Cliff and his sister took off for Tulsa the other day; they had heard their brother would have surgery the next day, so they planned to visit him that afternoon, then see him before surgery next morning. Their sister from St. Louis was also going to be there with her husband. As it turns out, the surgery was cancelled, but that's irrelevant to this story.
Cliff doesn't leave me at home alone often, but when he does, I start planning what I'll eat while he's gone: Oyster stew, buttered popcorn, and Nathan's hot dogs are high on the list... stuff he doesn't really care for.
Unfortunately, Cliff didn't have a lot of time to run me around getting my junk food since this was a last-minute trip. We had to go to the bank at Lexington, eight miles away, for our monthly cash; I thought there might be a slim chance of finding Nathan's hot dogs at Dave's, the main grocery store in town, but there was no such luck. I looked over all their various brands of hot dogs and noticed some Ball Park franks, all-beef, for $5.50. That's about what Nathan's hot dogs cost, so I assumed these would be a decent substitute.
I first tasted Nathan's hot dogs at my friend Joanna's place when I went to visit her in Virginia. She lives on the outskirts of Washington, DC, and kindly showed me around the nation's capital while I was there. Anyhow, Joanna has a George Foreman grill, and that's what she used to cook the hot dogs. It was love at first bite. Cliff doesn't like hot dogs, and he particularly doesn't like Nathan's.
At least I had a can of oysters in the cupboard, and I had my oyster soup made before Cliff left the house. Which, as usual, made him bellyache about the awful smell of oysters.
That night I had buttered popcorn for supper, about a half-gallon of it, and the next day I skipped breakfast; I wasn't hungry anyhow, since I had my popcorn so late the previous evening. About ten o'clock in the morning I finally got hungry and pulled the Foreman grill out of storage, heated it up, and put three Ball Park (all-beef) franks in.
Those things were the cheapest-tasting hot dogs I've ever had. You know, the kind that keeps you burping cheap hot-dog taste for hours afterward. I ate all three, thinking maybe I'd get past the taste. And then, of course, burped for hours.
I left the rest of the package of hot dogs on the counter, because I had no intention of eating them. Yesterday the grandson and Cliff were hanging out in the living room chatting and I told them I was going to put a hot dog on the front porch and see if Mama Kitty, who was hanging out there at the time, would be interested. I laid the hot dog down and called her. She cautiously approached the strange object, sniffed it delicately, and batted it around with a paw for a while to see if there was any life in it. And then she indignantly slunk off into the night. When I woke up this morning, I looked out to see if perhaps a passing raccoon or possum might have taken it away, but no. There it lay, in all it's glory. An hour later when I went out to chore, Jake, Mama Kitty's son, had eaten half of it.
I hate to waste food. I paid a fortune for these nasty hot dogs, and even the cats won't eat them. Just as I was ready to toss them in the trash, I remembered my chickens. Chickens eat anything, even poop. Surely they would eat hot dogs, and that way somebody would get some good out of them; I don't think chickens burp, so that wouldn't be a factor. I got a paper plate and carefully cut the hot dogs up into chicken-sized bites. As I stepped out the front door, I bent down and picked up the half-dog on the porch and put it on top of the pile of wiener bits. At the chicken pen, I poured the contents of the plate into a container that I leave there for table scraps, spoiled milk, moldy bread, or whatever else turns up in the kitchen that humans don't consume but chickens do. I opened the chicken-house door.
It was an orgy of eating! I needn't have chopped the hot dogs at all, because one rooster grabbed the half-dog, took it off to a corner, and had it devoured in thirty seconds.
So the hot dogs weren't a total waste after all.