The innocence of days gone by

Published 3:46 pm Tuesday, August 13, 2019

The land clearing on the Tallahassee Highway across from Home Depot got me to wondering, “What are they building?” I quickly found that a Chick Fil-A was coming to town. I’m glad. Chick Fil-A is the nation’s favorite fast food restaurant.

I know why. First of all, the chicken sandwich, their premier product, is the best around. I apologize, in advance, to all the other places who have chicken sandwiches. I’m sure yours are good, too, but as Chick Fil-A advertises, “We didn’t invent the chicken, just the chicken sandwich.” It’s a good sandwich! Anyway, it’ll give us another place to “eat out.’

There is an irony about eating out. I like to cook and I like the taste of the food I make at home. At least most of the time. But, like most Americans, Donna Sue and I find it more convenient to simply go buy food that is already prepared. It’s easier and there is no cleaning up afterwards, unless you define cleaning up as throwing away the paper wrappers!

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It wasn’t that way when I was growing up out in the “sticks.” Town seemed to be far away, but not by today’s standards. Now, we get in our cars and trucks and drive ten or more miles at the drop of a hat. Daddy and momma would never have said to us, “What do y’all want for dinner tonight. Hamburgers or pizza?”

It may have been tiresome to momma, but she would “fix” something for dinner and we either ate it or went hungry. There was no grumbling about supper.

My grandson, Cam, would find it unbelievable that his granddaddy still remembers the first time he ate a bought hamburger and it wasn’t a Big Mac!

It was cotton-picking time and we had loaded up the pickup with burlap sheets of picked cotton. The cotton gin was in Meigs and there were many trucks lined up to be unloaded. Since it looked as if it would take a while, daddy sent me and my brother up to the café to get a few hamburgers. I think he gave us a dollar bill and hamburgers were twenty cents each.

The burgers were fried on an iron grill and the buns were placed on the greasy grill. The burgers were simple. Ketchup and mustard, but smashed down to about an inch thick. Wrapped up in wax paper and placed in a small brown paper sack. We took them to the cotton gin and ate them while waiting for our cotton to be unloaded.

I think that was the first time I remember eating a meal away from home and it was sooooo good! Eating out was a real treat back then. Most of the time, it was a hamburger steak or bowl of chili.

One of the funniest stories I have ever heard was about my daddy and momma on one of their travels. We were grown and gone and they were on a trip and I think the state was Mississippi. They weren’t world travelers, if you know what I mean.

They were hungry and decided to stop at a pizza place. They had never eaten pizza; didn’t know pizza from chop suey. They decided to be adventurous.

The server asked them what kind of pizza they wanted and what size. My parents looked at each other and said, “We’re pretty hungry. We’ll take two large ones.” I wasn’t there so I didn’t see the look on the waiter’s face,

There is something very attractive and humorous about the innocence of days gone by. I’m sorry to see that innocence disappear. What are we going to laugh about in twenty years?