My older sister Nikki could go to the movies on Saturdays only if she took me along—not an easy decision on her part. She wanted to see her friends, but…was it worth the trouble. I loved the Western serials, each episode ending with the hero in trouble, his cowgirl tied to the railroad tracks, or Timmy in a well.
This is my take on a Saturday serial. Feel free to chime in with an adventure thread as we go along.
The Eagles, “Take it Easy”
Long ago in a truck stop far away, a tired waitress, wearing “Hi, My name is Betty!” on her blouse, slowly pushed an oily, grey rag along the chipped formica counter. The interstate haulers, wired teenagers and insomniac suburbanites had come and gone, so she could finally close up. She put a few quarters in the jukebox, turned up the Eagles, piled the dishes into a grey bus tub, and left it in the back for Frankie, the dishwasher. She switched off the coffee machine, threw out the last of yesterday’s doughnuts, and emptied the rusted tin ashtrays. She hung up her apron, slipped off her white SAS tie shoes, stepped into her fuzzy mules, pulled the door closed behind her, and looked back for a final check. The neon sign hanging behind the counter blinked, “Open.” “Oh well,” she thought.
She walked around the back of the cafe, turned off the porch light, and let herself into her dark bedroom. Big Daddy, the fat grey Persian, wound around her legs, purring with anticipation as the counter-top can opener unsealed his Chicken Morsels. She unwrapped a tuna sandwich mistake, turned on Wheel of Fortune, opened a Tab, and settled back in the couch.
Big Daddy woke her up at 3:00, marching rhythmically on her chest, insisting that she wake up and go to bed. He was nowhere to be seen when she lurched awake at 7:00, already late for her shift. She put on clean underwear, slipped yesterday’s uniform over her head, and straightened her name tag. Frankie had the lights on and the grill hot by the time she opened the back kitchen door. She spooned five scoops of Folgers into the basket, filled up the water reservoir, and stood, cup ready, as the dark brown liquid dribbled out of the spout.
A tall, sandy-haired stranger with a new haircut and handsome, ostrich cowboy boots, eased onto the first chrome stool at the counter. “Morning, Betty. (He saw by her outfit that her name was Betty). I’ll have a Chicken Malibu, a large bag of Cheetos and a Tab.”
The stranger chatted as he ate his breakfast, telling her stories of his cowboy ways, left a generous tip on the long chipped counter, then slid off of the first chrome stool.
“Remember, Betty,” he said as he turned to go, “No one is useless. They can always be used as a bad example.”
- 2# ground beef
- 1# ground pork
- 1# ground turkey or veal
- 1 c. diced onion
- 1⁄2 c. diced celery
- 1⁄2 c. diced carrot
- 1⁄2 c. diced red pepper
- 1 T. minced garlic
- 1⁄2 t. cayenne
- 1⁄2 t. cumin
- 1 t. thyme
- 1⁄2 t. basil
- 1⁄4 t. nutmeg
- 1 t. salt
- 1⁄2 c. 1⁄2 & 1⁄2
- 1⁄2 c. dry bread crumbs
- 2 eggs
- 1⁄4 c. ketchup
- 1⁄4 c. barbecue sauce
- 2 T. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 T. Dijon
- 3 shakes Tabasco
Sauté onions, celery, carrot, pepper, and garlic in hot oil until onions are soft. Add spices and herbs— sauté. Let cool.
Mix half and half, ketchup, barbecue sauce, egg, bread crumbs.
Combine ground meats—add liquids and cooled vegetable/spice mix. Mix lightly but thoroughly. Test small piece for seasonings.
Pat into loaf pans, packing slightly to avoid empty spaces. Spread thin layer of ketchup on unbaked loafs.
Bake for 1 hour at 350° or until internal temperature reaches 180°.