Sweet Like Candy To My Soul

There are few places in the world that can evoke a feeling akin to this phrase.  Finding that “soul candy” makes life a beautiful thing, I think.

When I was a child, Mother Daddy and I spent a lot of time in WV and KY.  That was “goin home”.  Daddy’s family was in WV, and most of mother’s was in KY.  Back then, Interstate 66 was not open yet, so Route 50 (a two lane country road at the time) was the most direct route.  It was a long trip, over 10 hours with all Mother’s bathroom stops, etc.  But there was always the question to be asked.  “Where are we going first?”  See, my paternal grandparents lived in Pt. Pleasant WV, which was farther north, where Daddy’s aunts and my mother’s sister lived in Huntington.  If the answer came back “Aunt Inez'” (huntington), those 10 hours were both bliss, and torture.  Huntington!  And Huntington meant one thing.  Frostop.

For those of you not in the Huntington area, I apologize for the following.  Those who have lived or visited, I am sure will be happy to let me wax poetic over my blessed Frostop.

Just a little nothing drive in, frostop sits at the side of road, just off the exit of Interstate 64.  Feeling the car begin to slow as we reached the exit ramp, I would sit up excitedly, tossing my book pillow and blanket aside and preparing myself, trying desperately to keep from drooling.  As we descended the ramp…..it came into view.  That beautiful brown spinning Frosty mug, the mug I had waited so long for.  Daddy would always tease that we were late, expected for dinner, something to try and drag my eyes from that beautiful spinning mug, to evoke some sort of response.  Yet, each time, without fail, the car, seemingly of it’s own volition, would turn into that tiny lot.  We would park, roll down the window, and wait.  For you see, Frostop was an ACTUAL drive-in.  Within moments a car hop would arrive, and the order would always be the same.  3 foot long slaw dogs and 3 root beers.  Soon, the car hop would return, hang the tray as if by magic onto the window, and depart.  And there it was, my perfect food.  It was a moment of true bliss that I experienced many many times as a child, and always held as “one of my greatest memories”.

When mother passed a few years ago, I went over the Memorial Day weekend to clean out her house.  I had quite a few things that I wanted to take to her niece and nephew in huntington. I had taken Trainman along with me to help get things packed, and we were traveling to Huntington from Parkersburg.  I was having a very hard time after losing mother, and the memories of my visits “home”.  My friend had never been to Huntington, and I was rattling on the entire trip about visiting Camden Park (at the sign of the happy clown) for a dime when I was a kid, the grocery store where my Aunt Helen would take her chihuahua to shop (yes, they let her) and more importantly, trying to extol the virtues of Frostop.   I was going on and on and on about how there wasn’t anywhere like it as I was driving, making a last minute change of plan to visit the railroad museum in Ritter Park.  When there, on the horizon, what should appear?

IT WAS STILL THERE!  Whipping my car around in the middle of the road I turned back.  Surely this was a mirage!  It couldn’t be!  But it was!!!!!  Oh blessed stars…Thank you!  Although expected for dinner at my cousins house, I would not, COULD NOT pass it by!

I parked and rolled down the window, as Trainman began to climb from the car.  Oh no!  says I, stay right where you are.  And then, like a knight in shining armor, came…yes, the car hop!  Before he could open his mouth to say more than hello, I had ordered 2 foot long slaw dogs and 2 root beers.  He smiled and walked away.  Trainman said “um, I really don’t want chili”.  Trust me was my reply.

Moments later, they appeared, just as I remembered.  I could do nothing but stare at them in wide eyed wonder, just as I did when I was a child.  Trainman was amazed that they were actually a foot long, but made short work of consuming it, and declaring it one of the best ever eaten.  When the check arrived, under $5.00 for such an amazing meal, I gave the guy a 10 and told him thanks for bringing back a wonderful memory.  He looked at me kinda funny, smiled, and said, “yeah, we got a lotta people who’ve been coming here their whole life.  I get it”.  No, I don’t think you do, but thanks for bringing back a bit of my childhood when I really needed it.

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