Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Note: This week, your memoir prompt assignment is to think of a sound or a smell the reminds you of something from your past and write a post about that memory.

Daydreams can often involve reliving old memories. We take them out of the box in our minds where we hide our treasures and hold them up to the light to see if those memories still sparkle. Some of those treasures seem to hold more sparkle than others, of course, and those are the ones we enjoy the most.

I was in high school, and like many high school students, I had a job. I worked at a Roy Rogers restaurant. I remember that I had to wear a godawful straw cowboy hat and cheerfully say "Howdy!" to everyone entering the restaurant. Those two things gravely insulted the native Texan within me. Texans did not wear cowboy hats indoors pre-Urban Cowboy, and we did not say "Howdy!". And Roy Rogers was born in Cincinnati, which is so very much NOT Texas. I was a bit of a snob about Texas when I was in high school.

They gave me a job as a cashier, which was a mistake of epic proportions on the part of Management, given my people skills. How Management could expect ANYONE to smile and be cheerful when they were wearing a horrid hat and smelled like french fries was beyond my tiny teenager brain.

I don't remember if the restaurant was full or empty. I don't remember what time it was. I think it was a Saturday afternoon, but it's a known fact that french fry fumes have an anesthetic effect on one's memory, so who knows? What I do know is that I was looking next to my cash register and trying to identify some sort of ketchupy-mustardy-mayo sort of stain that had fallen on the counter. There was the sizzling sound that the french fries make as they were placed into the hot oil to cook, and there was the ever present smell of french fries. Then I noticed that a customer was standing on the other side of the counter.

I looked up, smiling, ready to say, "Howdy!", and paused. I looked right into those eyes, and was transfixed. Someone could have struck me right in the middle of my forehead with a hammer, and I probably would not have noticed.

He was beautiful. Tall, dark hair, a strong jaw, a defiant nose, and bright blue eyes, smiling back at me. At that moment, a song by America started playing in my head:

"You can do magic,
You can have anything that you desire..."

I forgot to breathe. I think I may have drooled a little. I was struck speechless, and I didn't care. I didn't care what I looked like with that ridiculous hat on my head. I didn't care that I smelled like french fries. As far as I was concerned, THAT Boy was the Only Boy in the entire universe at that moment.

"You know darn well when you cast your spell you will get your way..."

The Boy gazed back at me, and I think he was just as enthralled as I was. His expression became bemused, but he did not take his eyes off of mine.

Ours was a sudden and intense intimacy. We just stood there, in the middle of Roy Rogers, not saying a word, just looking at each other. It was as if we had known each other at some other point in the past. Entire lifetimes together, impossibly brief, flickered fast between our eyes.

"So this is love at first sight," was my only coherent thought, the chorus from "You Can Do Magic" repeating in the back of my mind.

"Hey! Are you going to take his order or not?" One of the other cashiers put her hand on my shoulder, breaking the spell. I broke eye contact and remembered to breathe. I inhaled the fumes of french fries, and coughed. When I looked up once more, The Boy was shaking his head as if he had been asleep on his feet. I took his order, his money, and then placed the items he wanted on a tray. I gave him an extra fries, because I could give him nothing else at the time, and somehow I knew that this was it.

I never saw That Boy again, but every time I hear that song, I think of him. Every now and then the smell of just cooked french fries will bring him to mind as well. I used to wonder if seeing him again would have the same electric effect on us both, but with time I've decided that it wouldn't matter.

We had a moment, and that was all we needed.


  1. Ahhh, brings me back to my McDonald's days. I can't believe that I never got sick of the food even though that is definitely the myth. Loved that song - actually still do..

  2. Beautiful. I had to laugh--I grew up in Cincinnati and we went to Roy Rogers. I never got the hat or howdy and I never did think that's what was worn in Texas. Texan's are a better breed than that. ;)

    I never did get that weird tie that I had to wear at Bob Evan's either....

  3. Brings back memories of my high school restaurant days.

  4. Haha, I like the way you described the encounter, and you're right--sometimes one moment is all we need.

  5. Daydreaming is great. It's how I come up with many of my stories.

    Funny, I was just talking to my husband last night about memory. I was talking about a smell. I'm not sure if I actually smell it or if it's a memory.

  6. I liked this. It's a cute story, and you did a beautiful job telling it.

    My favorite part is when you guys are staring at each other. It seems like it goes on for an eterni, but of course it's just a second.

    Glad you ditched the hat.

  7. The body of this contains a great, well written story. Very vivid. But I loved the ending. So succinct, it says so much. But....the opening paragraph absolutely spoke to me. I read it three times. It is poetry.
    So, I guess you would say I thought this was wonderful from beginning to end!

  8. Loved this..and of course now I want french fries and big blue eyes. Lol. I could have been standing right there , the song on an endless loop for how well u described it. This was sooooo good!!!

  9. Nice blog. I had to laugh when you said in your bio that you may have lost your mind and was pretending otherwise. LOL

    (popping in from the a-z challenge.)

  10. *Such* a romantic moment in time! You brought me right into Roy Rogers with you. I loved the relaxed, casual tone. it made me feel like we were just chatting over wine. or chicken. :)

    I adored this part: "Ours was a sudden and intense intimacy. We just stood there, in the middle of Roy Rogers, not saying a word, just looking at each other. It was as if we had known each other at some other point in the past. Entire lifetimes together, impossibly brief, flickered fast between our eyes." for the romance, poetry, and intensity.


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