Without any intention on my part, I found myself in a 35 mm slide from the late 60s. Believe that it was in the unlikely venue of Sandwich, Illinois. For the sake of propriety and potential lawsuits, I’ll omit the name of the hotspot.
We sat down for a late dinner and I realized that this restaurant probably looks exactly as it did fifty years ago. There were several variations, one of which was my black bean burger. In the sixties, we were eating beef and fries with no regard for carbohydrates or cholesterol. Now it was black beans and kettle chips.
Everything else was a photo recollection. We had the black and white television. The glass case adjacent to our table was filled with small liquor bottles. We had Cointreau, Drambuie, Southern Comfort and a collection of tiny bottles of Manischewitz. Just to make certain that all bases were covered, Mogen David miniatures were on the bottom shelf.
The obligatory teenagers were playing pool. They sported butch haircuts, tee shirts, work boots and Wrangler blue jeans. And the lady sitting in the next table was wearing the predictable cutoff jeans and Grateful Dead tee shirt.
Toward the end of our evening, a lady with compromised mental acuity stopped at our table to chat and admire an Aspen shirt featuring a moose. She went on to talk about how much she loved moose and other animals, Colorado and nature in general. My guess is that if she hadn’t been gently directed toward the door, we would still be engaged in conversation with her. In Sandwich, there are no strangers, no fear of rejection and no reticence about striking up a conversation with everyone.
We were frozen in time in mid-America, a town with the population of 7,421 (as of 2010 census). Of this number, 6,745 were listed as white. In other words, middle-class America really hasn’t changed, making Schlitz beer, cornfields and beef burgers safe for upcoming generations. Somehow, it’s comforting to know that some things are immune to corruption. Shalom.