Monday, January 19, 2009


Odd, isn't it, that all three of my children took to living a life in a place that does not have a Taco John's. And when they come to visit, a trip to the TEX-MEX sort of place is on order. There are NO substitues.

What foods do you remember eating as a child that you can not get the taste of now? Was it the chicken your mother fried/baked on Sundays? The beans at the picnic?

The chicken salad at the Rex?
The burgers at Johnnies?
The grease whatever of Kiefs?
The little Dick's at Rexall?
The sound of the oooo gaaa horn at the Dine O Mite?

Taco John's began in 1969. It did not, however, become part of the 23rd and Ousdahl landscape until later*. It began as a carnival type pull trailer on the corner and the city was up in arms about a trailer being used as a restuarant. It was very close to the elementary school and a fuss was made about that, as well. It was walk up, no inside dining. Later they would build a structure. It would be expanded later. Not much parking on that small lot after all the building was finished. I wonder how they got by with that ratio but it isn't about parking, it is about food.

But there were other eating establishments close to Schwegler as well, so what is the problem? The cash layout for tacos was much less than fine dining at the gas station turned Chinese. Up the street, past the Kwik Shoppe, was a Minnie Pearl Chicken, (later to become a doughnut shop), and another taco joint. But Taco John's, from then until now, still always tasted the same.

Rachel may have walked, Bud rode his bike, Ryen went in a stroller [with me] and by hook or crook, the Anderson family got their share of tacos over the years but we aren't done yet.

Ryen stated on Face Book there was a eatery in Reno. It was just an eight hour round trip from CA. His sister in UT suggested he drive an additional 12 hours and bring her some. This is commitment. This is one of those memories they will always remember.

How can my grand daughter know the taste and the desire for something like Taco John's? She can not. Although she may have favorite places to eat and can memorize them in her adult hood, one thing is amiss.

Children are not free to roam to eateries, play grounds, and ride their bikes to friends anymore. When I think about my children eating tacos, I think about them going there by themselves. Perhaps it is not all tacos, perhaps it is the Kwik Shoppe, LaMans, and beyond.

So if Ryen has the freedom to drive to Reno for a taco, I say go for it. If he wants to drive beyond or meet his sister with tacos, so be it. It is, as the soul of their mother sees it, the last truly free generation.

*According to the Lawrence Journal World, the owner of Taco John's in Lawrence was honored with the President's (of Taco John's) recieved the highest honors for his excellence out of 400 stores throughout the nation in 2007. Ben Harris opened the store on the corner of Ousdahl and 23rd Street in 1974.



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