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September 2011


All content © 2007-2011 Jama Rattigan. Please do not reproduce in any form without permission. All rights reserved.


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poetry friday

friday feast: your order, please?


I've loved the idea of drive-in restaurants with car hops ever since childhood.

The ones we had in Hawai'i weren't very close to home, so the few times I actually got to sit in a car and watch the car hop attach the silver tray with our burgers and fries to the driver's side window were wildly exciting.     

These days, shouting your order at a little speaker box and then driving to a window to collect your food just isn't the same. Where are the cool roller skates? The feeling of being in a 50's time warp? The high suspense of watching the car hop balance the food on the tray?  

          KC Waffle Dogs by charlieboy808.

I think my quintessential car hop experience was at KC Drive-In, the very first car hop restaurant in Hawai'i, whose specialty was waffle dogs. Hot dogs were encased in a sweet batter and cooked in a press. Ah, that crispy dough around the edges, and the steamy hot dog in the middle! Mmmmmmmm. Sadly, KC closed back in 2005.

I shall have to drown my sorrows in this tasty poem by Barbara Crooker, a poet I've just recently "discovered" and whom I absolutely love. A wonderful evocation of vintage cars, neon signs, endless summers and adolescence.


by Barbara Crooker

First job. In tight black shorts
and a white bowling shirt, red lipstick
and bouncing pony tail, I present
each overflowing tray as if it were a banquet.
I'm sixteen and college-bound,
this job's temporary as the summer sun,
but right now, it's the boundaries of my life.
After the first few nights of mixed orders
and missing cars, the work goes easily.
I take out the silver trays and hook them to the windows,
inhale the mingled smells of seared meat patties,
salty ketchup, rich sweet malteds.
The lure of grease drifts through the thick night air.
And it's always summer at Patty's Charcoal Drive-in—
carloads of blonde-and-tan girls
pull up next to red convertibles,
boys in black tee shirts and slick hair.
Everyone knows what they want.

(Rest is


Okay, I've got my roller skates on and I'm coming out to you. What'll it be?


Today's Roundup is being hosted by Kate at Book Aunt. When you see her, give her this chocolate shake:

Kari Carbon/flickr

Have fun cruisin' this weekend!

*This post served up with a side of nostalgia.

Copyright © 2010 Jama Rattigan of jama rattigan's alphabet soup. All rights reserved.


I can't promise it's nationwide. But a Sonic Burger opened up in the town I live in, in Washington. The order is given through a box, as I recall, but it's delivered by... You guessed it!... servers on skates. Perhaps there's one near you for a touch of the past.
How exciting! I'll look into it! Thanks :).
Oh, Jama, I love Barbara Crooker, too! This one's great, thanks. Do you know her poem, "Poem on a Line by Anne Sexton"? Great one.

And, alas, the Sonic in our town doesn't do roller skates. :(
Yes, I've seen that poem. Lovely. I'm just wondering why it took me so long to find her. :) Extra fries for you, since you're a fellow Barbara Crooker fan!


tanita says:

Oh, man, suddenly I am dyin' for In-and-Out french fries... haven't had those for YEARS, and just seeing pictures of fries made me crave them.

I love that this poem has such contrasts - the here and now, the hot grease smell, the cold wind, and ...Doris Lessing. Definitely a grim note!

Re: tanita says:

It's usually about the fries for me when it comes to drive-ins -- the only food where I am reluctant to share. . .

Have heard a lot about In-N-Out Burgers -- none in our area (or on the East Coast)?
Remember A&W drive-ins? They had the best root beer.
Mmmmm. Yes! Now I'm craving another root beer float.
I suppose these places are mostly left in poetry now. Here's my favorite haunt from where I grew up. It still exists!!!
Cool! It's good to know car hop drive-ins are not totally gone. Their burgers sound delish :9.
I've eaten at at least 5 different places with car-side service, some of which involved servers on skates (and some of which involved servers in sneakers). (There are still at least two of them open and in business near me.) What a fun post!
Lucky you! I'm going to have to do more investigating in our area. There *must* be someplace with car-side service around here somewhere.
Look for a Stewart's or an A&W. Or a Sonic.
Thanks, Kelly!