09 October 2006

hot dog.

This morning, I dashed across the river to pick up some paint swatches at Sherwin-Williams. Just off Peabody Street, behind the old Episcopal church with the little red door, two hot dogs danced on a sign above a building. I have been there once or twice before, shelling out my two dollars for a plain charred hot dog with ketchup and mustard only.

It was still before noon but today felt like a hot dog day, so I pulled into the parking lot and headed into Hot Diggity Dogs for an early lunch. I know there are people out there who think hot dogs are disgusting. They're one of those mystery foods that no one (except the hot dog factory workers, and maybe a handful of pig farmers) really knows exactly what they’re made of. I, for one, am not a person who frowns upon foods of strange origin as long as they are tasty...and hot dogs (or hut dogs as my friend Lisa would say) fall inside that category.

Besides, they make me happy. Hot dogs render fond memories of football games with my dad, state fairs, and Friday nights as a kid---dipping them into ketchup while watching Hee-Haw and The Love Boat on the living room floor. Hot dogs are All-American, friendly, and comforting. They are easy to eat and you can buy them on the sidewalk. What’s not to love?

I once told Jeremy that if I am ever feeling down, all he needs to do to cheer me up is take me to Hot Diggity Dogs for a hot dog and I will be right as rain again. I realized this last December. It was cold outside and I was missing my father. Jeremy was out of town for a couple of days, and I’d stopped inside the Dog-shack one bleak afternoon. I sat on a red vinyl stool by the window, listened to “Blue Christmas,” thought about my dad, and ate my hot dog. It seemed like something he would have enjoyed doing too so I felt sad, but also happy at the same time.

Now, whenever I drive to the art supply store or the camera shop, I pass by Hot Diggity Dogs. I watch the steam coming from the chimney, and I think of my dad and feel a tiny bit better.

Today the weather was perfect, so most people were sitting outside at picnic tables enjoying their hot dogs mounded up with cheese and chili and all sorts of colorful toppings. I ordered my usual plain dog with ketchup and mustard only. I settled down on the red stool where I sat last winter and looked out the window. And then I drove back across the bridge and came home.

1 comment:

Jenni said...

I like turkey hot dogs and kosher (all-beef) hot dogs, but I'm sorry, I can't take the mystery hot dogs! Ignorance IS bliss. But you can have your mystery hot dogs and I'll have my Ethiopian "octopus" bread. Are we even?