Monday, February 18, 2013

I’d love to see the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile …

… ‘Cause everyone would wish that they were me. 

C’mon. Admit it. You know it’s one of those things you never put on your bucket list because you didn’t think it would happen. Neither did I, but guess what—it did!

A few years ago, as my husband and I were driving on an Interstate highway, in the oncoming traffic we saw it—a 27-foot-long hot dog in a bun. 

I figured that was as close as I’d ever come to the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. 

I was wrong.

Earlier this week, I saw a post on my regional electric coop’s Facebook page. Rural Missouri’s note read, “The Wienermobile, Oscar Mayer's Hot Dog of a Car, is coming to central Missouri…” 

That was all I needed to hear. My bucket list is fluid, and at that moment a new item was added. 

Isn’t it something every kid wishes for, after all—to see the Wienermobile and get his or her own whistle shaped like the magnificent machine? 

The kid in me held that wish from the time I learned there was such a thing and put the likelihood at “highly improbable.”

Yet, here it was—the opportunity of a lifetime. 

I was certain my husband would be on board for the trip, until he uttered these words: “I’ve already seen it.” 

My otherwise not-so-privileged-child hubby had done what other kids only dream of. He’d not only seen the Wienermobile as a youngster in Chicago in the 1950s, but he even had a hot dog-shaped whistle all his own. 

If you’re a Baby Boomer, you remember how cherished those whistles were. They were right up there with Daniel Boone coonskin hats, Betsy Wetsy dolls, and Hopalong Cassidy cap guns and holsters. 

At first when hubby told me of his childhood adventure, I felt pangs of jealousy, then a bit of excitement. 

Wow, was my man ever a lucky little boy!

At first, he led me to believe that once was enough for that lucky boy. All evening and part of the next morning, he had me thinking his child heart was packed in a box someplace with a tattered cherished baseball card of the same era, that he had no desire to join me in seeing the vehicle again. 

Up early getting ready on Saturday morning, though, I heard sounds coming from the shower. 

“What are you doing?” I yelled. 

“I may as well go with you,” came the water-garbled answer. 

We rounded curves, drove through hills and hollows, and crossed a few bridges on our way to the capital city. After more than an hour and fifteen minutes on the road, we came around one more curve and there it was—a six-month-old gargantuan hot-dog-on-wheels proudly sporting license plates that read, “Our Dog.”

Climbing the steps beneath the open door of the Weinermobile that morning was a 60-year-old woman turned six-year-old girl again, looking longingly into the bag of whistles Hotdogger Cookout Kelly held in her hands. 

“Do I get a whistle?” I asked. 

“You know what you have to do, don’t you? Can you sing the jingle?” was Kelly’s reply.

As I began to sing with Kelly and her fellow Hotdogger Deli Eliot, I heard another male voice chiming in behind me. 

Hubby and I both earned our Wienermobile whistles that day. 

As we stepped back out of the vessel that took us back more than half a century without firing up its engine or moving a foot, I think we both grew a little younger.

On the way home, I blew the whistle and sang this little ditty: 

“I’m glad I saw the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, ‘cause all my friends will wish that they are me.”

And from the number of “Likes” on my Facebook post when I shared the picture, where I was holding my cherished treasure in front of a jumbo–sized dog in a bun, I’m pretty sure that they really do. 

© Ann Tracy Mueller 2013

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