Hunters Drug Store Soda Fountain
Have you ever driven a 10-hour stretch with 4 children in the car? If so, you know that you look forward to lunch and dinner breaks! Just getting out and enjoying a short respite from the van is a pleasure.
Alas, my husband and I are old parents and cannot settle for a "McDonald's break." Our children don't quite understand that; McDonalds suits them just fine. But our well being depends upon better things.
Our search for the right stopping place paid off last winter as we traveled home from our Arizona vacation. We happened upon a cute little cafe in the small Kansas community of Greensburg, population 1,574.
While waiting at table for our food to be served, a white-haired gentleman approached us with a friendly greeting. I found out later that this man is something of a local celebrity. His name was Richard, and he encouraged us to step across the street after lunch and have a dessert at the drug store, where he worked as the soda jerk.
We did so and were immediately charmed by the old-time atmosphere of Hunter Drug Store. It transported me back to my own growing-up years, where we sipped 5 cent cokes while swiveling on high chrome stools at the soda fountain.
Richard Huckried, the soda jerk, served us with alacrity. As he did so, he filled us in on a little history. Richard had been a soda jerk at Hunter Drug Store since 1953! Someone from the news media had recently "discovered" him and placed his picture along with an interview in a national magazine. The community of Greensburg raised money to place a cardboard likeness of him in the Kiowa County Museum. It seems Richard has the honor of being the soda jerk King!
We were urged not to leave Greensburg until we had checked out another local attraction: the world's largest hand-dug well. We did so, and that little side trip led us to yet another delightful diversion. An architecturally beautiful building across the street housed 10,000 square feet of antiques. We enjoyed both the antiques, and our visit with the owner, who was a recent transplant from Las Vegas.
"What possessed you to move from Las Vegas to Greensburg?" we asked.
"We fell in love with the place", was the immediate answer. "Besides, the night life is great." This was said with a wink.
My husband inquired if there were any used bookstores in the town? He is always looking for old volumes for his pastoral library. No, was the reply, but you might find a few books at the thrift store.
I can honestly say the Preacher hit pay dirt. He bought a brown grocery sack full of wonderful, old books for the price of 10 cents each! The only downside was trying to stuff ONE MORE THING into a van that already resembled the "Beverly Hillbillies" in its abundance.
Just as we were ready to pull out of Greensburg, Joy's eagle eye spotted another place too interesting to pass by.
"Daddy, we can't leave yet! There is a vintage clothing store, see! Snootie Seconds!"
"OK, OK, one more stop, but then we must get back on the road."
Snootie Seconds was the epitome of vintage clothing stores. Rows and rows of sweet little hats with veils, old purses in mint condition, and gorgeous dresses and shoes artfully displayed. I bought a purse. Joy bought a hat, which she had to wear in order to conserve space in the van!
FOUR HOURS after pulling into Greensburg for lunch, we reluctantly got back on the road.
About ten miles later, we hear from the backseat, "Daddy, I have to go to the bathroom!"
I was tempted to go back to Greensburg. There was that quaint little Bed and Breakfast that we didn't have a chance to investigate. Maybe we should just spend the night?
That didn't happen, but I really, really want to go back to Greensburg. It is America at its best.