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Down at Mickey’s
“A poet could write volumes about American diners,
because they are so beautiful.” --David Lynch.
On Saturday nights,
in our small town
we all used to hang out
at Mickey’s Diner,
Northern Pacific dining car.
Before specific hamburger restaurants
were invented in the late 50’s, diners
and drug stores were the only places
one could get a hamburger.
There was just something
so Art Deco about those
converted railroad car diners
that showed up after WWII.
Mickey’s had been built
My Dad use to take me there,
just me and him,
as a treat after
one of my little league
I was a pretty good
Parked all around Mickey’s
were thrilling shiny cars.
Parked amongst the pre-war sedans
were ’57 Impalas,
’54 Bel Airs,
’58 Oldsmobile Rockets, and
These cars were trimmed
with tons of bright chrome,
steel bumpers and massive grills,
each with its unique hood ornament,
matching the brilliance
of the stainless steel trim
on the dining car.
Ike was President,
and the pounds of chrome
on every door, and
the behemoth V-8 engines,
and the twin glass packs,
announced to the world
that 10 miles to the gallon of gas
was OK, and America was
the most prosperous country ever.
Inside the diner, a row
of chrome-necked red stools
were bolted to the floor
in front of a stainless steel bar.
The grills and fryers were
in plain sight.
The booths, all plush
with their red Naugahyde covers,
lined the window side of the car.
I preferred sitting in a booth.
I always ordered
a cheeseburger, curly fries,
and a chocolate shake.
They used real ice cream,
and they left the chrome canister
with the left overs in it.
The .19 cent burger places
that replaced the diners
never had the magic and allure
that the diner cars had.
Posted over at d'Verse Poet's Pub MTB
This shines, from dining car to the cars to the memories they gave you.
This brings back an era some of us know only from Humphrey Bogart films.
I love your description of the cars, the diner itself, and what they meant to you. There is a car museum not all that far from here (check it out at:
(https://www.gilmorecarmuseum.org/ )that has all those old cars in it AND a diner as you describe on the property.
This is blast from the past and a treat to read tonight Glenn. I want those prices back for a good cheeseburger and ice cream.
Loved this Glenn...the atmosphere, the detail, a memory that shines like polished chrome...JIM
This makes me want a burger and a milkshake!
Well, you certainly know how to take a lady way back to St. Paul MN and her numerous visits to Mickey's Diner. You just made my day. The smells, the feel, the sounds, the food, the shakes, the people! Thanks.
I’d only ever seen diners in films and on television – and then on my only visit to New York I went to a diner and experienced the real thing, and my memories are reflected in your words, Glenn. I’m enthralled by Mickey’s Diner! How wonderful to make a static diner from a Northern Pacific dining car! Even the cars parked outside are exotic to me. Do they serve veggie burgers?
You really paint a picture of a magical moment in time which I've only ever seen in the movies: how exciting to have lived, breathed and tasted it! The Lynch quote is interesting because Diners play a huge part in his work, and I always liked the atmosphere he creates there. You've captured that same atmosphere (though less sinister) in your poem.
Wonderful! A boys wet bream. I love it! Cool bro... now come on over and fly with me!
I am way too high — come on over and fly with me! I will be back earthbound tomorrow to tread better!!
Those were the days my friend... and the i recognized the cars..everyone!! My sister dated a guy who had a shiny orange and black 58 Mercury! And, did you play the jukebox by putting you Nickle in the slot and pick your favorite song!
Great memories Glen!
I came back to read more thoroughly dude! I love this piece!! I especially love the inclusion of all those nickel-chromium’d glorious guzzlers. I personally owned owned of those steel “beasts” — ‘57 Chevy and ‘58 Olds. My Olds had a killer continental kit jutting off the back bumper. Those old cars still have soul!
This is so filled with atmosphere, all that chrome and bright hope... but I'm sure that already then there was some rust behind the polished surface.
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