Thursday, October 4, 2007

Peanuts on the Floor

Someone from one of the online support groups I peruse recently posted about seeing a new restaurant in her area. The sign read "Jimmy Mac's Roadhouse - Steaks - Crabcakes - Peanuts on the Floor". She was taken aback by the "Peanuts on the Floor" and mentioned that besides the allergy issues (definitely not taking her kids there) that she found it unsanitary.

It reminded me of something I looked forward to every year when I was a kid. We lived in a really small town (think itty bitty). There was a couple grocery stores, a couple bars, post office, library and one all-purpose hardware store. Jack Robinson's Hardware Store. Every December the whole town geared up for Christmas. There were crafts displays and goings on at the community hall. I remember the Christmas pageants we elementary school kids prepared and performed at the hall, a trek down the hill from the old brick school building. Norman Rockwell kind of stuff. (You can still find it in a small town called Ontario, WI). But what I really looked forward to was going to Jack Robinson's Hardware Store to crack peanuts out of the shell and throw them on his concrete floor. That was his thing. Every year around Christmas you could eat peanuts at Jack Robinson's and drop the shells. He said it was good for the floor.

What a bizarre thought for me now. For the parent of a peanut allergic kid, this is an absolute nightmare. But Jack Robinson could do that back in the 1970's (aging myself here) because though there were people allergic to peanuts then, I don't think there was anywhere near the number of food allergic children as there is now. I certainly didn't know any people in Ontario, WI allergic to peanuts.

Times have changed. The number of children allergic to peanuts doubled in a five year period. There is no cure. Ontario, WI is a dying town due to death of the family farm and any other type of industry settling in rural Wisconsin. And Jack Robinson's Hardware store closed many years ago.

They still throw one hell of a fourth of July party though, complete with kiddie parades, local talent contest, polka band and fireworks. Max got to have his first cotton candy there this summer. I didn't see anyone selling peanuts.


Linda Kerr said...

Ah, yes, Pete's Piano Bar in Austin, Texas. Home of where I got caught with my fake (not so fake but real ID) that landed me in BIG trouble. Will share someday if you like. That floor too, was, alas, covered in peanuts. No kids there though...oh, except for me just 4 months shy of 21.

Angie said...

I used to go to a pub in East Lansing, Michigan (go Spartans!) called the Peanut Barrel, with shells covering the floor. Gives me the heebs to even think about now. Yes, times have changed. And I, certainly, have changed.