One of my favorite blog stops is The Public Reader Daily Magazine, where amiable “JimKitt” frequently posts various items of nostalgic interest and isn’t the slightest bit obnoxious about it (like someone we know). Tuesday, he offered up this tantalizing tidbit: an old F.W. Woolworth menu where the priciest thing on the bill of fare was a chicken salad sandwich (sixty-five cents) and a banana split would set you back thirty-nine cents.
It reminded me of an incident from my Morgantown, WV period when I found myself the guest of a couple who had a simply gorgeous dwelling out at Deep Creek Lake, MD, and they would often invite me out there on the weekends to just recharge the batteries—you’d be surprised at how soothing it is just to sit in a chair on a porch and calmly survey the water, contemplating life's rich pageant. (My mother sure was…when I once told her about their place, she cracked: “You don’t seem like the reflective type.”)
Anyway, on this one occasion Chris and Cheri took me out to dinner at the Silver Tree Inn, a place that Chris boasted had “fantastic Italian food” and even though I’m not big on Italian (I achieved my proportions via other calorie-laden foodstuffs) I have to admit the lasagna was pretty good. When the meal was thoroughly picked clean, the waitress came over and offered us dessert.
To be honest, the lasagna was pretty filling and I didn’t see the purpose of further stuffing my face—but Chris told me before we got there, “You have to have the dessert.” It wasn’t anything fancy, just your average, everyday, run-of-the-mill ice cream sundae…
…for five cents.
Honest to my grandma, I’m not making this up. The restaurant had a tradition of selling sundaes for five cents because that was the going rate when they first opened, and they saw no reason to change it now. Of course, you couldn’t just go into the jernt and order a five-cent sundae…custom dictated that you shell out for the dinner (or two, if you were on a date) and then scarfed up the sundae the way you would an after-dinner mint.
I don’t mind telling you. It was—and remains—the best damn five-cent sundae I’ve ever eaten.