A small town in Texas has something strangely in common with Pisa, Italy.
My husband hails from Groom, Texas and I bet you’re formulating all sorts of jokes in your head that would match what we heard on our wedding day. “The groom is from Groom!” and so on and so forth.
Groom is situated on good ol’ Route 66 and one of the most recognizable landmarks is the leaning water tower next to the freeway. According to Mr. Wikipedia, the tower was originally slated to be demolished but Mr. Britten purchased it as a fixture for his truck stop. While the truck stop is no longer there, the water tower still stands.
Given the really flat landscape of the panhandle of Texas, seeing that water tower on the horizon means we’re almost home and can finally stretch our legs after a 17 hour excursion.
While the water tower is definitely a symbol for me, most wouldn’t recognize it unless you’d stopped in Groom or cruised that section of Route 66. Imagine my surprise when I was strolling down the aisles of Target a few years ago and saw that same Britten water tower staring back at me. I immediately grabbed the platter, chuckled, and looked around to see if others had the same moment of serendipity. Of course they didn’t because how many people from the small town of Groom (population 587), were shopping in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and saw their hometown landmark on a serving piece crafted out of ceramic?
Needless to say, the platter has been proudly displayed in our home ever since and is the perfect place to serve a stack of Dudes.
You read that right.
Just across the freeway from the water tower is one of the town gathering spots; a Dairy Queen. My husband worked there when he was in high school and each time we’re back for Christmas, I ask him to take me out on a “date” there. I have fun imagining we met in high school and I’d go to his football games, wear his letter jacket, and eat with him on his lunch breaks at the Dairy Queen.
This year, I finally got “asked out”. According to him, not much has changed on the inside except new registers and a larger menu board. The wood paneled walls and beams are all just the same. We stepped up to the counter and it took me a minute to order. Dairy Queens in Texas have a much more extensive menu than the ones in the Midwest. Plus, my family only went to the DQ on hot, summer nights for a blizzard so the savory items were new territory for me. While waiting for his woman to make up his mind, my husband casually greeted the gal behind the counter and said, “I’ll just have a Dude; no tomatoes please.”
“Excuse me? What did you just order,” I said.
He replied, “A Dude.”
“What the heck is a Dude?”
“It’s a chicken fried steak sandwich”
Maybe it would’ve just been easier to tattoo YANKEE across my forehead for the lady behind the register. Still chuckling and somewhat flustered, I just ordered a grilled chicken sandwich and followed my husband to an empty table.
“Is the Dude a Groom nickname for the sandwich?”
“Nope, it’s just called a Dude. They’re all over the DQs down here.”
I stared down at our tray and realized he wasn’t lying. There it was, clear as day on our paper tray liner.
Now at this point I started to feel a little jealous. I came up with the Man Burger almost two years ago now and had always been under the impression that this burger held the closet spot to my husband’s heart. I’m starting to think it was the Dude and always the Dude.
That date was also the day I discovered Jalitos. Only in Texas can you sub your french fries for crispy slices of jalapeno. I’ll take the Jalitos, please!
Being trapped inside due to the cold/wet/wind/slush/mud/general grossness lately has had me yearning for warmer temps, flat land, and Jalitos.
I pulled out the skillet and cube steak and fried up some Dudes for dinner last weekend. I was going to walk into our family room and ask my husband out on a “date” but don’t expect a Texas boy to stay out of the kitchen when he hears something frying. He foiled my plan but the smile on his face made up for it.