For me, especially when I was a baby Marine, Sunday nights were the worst. Now they're not so bad, most times. Still, seems like the world empties itself of people on Sunday nights, and that feeling goes back a long way. Tonight's one of those nights.
Paul, lost in thought. Artwork by Londjet
Late evening thoughts:
As a kid living on Irwin Ave, just about anytime I wanted I could phone my best friend, who lived two houses up the street. During those slow times when we weren't being hassled by grownups, we'd invariably start off our conversations like this:
ME: Wha'cha doing?
ME: Wanna do something?
HIM: I dunno, what you wanna do?
ME: Dunno. What you wanna do?
HIM: Oh, I dunno....
I grew up assuming the day would come when I'd use some of that great kid dialog. Then I'm sitting in front of a TV watching Stephen King's movie "Stand by Me," and I hear the young protagonists saying MY lines. King had pilfered my words. How'd he do that, I wondered.
On reflection, there are things most American kids of my generation had in common, including code words and phrases. As much as King writes, odds were good he'd get around to that particular snatchlett of conversation. Besides, not much I've ever done has been original, sad to say.
Getting back to Spartanburg:
Several blocks away over on South Church was the Hubba-Hubba, where a guy could order a burger and scarf it there on the premises. That was back in the days before Hardees and those other fast-food emporiums.
The Hubba-Hubba served the world-standard hamburger against which can be judged all others. Meat patty on a Clausen's hamburger bun, pickle slice, tomato and lettuce. You wanted condiments, you had a choice of ketchup and mustard. For pennies extra, you could order the Hamburger Deluxe, which was the basic burger with french fries. Naturally, you'd have to have something to wash it all down with, that being a king-size Coke-in-a-bottle-with-a-straw. All of that, food, drink and tax, went for a mere 57 cents.
My friends and I would almost always order the same thing, the same way, every time. We had our honor and a set of standards. That simple.
That was the setup, now I'm recording this authentic kid snatchlett for the ages, and you can say you read it here first:
WAITRESS: You gonna order?
WAITRESS: Keep me guessing, I got all day.
ME: I wanna Hamburger Deluxe with fries-on-the-side and a king-size Coke-in-a-bottle-with-a-straw.
Giving your order at the Hubba-Hubba required a precise, sing-song delivery. Anything less and people might think you were from Gaffney.
Paul did this one, too.