From Jr. High to Curmudgeon

We all would listen to people say, “Well, back in my day…blah, blah, blah…” and kind of smile, or at least empathize when they referred to something that wasn’t the same or unavailable anymore. I am there, and it went by at warp speed. I think of all the things that have been adrift in my orbit and some things come to mind which shouldn’t – you’ll likely think of as silly or stupid, but I will ramble about them anyway.

We all have habits and favorites, and when they are gone, it’s a personal blow to the stability of self-satisfaction.

First, the lack of men’s clothing store choices. We had the Squire Shop, Mr. Buck’s, Emmer Brothers, the Canterbury Shop, Cutchalls, Parks, Napoleon Nash, and of course Harold’s. If you were a keen shopper, the Bargain Outlet at N. May & Grand Blvd. was a hidden gem. Now you have a couple of hipster places, Dillard’s, and the Men’s Wearhouse (I guarantee it! that you won’t like the selection).

I know it’s a little thing, but you can’t buy Brooks ketchup in Oklahoma. It’s got a tangy, sharp taste similar to the ketchup at Whataburger, only better. They got squeezed off the shelf by store brands and a conspiracy by Del Monte and Heinz (that info came from a guy who’s brother’s neighbor’s girlfriend works at a grocery wholesaler).

Next, I miss Kip’s. It’s a total surprise to Debi Scott, but I miss the burger combo with the secret sauce (rumor has it that it was Thousand Island dressing – LOL!) and strawberry pie. I also miss the Split-T on Western. Some naive people without the distinctive taste palate that I have would say, “Just go to Johnnies,” but no, people… there is a difference. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

My latest fit of madness comes about because Braum’s got rid of Black Walnut and Chocolate Almond ice cream by the cone for their new hip-hop-and-dippy flavors like Sea Salt Cashew Swirly Animal Cookie Latte Delight. So in retaliation, I went to Dairy Queen for my usual Hawaiian Blizzard, only to find out they canceled it, took it off the menu, POOF! – it’s gone.

Well, good news – after calling to complain using numerous voices and threatening to get Scott Hines involved, Braum’s has returned Black Walnut and Chocolate Almond to the dipping cone cooler.

Last is people not updating on the internet. I rented a van from National Car Rental. They showed on my reservation to pick it up at Will Rogers terminal building – but oh, no – they were really in the new Car Rental Hub out BY the airport. So we played “Drive-Around-the-Rosie”, but since we are near the airport, I hope the moron that designs those skimpy seats on the airplane balloons up to 450 lbs. and has to fly somewhere once a week. They at least oughta have airline seat shoehorns to help squeeze you in. Oh, wait – then they would create an upcharge for it.

Remember – where there’s a will, there’s a probate!

June 28, 2017 at 8:05 pm Leave a comment

8 Ball in the Side Pocket

An iconic Southsider of folklore, Chester Truelove, passed away recently. You may not know this, but long before Remington Park, the OK lottery, or Indian casinos, there were people in Oklahoma that liked to gamble (wink). Chester was a ringmaster to this group of cooters, rascals, and rounders by not only providing a few pool halls for a friendly game of nine-ball, eight-ball, or snooker (maybe for a little nest egg), dominos, or spades.

This was long before ESPN or cable brought pool and billiards into your living room to catch these nationally known pool players criss-crossing the nation in places like Chester’s to play and practice – the likes of Pittsburg Mike, The Mighty Chang, Louisville Louie, and OKC’s own Norman Hitchcock (who seemed like a mild-mannered guy at the plumbing wholesale counter, but was really an assassin with a cue stick).

These games for (I can’t acknowledge or deny) high stakes brought a lot of onlookers and side wagering. The crowd of characters reminded me of the bar scene in “Star Wars.” If there was ANY action in OKC like pool, card games, or other such activities, then Chester was the man with the scoop.

He also cooked some mean meals – basic breakfasts and a great burger. No fries – he wasn’t gonna mess with a deep fryer. Don’t ask him twice, or you might get bounced like the “Soup Nazi”, but a great burger it was. He wanted you to think of him as tough, but he really had a heart of gold. A million stories are flying around about this herder of cats, and his cast of characters are what legends are made of and remembered.

May 26, 2017 at 9:42 pm Leave a comment

OK, He Said It – “Fish or Eat Bait…”

Having been thrown in the circumstance of the helpless wait one day, it gave me a chance to reflect on one of my favorite subjects – food (mostly eating out kind of food). I’m a child of the 1950s and ’60s from a blue collar family with “Depression era roots” (in which a huge bunch of uncles and aunts had to scramble among themselves to grab their share of the vittles).

My dad was a meat & potatoes guy, and my mom was only a little more adventurous. She would sneak us to El Charrito for an Explorer or Defeat (much more glamorous than asking if you wanted a #1 or #2). My dad was not on board for the delicacies his younger brother, my Uncle J.B., explored.

My uncle gave me my first taste of pizza – I’m talking Sussy’s pizza with gooey cheese, pepperoni, sausage, and mushrooms. Not that slick piece of cardboard frozen pizza like at the drive-in movie, but REAL PIZZA.

He also went to the Chinese restaurant, and wow! that was some mighty tasty grub. I went anyway, in spite of the chance they might spike my food and hook me on opium. I would then be an outcast, living in an opium den down on Skid Row, where even the winos would look down on me.

My luck really changed for the better when my mom’s brother remarried a gal from Louisiana. We visited, and her mom could cook Cajun like nobody’s business. Who cares what we were eating – this stuff was great! Gumbo, etouffee, jambalaya, spicy cornbread, and hush puppies. The only question was, “When are we coming back?”

This pre-dates my first job as a teen, but after I started making money, I wanted to go spend it out exploring different places around OKC to eat, and the foods, flavors, and choices that existed. Even to this day, that is my quest, and traveling only fuels this flame, like rum on a Bananas Foster.

My challenge to you is to go find things to eat that you don’t like or won’t eat again – because if you do that with vigor and an adventurous spirit, you will find a whole heck of a lot that you DO like and are glad you tried it.

Remember, there’s a cupcake under all that frosting!!!

March 19, 2017 at 9:24 pm 1 comment

What If a March Turned Into a Parade?

My word, Mildred – people are forming a march on something every five minutes anymore! Cable news and social media are all cranking out, shouting out, tweeting, and blah-blah-blah for every nutball that thinks they have a cause. People just show up to picket, prance around, talk out loud (instead of just going out and doing karaoke) about onion breath opinions or repeat stuff that some guy nicknamed “AstroBoy” thought up in his room in a converted attic at Uncle Fred’s house.

I’ll admit that over the years, protests over civil rights (not a police event where you don’t know all the facts), water problems, or historic buildings being destroyed, have a worthwhile purpose. BUT… just showing up for every lame “cliché” rallying point means that you are getting a little exercise, but no points are made with anyone.

Now, if a bunch of people show up at the same place and same time, but with a mish-mosh of different causes, then it technically just turns into a parade. A pretty lame parade, too, with nobody riding horses wearing cowboy outfits, no old guys in classic cars in Shriner hats, no local beauty queens, no political candidate floats – and, last but not least, no little cars with clowns.

Ya gotta have the clowns to be worth your salt…..

March 1, 2017 at 11:53 pm Leave a comment

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