Meatballs, Mocha, And Mr. Dillon
THIS MORNING DOWN AT ST. ARBUCKS the Usual Suspects were deep in conversation. The Heavily Caffeinated Philosophers were arguing about which fast-food chain had the most stores. One said it was McDonalds, another suggested KFC. At least they weren’t discussing something trivial.
Eventually, someone pulled out their phone and Googled for an answer. Not all of the Suspects are comfortable with modern technology.
The correct answer to the Question of the Day turned out to be Subway, with 44,789 shops. McDonalds came in with roughly 36,000.
The conversation then began to focus on Subway and some truly important details of that enterprise. How many Subway shops are there in Vietnam? (Six). What is their best selling sandwich? (The BMT) How many years in Stony Lonesome did Jared the “I like ‘em young” former spokesman for Subway get? (15years and 8 months). How many meatballs do they use worldwide? (That answer has eluded us – so far. We have formed a study group that will be going on a fact finding mission to the Subway down the block later today).
That’s what things are like at St. Arbucks most mornings. The topics may vary. One day it might be Subway meatballs and another, the best place to buy gasoline – in 1968. The Usual Suspects are an eclectic bunch if nothing else. Politics, local or Presidential, rarely comes up. I refuse to participate in any political talk and more of the group is joining me in that stance for civility and lower blood pressure.
The one topic that seems to cause the most uproar and comes closest to getting us thrown out on our pensions is Old Television Shows. You wouldn’t think that a topic like that would be a flashpoint. It’s not that there is disagreement or conflict over something like, “Who was the voice of the car in the program, ‘My Mother the Car?” (FYI Ann Sothern). It is that some of the Suspects get too involved and feel the need to reenact scenes from their favorite shows.
One morning the topic du jour was “Gunsmoke,” starring James Arness as “Matt Dillon.” The characters and cast members were discussed. Did Matt and Miss Kitty ever get together and do “The Nasty-Nasty?” Was “Doc Adams” really a doctor or just a drunk who took care of Miss Kitty’s hookers?
The discussion, while lively, was not too loud until…until one Suspect gave into the urge to channel Matt’s deputy, the stiff-legged Chester Good.
“Mr. Dillon! Mr. Dillon! Get over to the Long Branch Saloon, there’s gonna be some shootin’!”
He delivered this short soliloquy at the top of his lungs while lurching about the store with one leg sticking out like part of a broken fence.
On the TV show Chester was a rather slight man – our Faux Chester was a former Big Ten University football player who stood about 6’5” and 260 lbs.
It was quite an impressive display of really bad acting.
The St. Arbucks Manager was not there, luckily, but the baristas and other customers were. The baristas applauded. The other customers just looked afraid and moved as far away from us as possible. I couldn’t blame them. Seeing that at about 8:30 AM without the full benefit of a second cup of coffee could be disconcerting to some people.
We were used to it. We still are.
I think I’ve mentioned it before. I met Ken Curtis (Chester) one time right here in Tear Hut. It was at the Holiday Inn. Can’t remember why myself and a buddy from over in Marshall, IL, happened to be in the lobby at just the right time, probably for lunch. Mr. Curtis was signing in and when he turned around, there we were within kissing distance. He was very cordial, friendly, talkative. Didn’t appear to be in a hurry to get away from a couple of fans. He was in town for the Vigo fair, performing a standup set. We told him that we didn’t recognize him at first, and he put his hand behind one ear and bent the ear forward, like he looks with his hat on as Chester, and said, “Probably because I don’t have my hat on”. We talked a bit and then he excused himself and headed for the elevator along with his people following behind. And, of course, by this time others recognized him and were tagging along with pen and paper, hoping for an autograph. He really seemed like a down to earth intelligent guy, nothing at all like Chester.
Good piece today, and as always, John. Thanks.
No, not Chester. Ken Curtis played Festus. That’s who I met. Got my “es’s” turned around.
Prior to his stint on Gunsmoke Ken Curtis was a lead on another show. He was the rugged, handsome lead on a show called, “Whirlybirds” about a couple of helicopter rescue types. It ran for a couple of years.
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