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Al’s Humdinger

Once when I was eight, right after a haircut, which I thought was way too short, my Grampa decided to take me out for hot dogs.

He took me to the Humdinger.   Grampa was passionate about these hot dogs, and gave them quite a build up, I was filled with expectation.   I had recently had their burgers, and had learned a valuable life lesson: the best burgers don’t come with cheap plastic toys, but it’s a sacrifice worth making.

We ordered our hot dogs,which came wrapped in foil, and looked to me suspiciously like burgers.

Had they got our order wrong?   We ate outside at a picnic table,it was a sunny day, and the Humdinger had no real indoor seating anyway.

Grampa used a cane, but he always swaggered more than he limped,and his swagger on that sunny afternoon would have been worthy of western hero headed for a shootout out at high noon,certain he was the fastest gun.

I followed his lead, and unwrapped the foil,and there, sitting on hamburger bun, was a hot dog, or rather hot dogs.

Two hot dogs had been split down the middle and grilled dark brown on flattop grill,the bun was buttered and grilled on the flattop as well and spread with a generous portion of goop (a combo of mustard, mayo and relish)finely shredded lettuce and onion completed this abomination.

This,to my eight year old brain,was not a hot dog.  I was momentarily crestfallen,then I saw my Grampa’s wide toothless grin (he never took to wearing dentures, and could gum a steak), so I tried to not seem to disappointed.

I ate it, and it tasted ok,  but I couldn’t get over the fact that it wasn’t a hot dog.  Sometimes it takes a while for us to really appreciate how special something is.

Now every time I go back home, the first thing I do is get myself a hot dog from the Humdinger.

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Categories: Poetry
  1. May 30, 2010 at 5:16 am

    I love this story poem. I can so see your grampa and you. And, I know what those Humdinger hot dogs taste like, so… Yum! Great description, Nathan. Top Notch!

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