My grandmother and grandfather were avid Wheel of Fortune fans. Like clockwork, every day at 6:30pm. My “Bubbe” lounging on her sofa, knitting; my “Zayde” sitting in his maroon easy chair, smoking one of his hundreds of pipes.
My grandfather would try to guess the answers but was always shouted down by Grandma. “Shut up, Larry! You DON’T know it!” And he’d shut his yap.
It was hilarious to see in person.
We lived there for a short while. I don’t even know the real reason why; sometimes parents don’t share everything. One minute you have your own room and own bed, and next thing you know, we’re all moving. New school. New friends. Again. At least with high-paying jobs or the military, you grow to expect it. Doesn’t make it easier. I’m just saying it’s nice to at least know a reason.
My dad worked in San Antonio during the week at this time. We’d see him for a few hours on the weekends, but he mostly used that time to catch up on his sleep. He was gearing up a new franchise, and it wasn’t easy on any of us.
One weekend, to mix things up, we decided to visit him on the weekend. It was the first road trip I really remember and it was the first time I saw San Antonio. The Riverwalk, the Alamo. There’s a two-story McDonald’s.
A TWO-STORY McDONALD’S.
French-fried my young mind.
I remember sitting in his extended-stay hotel/apartment, making dinner and watching The A-Team. The best surprise was finding out, being in a different market with a different syndication schedule, WHEEL OF EVER-LOVING FORTUNE came on a full 30 minutes earlier than back in Dallas.
Glad to say it was my idea to call Grandpa.
We made sure that if the answer was “C-H-E-A-T-I-N-G,” then he’d be able to answer the blank eight spaces without spinning or buying vowels or nothing.
We laughed as we hung up the phone.
Soon found out that Grandpa wasn’t allowed in the den at 6:30 anymore.
Never got to see a ski resort or Disney World like my classmates did. I dreamed of seeing the Haunted Mansion, like literally dreamed of it. I had a book that showed the technology behind the ghost holograms and everything. Couldn’t imagine what I’d do if I saw it in person.
Mickey Ears looked dumb but so much fun.
Never went on a cruise.
We went to South Padre Island for a few days one time.
And we went to San Antonio.
Seriously. A two-story McDonald’s.