Some things really do naturally go together

BY BOB WACHS, Columnist
Posted 8/25/21

In the movie “Forest Gump,” the Tom Hanks-portrayed main character says numerous times that he and his lady love Jenny go together “just like peas and carrots.”

Now, not everybody likes …

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Some things really do naturally go together

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In the movie “Forest Gump,” the Tom Hanks-portrayed main character says numerous times that he and his lady love Jenny go together “just like peas and carrots.”

Now, not everybody likes peas and carrots. So for some, Forrest and Jenny don’t go together. But they do for me. I like peas and carrots, by themselves or in chicken pot pie. I like English peas — what Shirley refers to as “silly little peas” — cooked with new potatoes and some pastry. My mama used to do that when I was a tender lad of 6 or 11 or 14. And Shirley not often enough throws together a carrot dish that she calls “dimes” or “silver dollars” or some other piece of money. All I know is that they’re sliced across like dimes or nickels and the sauce or whatever that stuff the dish is in has lots of sugar.

I say all that to say that there really are some things that go together in our lives; when you have one you almost automatically think of the other. I know that varies from person to person depending on who we are and what floats our boat. But one of the good things about them, especially when it comes to chow, is not only how tasty good they are but also when it comes to something other than chow how sweet the memories can be.

Case in point: I seldom eat a hog dog that’s served in one of those little ruffled paper holders without thinking of my Uncle Frank Durham. He wasn’t a bit of blood kin to me but his wife was the daughter of the lady in Bynum who reared my daddy and who always referred to Louise as “Sister” and her mother as “Mama.” My brothers and I always referred to the two of them as “Uncle Frank and Louise.” I’m not really sure exactly why we spoke that way and I don’t remember how we called her or spoke to her directly. What I do know is we always called him “Uncle Frank.”

Anyway, when I was the tender age of 5, I spent a year at the Gov. Morehead School in Raleigh, aka “the State School for the Blind.” I had an issue with my eyes and my folks weren’t really sure how I was going to turn out as far as being able to see very well, so they thought I should get a head start just in case. In time, the folks at the long-gone McPherson Hospital in Durham helped me turn some corners with glasses and contact lenses, but that year going to school in Raleigh had some benefits.

One of them occurred every Sunday night when my folks and, most of the time, Uncle Frank (again) and Louise would take me back to my buddies in the dorm on the Raleigh campus off Western Boulevard. In those dark days of early civilization, there was no Interstate 40 or 440 bypass. There was just U.S. 64 in its radiant two-lane glory going through Pittsboro and Apex and Cary and on into Raleigh.

Along that stretch between Apex and Cary was a restaurant that, I think, went by the name “Seaboard” something or other. That was, I think, because it was beside or across the road from a pond and the old, now long-gone Seaboard Airline Railway train tracks passed by the place. What was the key, however, was that it was where I got my Sunday night staple of two hot dogs all the way and a significant amount of chocolate milk.

I think it’s the smell of the hot dogs — and that’s the association of things going together I spoke of earlier — which makes me remember Uncle Frank. The combination of that and the chili which soaks into the paper holder always takes, dare I say it, more than 60-plus years off my life and I am once again that little guy.

There is also another nasal association I have with him of things going together, namely Juicy Fruit chewing gum. Today it’s too sweet for me, but I used to pound a stick or two between my ivories until the cows came home twice, and every time I smell Juicy Fruit I still think of Uncle Frank.

The other day on purpose I got a pack of Juicy Fruit just to smell it. Chewed one stick; the rest is on my desk. It may be another five years before a second one is chewed but the same association will be there, I’m sure.

Uncle Frank also used to give me a dime every time we said “goodbye,” too but I didn’t eat those. Comic books were only 10 cents at the turn of the century then so that’s where my financial bonanza went. Come to think of it, I think hot dogs were maybe a dime at the time, too, so maybe the dimes are the real association.

Anyway, those things — and there are others — are pretty special and really important to me. I hope you’ve got some; if not, find or make some. And if you need help, let me know. A good hot dog is never out of season ... or out of mind.

Bob Wachs is a native of Chatham County and retired long-time managing editor of the Chatham News/Chatham Record, having written a weekly column for more than 30 years. During most of his time with the newspapers, he was also a bi-vocational pastor and today serves Bear Creek Baptist Church for the second time as pastor.


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