What if the fountain of youth was actually a buffet?
Saturday’s Shakey’s Night event at the Knights of Columbus hall may as well have been ’80s night, as far as I’m concerned. I even listened to an R.E.M. CD in my car on the way.
The fried chicken and mojos (thin slices of potatoes coated in the same breading as the chicken) were satisfyingly salty, spicy and crunchy. I tip my cap to the Eppers family for bringing back two of the signature dishes from their much-beloved Elkhart pizza parlors.
But it wouldn’t have been the same without sharing it with friends. And not just any friends. This meal needed to be shared with some of my Memorial High School classmates. One friend drove from Valparaiso for this event — how great is that?
As wonderful as the chicken and mojos were, feeling transported back in time, if only for a couple of hours, was the payoff. There were stories about band camp. I never attended a band camp because I wasn’t in band, but I’m glad my friends did. Sounds like a blast.
We talked about our old neighborhoods, told funny stories about the classmates who couldn’t be present and exchanged knowing looks when the subject of our own kids came up.
Anyone remember the old Starlite drive-in theater? Or the Midway drive-in? I never went to either, but enjoyed listening to my friends’ adventures there.
Of course there were stories about Shakey’s itself. Memorial students hung out at the Nappanee Street location (now a car wash). Pitchers of Coke, anyone? Some quarters for the video arcade games?
“They let us come there and be kids,” one friend recalled.
Remember the caravans to Friday night football games? We did, as well as the reverse caravan to Shakey’s after the game. If you were going out after the game, that’s where you went — everyone understood it. Plans for later in the evening might have been hatched there, too. My — ahem — memory falters a bit there.
And we teased each other about getting older. In doing so, for a few hours, we all felt younger.