Speed dial dogs

I don’t remember when I ate my first Majestic hot dog. It was probably more than 60 years ago. But I do remember my most recent. That was yesterday. I treated myself for being a good citizen and going to vote.
Majestic Lunch has served its, well, majestic hot dogs on Main Street, Pittston, for close to 100 years. These hot dogs with their unique chili (The secret ingredient is cinnamon, right? It must be cinnamon.) are legendary.
While I had eaten Majestic hot dogs since I was a kid, my relationship with them became more intimate when I started working at the Sunday Dispatch, the Pittston newspaper located in the basement of the Kehoe Building right across the street, in the summer of 1967. I was only 17 but was hired as the paper’s part-time sports editor. The job required “wearing a lot of hats,” as the old-timers said, and one of those hats meant taking a food order around midnight. I’d walk over to the Majestic to pick up a few dozen dogs, several burgers, and quite a few cups of coffee. The Majestic was open all night long then. Years later I learned from the owners the reason was there was no lock on the front door. I’m not kidding.
The late Joe Luke, a seasoned printer and pressman who worked Saturday nights at the paper, always took a ribbing for ordering his Majestic hotdogs with ketchup only. To the rest of the guys this was sacrilegious.
I never lost my job as gopher (“go for” the food) at the paper. Not when the office moved away from Main Street. And not even when I kept rising through the ranks eventually to managing editor. I was still jotting down on a notepad “two dogs, k only” for Joe Luke.
Unlike the early days, when I’d walk in, place the order and sip a coke at the counter while waiting for it, I eventually began to call it in and leave the car running while I dashed in to pick it up. The first time I called the Majestic, I knew I’d never forget the phone number.
You might say I’ve had it on speed dial for more than 50 years. Speed dial in my head.
The reason?
The Majestic phone number is 570-655-8888.
And what have I done with hundreds if not thousands of Majestic hot dogs over the years?
What do you think I’ve done?
I ate, ate, ate, ate.

Ed Ackerman