the advance warning, but it wasn't advanced enough. But I do appreciate the effort. Second, how is it that I've known you all these years and I didn't know about your Maw-Maw and her restaurant? My grandfather had a little restaurant in downtown GSO and I ate there at least once a week growing up (the building isn't too far from the new stadium). He cooked a mean hamburger too. I don't think I've ever tasted a burger quite like his. It seems to me his hamburger meat came from a rare breed of cattle. The years have faded my memory, but I seem to recall the stock was something called Soylent Green, or something like that. I think it meant the hamburger meat came from livestock that fed on organic food. I could be wrong though.