This post is part of my Write 31 Days challenge and also the Five-Minute Friday online community that I participate in each Friday. A one-word prompt is given every Friday and we are encouraged to just free-write for 5 minutes and post it to our blogs without over-thinking or editing. If you’d like to participate, you can get more info on the Five-Minute Friday community and link-up on this site. For more information about 31 Days click here.
When I saw that this week’s prompt was “Bacon,” I had every intention of choosing my own topic for today. But then a memory began making its way from the deep recesses of my mind to my fingertips. A very vivid memory of the Woolworth’s lunch counter and Bacon.
Every Saturday my grandma used to get her hair “done.” She went to Betty Jean’s Beauty Shop. Betty Jean had her transformed her basement into a salon and my grandmother was one of her most faithful clients. I often went with her on Saturday mornings because Betty Jean would let me sit under the dryer. I would pretend to read gossip magazines like the other ladies did. I simply could never get enough of the smell of perm solution and Aqua Net hairspray.
When Grandma Lucy’s hair was washed, “tinted” (because she never actually dyed her hair…she merely had it tinted), curled, and sprayed to her satisfaction we got back into her silver Caprice Classic and headed toward the mall for our traditional lunch at the Woolworth’s lunch counter. We ordered the same thing every week: Bacon, Lettuce, & Tomato Sandwiches on toasted white bread with Ruffles potato chips and a pickle spear. She drank coffee. I drank Ginger Ale.
As we ate our lunches, we would talk. She would ask me questions and listen to my answers. I asked her questions and hung on every word of her response. For me, those Saturday afternoons were never about the food–although I swear to this day that was the crispiest bacon and crunchiest chips I’ve ever tasted! It was about just being with her.
By the time I was in middle school, our days at the lunch counter were long gone. My grandma had several major strokes and her health was rapidly declining. I spent many long, painful years watching her slip away…losing her ability to drive, walk, talk, and eventually unable to swallow food. Through those years, I would often sit with her, just holding her hand, and letting those memories come flooding back. Now that she’s gone, I treasure those moments with her under the hair dryer and at the lunch counter. And every time I eat a BLT with crispy bacon or crunch a salty Ruffles potato chip, it takes me back to a time when it was just us girls, with our fancy hair-do’s, bonding over bacon…