Friday, January 25, 2013

Lunch Money!

By Paul Dugan, Groovy Reflections Team Member

Back when I went to school hot lunch cost twenty five cents (a pretty good sum in those days) but one just couldn’t be seen brown bagging it, or worse carrying a lunch box. So every morning Mom left a quarter on the kitchen table so I could get my nutrition for the day.

Back then we didn’t have choices, you got a spoonful of whatever glop was on the menu! Okay, in all fairness, it was nutritious (I think), and some people actually liked them and sometimes when they had things like pizza, I did too! For the most part, I did not.

This actually worked out well, since I was also at the age where I wanted spending money but was too young to get an actual job. Fortunately the school I went to also had a “snack” counter where one could purchase an ice cream sandwich for a nickel. I might add that an ice cream sandwich, in those days, was more than three bites, unlike today’s.

Five cents for an ice cream sandwich that would tide me over till I got home and had dinner. Fortunately Dad worked the 8 to 4 shift and liked to eat by 4:30pm, so it wasn’t a long wait. That left me with 20 cents a day or a whole dollar a week! I was rich! Mom would not approve so I never mentioned it, although she did marvel at my appetite at dinner every night!

One of my first purchases was made after school when  taking the long way home (there’s a song in there some where). I stopped by Al’s corner market to purchase four packs of Beatles bubble gum cards, and kept going to Al's for more until I had the entire set. This is where that karma thing comes into play, some years later while I was at college, Mom threw them all away!

One time I saved up my 20 cents a day to buy Mom and Dad bedside lamps for their anniversary. Dad’s was in the shape of a ships anchor with a thermometer in the middle, cause he was in the Navy. Mom’s was some interwoven white plastic thing that was very “in” back then and maybe would be again today. They both liked them very much, or at least led me to believe they did.

With 20 cents a day saved by the end of the week you could buy two forty five rpm records for 45 cents each and have change left over! I remember buying She Loves You (yeah yeah yeah) on Swan records and Can’t Buy Me Love on Capitol on the same day! I still have them both.

A year or so later I got a job bagging groceries for one dollar an hour, what it used to take me a week to save! From then on it was $2.99 albums! I was rich again! Oh how simple my needs were back then….sigh!

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Breakfast Anytime

By Guy Sharwood, Groovy Reflections Team Member

My wife and I frequently order take out dinners from a neighborhood diner. One of my favorite dishes to order is a Primavera Omelette (eggs with cheese, mushrooms and vegetables), hash browns and a buttered biscuit.

Usually I order once I go in and sip ice water and read the newspaper while I wait. Often I'll watch the cook at work and I've noticed a lot of patrons like to order breakfast food for dinner, most often pancakes, eggs and sausages. Normally at least one customer will order breakfast food when I'm there, always in the evenings.

This is something I didn't always see, however, I never regarded it as any kind of real eccentricity. I love breakfast food and never have understood why it should be confined to mornings. And yes, that includes cereal, either hot or cold.

In the late 1970s, I worked graveyard shift at a self-serve gas station on Highway 41. This was during the so called "energy crisis" with the odd/even rationing on the horizon and ours was the only station open 24/7. Our night shift would close later as well. I lived by myself and frequently took my meals at a coffee shop about half a mile south of the station.

One evening I decided I'd like a cheese omelette with hash browns for dinner. After ordering, I sat sipping my coffee and heard some profanity from the kitchen. Most likely the cook.

Ok, close enough, right?
A few minutes later, the waitress brought my plate out to me. I noticed one very runny, unattractive egg adorning my omelette. I shrugged, ate, tipped, paid and mounted my bicycle to get to work.

So why didn't I complain about the runny egg, at least one reader must be asking. Good question.

I had to deal with the public too. For eight hours I took cash, made change, switched the pumps off and on, sold gas, oil, and cigarettes, and did my best, like Simon and Garfunkel, to "keep the customer satisfied." Not always easy. I wasn't always at my best. Sometimes of course it was the customers.

So maybe the cook thought "What's up with this nutcase? It's dinner time and he wants BREAKFAST? Do they all do that on his planet?" So I was feeling atypically generous that night, and if that was indeed the case, I could make an allowance for it. But it didn't stop me from ordering breakfast for dinner when I ate out. And I feel vindicated that these days it's more commonplace.

And on this note, I also love cold pizza in the morning.

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