A Childhood Icon

I grew up in an old neighborhood in Dallas, TX. One of my fondest childhood memories was when mom would pile the family into the car and we’d all go down to Keller’s drive-in.

For those of you unfamiliar with such an establishment, this is the type of place Sonic tried to replicate but never got it right. Yes, they have car hops, and yes they leave the trays on your window, but it just isn’t the same. One should not push a button to call for service at these places. We always left our headlights on (or maybe flashed them).  The look and feel of Keller’s was always a “hole-in-the-wall” kind of place. The food was great and everyone always knew the “regulars”. If you wanted a fast food burger, you could go to Jack-In-The-Box.

But I digress.

My friends Badcat and Lyl were in the car with me. We’d had a girls night out while I was in town and were on our way back to Lyl’s when I passed Keller’s. This is how the conversation went:

Me: OMG! Y’all still have a Keller’s up here?

Badcat: Yes, we do. That one’s been there for years.

Lyl: What’s a Keller’s?

Me: Oh no. We have to fix that.

And I did a U-turn right in the middle of Northwest Highway. Impulsive buy, #5 Specials for everyone. It was sooooo good. I felt like I should have a moment alone with that burger, just the two of us. Yes, it was that good. I hadn’t had a Keller’s cheeseburger since they tore down the drive-in over on Samuell Blvd. in the early 1990’s.

Last week I had to go back up to Dallas unexpectedly, for a memorial service. My sister and I both attended. After the service, my sister wanted to go to lunch. I asked her if she’d like to go to Keller’s. My sister’s response, They still have a Keller’s??”

So off we went to Keller’s. We sat in the car talking about childhood memories, both the good and the bad. We caught up on what’s going on with our kids, and we enjoyed some really good burgers and tater-tots while we were at it.

When it was all done, we heard someone talking to the guy parked next to us say, “Thanks, Mr. Keller.” My sister and I looked at each other and had that “no way” moment. When the car hop came to check on us, my sister asked her if that was really Mr. Keller next to us. She said it was.

Well, of course, I couldn’t just leave this alone.

Me: I’m going to get out and introduce myself to him.

Seester: What??? What are you going to say?

Me: I’m not going to be rude or all “OMG You’re Mr. Keller???” He’s trying to eat. But this man owns Keller’s drive-in. It’s a huge part of my childhood memories – the good ones. I want to thank him and tell him how we enjoyed going to the place over on Samuell Blvd. Yeah. I’m getting out of the car. 

Seester:  :: facepalm ::

Mr. Keller was a sweet old man who was kind enough to tell me I wasn’t old enough to remember that place. We didn’t take up too much of his time, but my sister and I did introduce ourselves and we did tell him how fondly we remember the place from childhood.

It was a great way to end a sister lunch.

If you’re ever in Dallas, you’ve got to go to this place and have the #5 Special. You haven’t lived until you’ve tried it.

Kellers Burgers and Beer

Winter Break – and a Nice Surprise!

Fall semester is over. I made it through working a major festival and taking a full load of classes and still pulled a 4.0 GPA!

It’s been a good semester. I managed to impress not only the most difficult instructor in the graphic design department, but I also made a good impression on the department head. I was recommended for a lab aid position for the Digital Communication labs. I don’t have all the prerequisites, but they considered my technical support background, my interpersonal skills, and my GPA.

I’m in the lab all the time during my free time anyway. Now they’re going to pay me to be there?? Ok. It’s part-time and it isn’t much, but still!

They process my paperwork in January, when Spring semester begins. I’ll know my hours and all the details after that.


Really, Just Say “No”

We had the Chanukah Carnival at Temple today. I‘m on the Religious School Committee, so I volunteered to help. I ended up minding the Chanukah Store, which was better than selling cotton candy.

Alas, as a part of the store, my table also took Gelt tickets. For those unfamiliar with Chanukah traditions, Gelt is a popular item among the kids. It’s that little bag of chocolate covered coins. The kids would go through the carnival, earn coupons for various activities, and come to me to purchase Gelt, Dreidles, or a mystery item from the grab-box.

This was fine, until this one kid came up… this one little kid, who obviously never heard the word “no” in his young life. He hands over his coupon for the grab box, reaches in, and grabs his item. He looks at it and immediately tells his mother, “I don’t like it! I want a different one!” Y’know, I have other kids waiting in line. You get what you get. But before I can say anything, she lets him switch his prize. I politely ask her not to do that again, and explain that the grab box is a quick grab-and-go item, fun for everyone. It’s a “mystery”, but what you grab is what you get. I’m really nice about it and so is she. So her kid changes his prize… then he says, “I WANT TO DO IT AGAIN! I WANT ANOTHER ONE!” And he starts to reach in to get another toy in addition to the one he just grabbed. She has to drag him away mid-temper-tantrum.

Oh, it gets better…

Later, the little demon-spawn comes back without his mom. He has another coupon. There is a long line of kids ahead of him, but he circumvents the line and just goes up to the side of the box. I politely tell him, “Sweetie, of course you can draw again, but you need to get in line and wait your turn.”

He looked at me as though I’d smashed his hopes and dreams. I told him he had to wait?? He went running from the room as fast as he could, throwing a fit. Well… I wasn’t too concerned. Everyone knows everyone at our small Temple. When I got to a stopping point, I looked up at his mother and said, “Your son just tore out of here in a temper tantrum. I don’t think he wanted to wait his turn.” She got this panicked look on her face and went off after him. She brings him back and molly-coddled him through picking another item from the box.

The kid is maybe 3 or 4. I can’t wait to see how she’ll handle things when he’s a teen.

Whether you believe in corporal punishment or just handling things via “time-out”, at some point you have to establish boundaries. It’s OK to tell your child “No.” Trust me. They’re going to hear that word quite frequently in the real world once they’re an adult. If you don’t expose them to it early on, you aren’t doing them (or yourself) any favors.

The Bad Egg Who Never Heard "No"
The Bad Egg Who Never Heard “No”