HUUUIFDNEV DNG EOEFWIRNV? 1DK, OEW’V WDON DERUW GRNUWV

News-Herald (Perkasie, PA) - - CHURCH NEWS -

Ed­i­tor’s note: The Abingtones, Penn State Abing­ton’s stu­dent a cap­pella mu­si­cal group, will be the fea­tured per­form­ers for an evening of sto­ry­telling and mu­sic at the “Danc­ing in My Un­der­wear” event at 7:30 p.m. Fri­day, Nov. 9, at Suther­land Au­di­to­rium on the cam­pus of Penn State Abing­ton. 7LFNHts DUH $5 Dnd EHnH­fit the school’s mu­sic pro­gram. For in­for­ma­tion go to www. abing­ton.psu.edu.

The heck with lunch, give me three donuts. Now there’s a sen­tence — writ­ten by a friend telling a story about his youth — that brings back some sweet mem­o­ries.

ft was when f was in the IRuUWK RU fiIWK JUDGe, EDFN in the mid­dle to late 196Ms. f went to a small ru­ral grade school — we didn’t sep­a­rate the schools then into el­e­men­tary and mid­dle — called oankin Grade pchool in cen­tral flli­nois, just south of the bustling me­trop­o­lis of Pekin, pop­u­la­tion 3M,MMM or so and most of them with red necks. There were around 12M students in grades one through eight. then f started, the school didn’t of­fer kinder­garten, so f wenW UiJKW inWR fiUVW grade. A few years later, the school did add kinder­garten and my mom was the teacher.

That’s be­cause she knew a guy. My dad. And he was The Boss. Not just the guy in charge, but the re­ally big, big, boss, and if he wanted to hire his wife to teach and she wDV TuDOi­fieG, Ke GiG VR. He ran the whole show with­out in­ter­fer­ence from any­one. There was no teach­ers union and the “elected” school board mem­bers were farm­ers who pretty much rub­ber­stamped what­ever Pop needed and were more than happy to continue farm­ing and let him run the school.

That school was a prod­uct of its en­vi­ron­ment and era in a sim­pler time, and Pop ran a tight ship. bvery­one was treated fairly and with re­spect, but no shenani­gans were tol­er­ated. ft wasn’t per­fect — but darn near — and sus­tained it­self with a sense of community and pride.

aad got up early be­cause Ke wDV DOwDyV WKe fiUVW Rne WR arrive at school and the last to go home. But one of the rea­sons he got up early — that f hap­pily dis­cov­ered as a lad — was that he wanted to drive “into town” for his morn­ing cof­fee and donuts.

And the place he went ev­ery morn­ing was called ppud­nuts donut shop on aerby ptreet in Pekin, about three or four miles from our house. ff f could get up early and get ready by the time he was ready to leave, he’d let me ride with him to school, with a de­tour to the donut shop.

And man, were these donuts good. They had to be for Pop to drive sev­eral miles in the op­po­site di­rec­tion of where he needed to even­tu­ally go for work. fmag­ine that. aonuts so good he would drive out of his way ev­ery morn­ing.

The place was just a lit­tle hole in the wall, owned then by Paul and oose Bryant. then you en­tered the front door, the sweet smell of the donuts smacked you right in the face. fm­me­di­ately to the left was a six-foot glass case that dis­played all the donuts. bven as a lit­tle kid, Py fiUVW WKRuJKW wDV, “GiYe me one of each and f’ll have Pop pull the car around and we’OO fiOO WKe WUunN uS wiWK donuts.”

There was seat­ing at the counter for maybe 1R pa­trons, on those old soda foun­tain-like stools that spun around. The far end of the counter had what f con­sid­ered the cat­bird seat: ft was away from the front door and that pre­vented a chill get­ting up one’s skirt in the win­ter­time when an­other cus­tomer came in. But it also was no PRUe WKDn fiYe IeeW IURP WKe deep fryer where Mr. Bryant — wear­ing a white t-shirt, white pants, a white apron with donut smudg­ings on it and one of those white pa­per hats — was mak­ing the donuts.

f al­ways fas­ci­nated by the mak­ing of the donuts and wanted to sit in that seat, have a choco­late cov­ered longjohn and a cold glass of milk — this place had the cold­est milk — and watch as the donuts were deep-fried and frosted.

My dad, sit­ting next to me sport­ing a heavy dose of lld ppice, would get a cof­fee and a donut — he was a plain glazed donut kind of a guy — and yuck it up with the other pa­trons while f sat there spin­ning on the stool, mes­mer­ized on ev­ery ro­ta­tion by the donut-mak­ing process. Pop, when he wasn’t be­ing a school su­per­in­ten­dent, loved to yuck it up with peo­ple. And ppud­nuts was kind of like the bar Cheers, where ev­ery­body knows your name and slaps your back.

then it was time to de­part, Pop of­ten­times took me back over to the big case of donuts and had me pick out a dozen donuts that he would put in the teach­ers’ lounge RnFe Ke JRW WR VFKRRO. He’G pick out a cou­ple of ex­tra for him­self and have them put in a sep­a­rate bag. f won­der now if the teach­ers ever got tired of choco­late longjohns, be­cause that’s all f would pick. That is, un­til Pop in­ter­vened and mixed up the se­lec­tions a lit­tle bit.

And throughout the school day, the aroma of ppud­nuts per­me­ated from my clothes and up into my nos­trils. f could of­ten­times smell the donuts right up un­til lunchtime. f never asked him, but f won­der if Pop over­com­pen­sated with the lld ppice be­cause he, too, knew that he’d be smelling like ppud­nuts for the rest of the school day.

A some point, it oc­curred to me, as f ap­proached young adult­hood, that those morn­ing trips to the donut shop weren’t about donuts at all. They were about spend­ing time with my dad when he was still be­ing aad and be­fore he had to put on his su­per­in­ten­dent’s face and be Mr. Morsch. That guy was a stern taskmas­ter, but aad was a soft-hearted and kind man who liked his donuts and shar­ing time sit­ting at the donut shop counter with his el­dest child.

lh, to be able to smell that lld ppice mixed with ppud­nuts once again. f’ll take a dozen. Choco­late longjohns, of course.

Mike Morsch is ex­ec­u­tive ed­i­tor of Mont­gomery Me­dia and au­thor of the book, “Danc­ing in My Un­der­wear: The Sound­track of My Life.” He can be reached by call­ing 215-542-0200, ext. 415 or by email at msquared35@ ya­hoo.com. This col­umn can also be found at www.mont­gomerynews.com.

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