Once we went to a family reunion far out in the country, held in a large building with white wood siding, as white as the old white limestone foundation that matched the color of the gravel covering the parking lot. There were some older relatives in there, in overhauls, with braided hair much longer than their beards. At the last reunion, they brought squirrel meat, so this time I refused to join in all the fun, and just spent my time in the car, fingerknitting and trying to improve the reception to my favorite top 40 radio station.
Who could forget the year that Taco Bell opened up a store in town? A classmate told me about it, and how she loved tacos. She described them to me, but I didn’t get the picture. In Buckminsterfullerite-fashion, I asked,
“How high are they?”
“They aren’t high, they’re just tacos,” she replied.
“Well, are they flat?”
“They aren’t flat. They’re folded over, but they aren’t high.”
We had to travel quite awhile to get to the Taco Bell, but it was worth it. Finally White Castles had some competition. I fancied myself too cool to “drive through Steak” and quit going to that other burger place when my best friend renamed it McDonny’s. We went there all the time, and lingered for hours because one of the employees looked like Donny Osmond.
I got a job in an institutional kitchen, and started rescuing all sorts of foods that were to be thrown away. Soon we had as many bags of old French toast and containers of pancake batter as we had dabs of bacon fat to re-fry them in.
I wanted to be a hippie, just like my hippie English teacher. He lived downtown in gentrified co-housing with other hippie vegetarians. Unable to move into a hippie commune at that age, I become a vegetarian instead. The early meatless years were filled wheat germ brownies made from Jim’s recipe and home-made stone-ground whole wheat bread. I learned to cook my own soups and fend for myself at breakfast.
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