I remember the days when “going out to eat” for us meant taking the 59 Chevy with the big fins and driving down to the local A&W drive in. It used to be situated somewhere close to where the Credit Union now sits. There wasn’t any “Longhorns” or “Red Lobster” and…we couldn’t have gone there even if there had been. Mill wages were low in those days…the late 50’s and very early 60’s. Luxuries were few. I got 50 cents a week for doing my part of the chores. I washed and dried dishes and raked leaves. I did various other “as per” tasks too. If Daddy thought of anything else that needed doing which I was capable of doing, then “per” Daddy…I’d better do it if I wanted my two quarters. I wanted them badly. Those two quarters bought me some cokes, some candy bars and three comics. Comics started out at a dime when I first started reading them. When they went up to 12 cents sometime in the sixties, I was so mad I coulda’ bit nails in two. I asked for a raise in my allowance, and much to my surprise my Dad starting giving me three quarters a week! I figure my Dad must have known about inflation and such.
Anyway, we went to the A&W once every couple of weeks. I loved those slaw dogs and a frosty mug of root beer. If I was on death row right now and they asked me what I wanted for my final meal I would tell them if they could find an old fashioned A&W, I would take two foot long slaw dogs with mustard and a large mug of root beer in a frosted mug. I would.
The little waitress (not a server back then) would come out with her brown paper pad, and ask for our order. She jotted it down, and within minutes would be toting that big old window tray with the hooks on the side back to the car with all the goodies on it. Of course we all had a mug of root beer. What in the world good would it have been to go to A&W and order a coke to drink? Their tater tots were delicious too, and I often had them to go along with the hot dog. I believe that once or twice Dad bought one of the mugs from them. I think a lot of people liked them…and probably quite a few drove off with them. The A&W people knew though…and when they came back again they’d get charged for those mugs! They finally got smart at some point in the future and started selling those little “souvenir” small mugs.
All of this from watching a football game being played in subzero weather and seeing a guy actually drinking an ice covered beverage of some kind….