On our recent road trip to Florida, we visited with friends who are snowbirds in Orange Beach, Ala. We took a short road trip with Jim and Rita to Montgomery, the capitol of Alabama.
While walking in downtown Montgomery, we came upon a famous hotdog restaurant that has been serving hot dogs since 1917 by the same family. Reading the history of the business that was posted outside, many famous people have eaten there through the years including Elvis Presley, Hank Williams, Clark Gable, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Jimmy Stewart and several U.S. presidents – Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, George H. Busch and George W. Bush. So, we decided to eat at the historic business. I do like a good hotdog!
Walking into the century old building, a long narrow kitchen greeted us where an employee was putting hotdogs together at a very fast pace and then dumping the secret family recipe of chili sauce over the sandwich. We sat in booths with a high backs and seats that needed new springs. The entire restaurant needed updating, but I don’t think the owner and staff cared as long as the booths were filled with patrons. Eleanor was the waitress who had worked at the restaurant for 40 years and remembered everything we ordered without writing it down.
Jim and Rita were sitting across from us in the booth. They were talking about someone sitting behind us. When I asked who it was, Rita said that actor, Woody Harrelson, and he had a little girl with him. I wanted to turn around right away, but the back of the booth was so high, it obstructed my view.
I was excited! It isn’t too often that you see a movie star! Woody is a good actor, and I love his baby blue eyes! I didn’t dare turn around and ask if I could have a photo taken of us together like some giddy teenager. The actor probably wanted his privacy. So, I asked Jim to raise his camera over his head and take a picture of Ron and I with Woody behind us. He tried but it was not successful.
I was not impressed with the hot dog – the bun was small and mushy, the wiener was small and the fries were greasy. According to Rita, the chili sauce looked like peanut butter. I kept glancing over my shoulder to see if Woody and the little girl were still there. But suddenly they were gone, and I didn’t see them leave! Two men in business suits sat in that booth, and a young man with a camera and tripod was with them to take pictures of them while they conversed over their meal. I told the young man with the camera that he should have been there 10 minutes earlier and he could have taken a photo of the actor with us.
For the next couple days, I kept thinking about having my photo taken with the actor. I should have just gotten brave and asked for a photo. What if I was obnoxious!? He didn’t know me, and I would never see him again.
The night before we were to leave Alabama, I told Jim that I missed a great opportunity. Jim looked at me strangely and asked, “Do you really think it was Woody Harrelson?”
“You mean it wasn’t him?” I asked. “No,” Jim replied with tears of laughter filling his eyes. I joined in the laughter and as usual, couldn’t stop laughing. Rita, who was in the bedroom and heard our laughter, came out and said, “Happy early April Fool!” I had been had again! I am the most gullible person, as many of my family and friends know.
Also known as All Fools’ Day, it has been celebrated for many centuries. Some historians say that the foolish day dates back to 1582 when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar that moved New Years Day to January 1 rather than the end of March. However, many people at that time did not get the news of the calendar being switched and were subject to many pranks of foolishness.
In the late 1960s, I was working as a secretary at Dayton’s in downtown Minneapolis. When I came back from lunch, there was a message on my desk to call Miss Lyon. I returned the call only to be told by the man at the end of the line, “This is the Como Zoo. Someone has played an April Fool’s joke on you.” My peers, who were peeking around the corner, roared with laughter, as did I.
And then there was another time when . . .