24 May, 2012

{this memory} 52

This is the story behind last Monday's {this moment}.

You're in Virginia Beach. To be precise, the mug refers to Frontier City - a short-lived western theme park from 1961-63. I pretty much lived there in my very early teens.

My mother was the manager of the Longhorn Saloon, the park's restaurant. The first summer I just kind of hung out. I rode all the rides until I was sick of them. I rode horses before and after the park was open, but I also watched and learned.

The owner noticed that I seemed to know how to do everything in the park and hired me to work relief when folks went for lunch or took a break - at least for those jobs that didn't absolutely require an adult. I was only 13, almost 14.

I even figured out how to get the old antique printing press working. I then set type for it and inked it up. What a ball! I had full access to front of house and behind the scenes for two wonderful summers and did it while dressed the part.

I even invented the double cheeseburger. Since I had access to the restaurant's grill, I would make myself lunch and came up with this two patty cheeseburger with all the fixings. Others began to ask me to make them one too. I suppose other companies were also beginning to do it, but I didn't know that. This predates the fast food burgers we have today, by the way. There were only abut 100 McDonalds in the country at the time.

So many wonderful memories - I am a fortunate man.