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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Random Access Memory


I passed by this place today on my way home and sank into sentimental thoughts of what it would be like to run a little hamburger stand on a deserted road. I fell into some faraway memory of summer food stands at the edge of dusty roads under unforgiving sun. Heat rising up off Highway 16 heading south into the Fraser Canyon with my family on summer car trips. We drove past these places surrounded by dry hills and tumbleweed so foreign to home, and so exotic.

Soft serve ice cream at the Tastee-Freeze in the town I grew up in. I never ate the food just bought cones for myself and occasionally my Irish Setter who ate them willingly only to throw them up minutes later. These memories are filled with floor to ceiling glass windows and stainless outdoor counters, window service and everything had a thin layer of butter fat on it. There was a parking lot next door and then the New Roi Theater, not the old one that was originally on Main Street. I never worked at the Tatstee-Freeze I just remember going there on hot summer days on my own, on my bike, with my red-haired dog.

Later when I moved to Los Angeles I met a cuban boy, Oscar at Art School and he invited me to help him work a few Saturdays at his job in Glendale at a place called Pauls Great White Hut. We sold chilli burgers and hot dogs and tuna melts. It was hotter than hell and when the lunch rush was on it made my head spin. Oscar wore a t-shirt that was considered subversive to the locals and at the end of the day he sent me home with slices of oily cheese. The hut was tiny, in the corner of a smooth black top parking lot which attracted the intense valley heat. We had to be careful not to crash into eachother inside when it got busy. Paul also owned another concession in Scholl Canyon. Years later when I was married we played baseball there with friends, I learned that the whole place was built on a landfill but it was beautiful on the surface, in that hazy palm tree swaying way that LA and dreams are.

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