Simple Pleasures

Since I was a kid in Vinita, Oklahoma, where I was born, I have loved going out for an ice cream cone on a hot summer night.  Though that feeling has endured, the locales and the family members present have changed throughout the years.  My grandparents once took me.  Now I take my grandkids. 

The circle of life.

For the past 23 years my family has called the rural countryside just west of Jefferson City, Missouri home.  The landside is beautiful, the people are friendly, and the cost of living is 16% below the national average.

AND – it is home to the Central Dairy Ice Cream Parlor at 610 Madison in Jefferson City.  Grandparents have been taking their grandkids there since 1934.  In the 1950’s they remodeled the parlor and installed wooden booths – the same booths you would crowd into today if you were lucky enough to visit.

Three generations of my family took the short trip to Central Dairy today for a cool treat on a hot July Sunday afternoon.  People were lined out the door and along the sidewalk. 

In the rain. 

We joined them.

The line moves fast. 

A half-dozen employees behind a long counter build up their biceps by scooping dips of 50+ flavors of ice cream into cake cones, waffle cones, or cups.  With all the exotic flavors to choose from my three grandkids all chose sherbet.  The adults chose Rocky Road or (my favorite), Jamocha Almond Fudge.  Six people took their seats in the ancient (same age as me) wooden booths holding the ice cream treat of their choice for a grand total of $16. 

As we enjoyed our ice cream, we also enjoyed a double shot of people watching.  The booths in the compact parlor have big plate glass windows overlooking the sidewalk on one side and a perpetual line of ice cream connoisseurs perusing the heavenly display of ice cream tubs a few feet away on the other.

The view outside through the rain-splashed plate glass
The view inside as patrons make their selections

My nominee for “Father of the Year” and his smiling son paused as they passed by.  They each sported red dye on one side of their face and hair and green dye on the other.  “The wife is out of town, and it washes out” said the dad with a smile as we made eye contact. 

“It is supposed to wash right out.  I hope it does anyway. I have to go to work tomorrow.”

The summer shower had stopped when we walked back outside.  The sun was making another appearance.  It was a nostalgic visit to an old-fashioned ice cream parlor for my wife and me.  My grandkids have grown up going to Central Dairy and take it for granted.

Someday I hope they get to take their grandkids to Central Dairy for ice cream.

And just like I did today, I hope they pause for just a moment and think back to these “good old days” when their by then “long-gone” grandparents used to take them out for ice cream on hot Sunday afternoons in July.

The Story of Central Dairy – a Jefferson City, Mo. icon

Bobby Doug – Meet Bobby Dean

Barely over a week ago I received an email from a man I had never met – Bobby Dean Rennick – inquiring about a distant relative of mine I had never met, six-time Indy 500 driver Jimmy Reece.

In 2012 I wrote a blog about Jimmy Reece and his untimely death at a race at the New Jersey State Fairgrounds on September 28, 1958.  Bobby Dean Rennick was at that race with his girlfriend, Maryanne.  The death of Jimmy Reece, whose name Bobby Dean didn’t even know at the time, had always haunted him.  After 60+ years he began to do some internet research on the long ago death of Jimmy Reece.  That led him to my blog and, subsequently, to me.

I’m glad it did.

As we began to exchange emails, I found out quite a bit about Bobby Dean.  He is 86 years old and a Korean war vet.  He resides in Gastonia, N.C.  Last summer my wife and I unknowingly visited his stomping grounds on a drive from Damascus, Va. to Myrtle Beach, N.C.  He was once near our home when he attended a family reunion in Warrensburg, Mo., 78 miles west of our home on Highway 50.  He likes to write and recently had an article published in a magazine named Southern So & So.  He once visited Renick, Mo., pop. 190, fifty-eight miles north of our home.  This past week in the Jefferson City News Tribune, I read the obituary of a man from Jefferson City who was to be buried in Gastonia, N.C., and the obituary of a man from Renick, Mo.  And Jefferson City’s former Fire Chief was named Bob Rennick.

What are the odds?

I also learned what my name would be if I’d been born a little deeper in the south.  Since my actual name is Robert Douglas, I’d probably be known as Bobby Doug.

Bobby Doug, meet Bobby Dean, a remarkably fit 86-year-old who spends an hour in the pool at the Gastonia Y four times a week.  And who is quite an internet sleuth at any age, but especially for an octogenarian.  Assisted by my genealogical genius wife, Val, Bobby Dean even tracked down Jimmy Reece’s widow and talked to her on the phone.

Bob occasionally has short articles published in the Southern So & So magazine, as in “Southern owned and Southern Operated”.  It is a magazine of people reminiscing about fond memories of long ago.  Unfortunately, in the last issue Bobby Dean’s story “Little People in a Box” was edged out by a story about “The Goat Man” for the cover article.

Southern So & So
Southern So & So magazine 

If you are interested in subscribing (like I did), send a check for $22 for 6 issues to:

Southern So & So, Richard Burns, Editor                                                                                           1739 University Ave – #177                                                                                                                   Oxford, MS. 38655

Tell them Bobby Dean sent you!

One last note.  In my last blog, I invited Maryanne, Bobby Dean’s date at the New Jersey State Fair race where Jimmy Reece died, to contact me if by some chance she read the blog.  A picture of her taken in 1958 standing in front of a 1958 Chevrolet convertible and beside a 1957 Ford convertible was in the blog.

I have some sad news.  According to her obituary, (which Bobby Dean tracked down this week) she passed away on January 22, 2016, in Newark, DE.  And I have some more news.  Her name wasn’t Maryanne.  It was Betty Anne (Kiesel) Cox.  She left behind her husband of 56 years, Robert.

Another Bobby!

R.I.P., Betty Anne.

Bobby Dean – you may have found out a bunch of stuff on Jimmy Reece on the internet, but maybe, just maybe, Betty Anne has now gotten to meet him

Betty Anne (aka Maryanne) Kiesel Cox

 

 

The Ten Million Dollar Quartet

On Friday night my wife and I ventured out in the ice & snow for our “one-day late” Valentine’s Day date.  It wasn’t my intention, but our date turned out to be a threesome:  me, my wife, Val, and Winter Storm Nadia.

Though it’s not for the faint-of-heart, this terrifying video was filmed earlier in the day on I-70 near Oak Grove, Mo. on February 15, 2019 as Nadia was on her way to our date.

Watch it if you dare and feel the stark terror and helplessness:

Though our normal 20 minute drive from our home to the Shikles Center in Jefferson City, Mo. turned into 45 minutes, we arrived safely.  As we walked from our car to the dinner theater entrance, we were joined by a large man.  It was the chef from Argyle Catering.  The food had arrived!  “The singers are here, too” he told us.  That was a relief.  With the slippery roads I had feared that the million dollar quartet might be whittled down to a trio, a duet, or even a solo by the weather.

The musical The Million Dollar Quartet is based on an actual event that took place on December 4, 1956 in Memphis, Tennessee.  Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis all showed up for an impromptu jam session at Sun Records, a recording studio owned by rock icon Sam Phillips.  That prompted an observation by Mr. Phillips that a “Million Dollar Quartet” was in the building.

That was in 1956 dollars.

Adjusted for inflation, that quartet would be worth ten million of today’s dollars.

And that’s the kind of performance the amazing cast treated the audience to after a delicious meal prepared by Argyle Catering (Fried Chicken AND BRISKET!)

The bad news is that the sold out performance was only about half-full due to the weather.  My wife and I tried our best to make enough noise to make up for those poor souls who had tickets couldn’t make it.  I feel their pain.  They are out the price of their tickets and they missed one of the best shows in the history of Capital City Productions.

And that’s saying a lot.

The good news is that I got THREE strawberry shortcake desserts, which is probably scant consolation for those who had planned to be in attendance but feared, not unjustifiably, the slippery roads.

For those who have not yet seen Million Dollar Quartet, there are six more performances Feb. 20-24, 2019.  Here is a link to order tickets (you might have to copy and paste):

https://shop.capitalcityproductions.org/t/ccps-million-dollar-quartet-the-musical?fbclid=IwAR2wPgQnrobQ2ei98DQpB5vMynUqC0sja_Mqwghfki8dWwW5m1z8f6dNZ60

After that, your next best option is Branson, when shows begin August 29 at the Lawrence Welk Theater with a different cast than here in Jefferson City, Mo.  If you like old-time rock and roll, the odds are very good you will love this high energy show.

 

5 More Days of Million Dollar Quartet Performances by Capital City Productions in Jefferson City, Mo from Feb. 20-24, 2019.  Call 573-681-9612 for or go to http://www.ccpjc.org for tickets.