I WAS HITCHHIKING TO CALIFORNIA. IT SEEMED LIKE THE THING TO DO. I HAD ONCE AGAIN LOST-ALL FROM DRINKING AND HAD DECIDED THAT A CHANGE OF SCENERY WOULD HELP ME.
THE DRIVER HAD LET ME OFF AT A JUNCTION IN SOUTHERN OREGON THAT WAS FAR FROM ANY TOWN, BUT IT DID HAVE A SMALL CAFÉ BESIDE THE HIGHWAY. I HAD $.50 TO MY NAME. I SAT LOOKING AT THE MENU AND DECIDED THAT I COULD HAVE A SIDE OF HASHBROWNS OR A SHORT STACK OF PANCAKES – IN 1960 YOU COULD GET A SIDE ORDER OF THESE THAT CHEAP. I CHOOSE THE HASHBROWNS.
I HADN’T EATEN FOR 48 HOURS AND WHEN THOSE HASHBROWNS WERE PLACED IN FRONT OF ME THEY LOOKED WONDERFUL. THE COOK MUST HAVE GIVEN ME AN EXTRA HELPING BECAUSE IT WAS A NICE PORTION.
I RELISHED THOSE HASHBROWNS, I HAVE NEVER TASTED ANYTHING SO DELICIOUS.
I LOOK BACK AT THE TIME OF THE “HASHBROWNS” WHILE COMMISERATING WITH THAT PART OF ME THAT IS CHRONICALLY MALCONTENT AND REALIZE THAT IT DOESN’T TAKE A STEAK TO BE CONTENT, IF I CAN LEARN, SOMETIMES, TO BE GRATEFUL FOR THE HASHBROWNS.
MY FONDEST RECOLLECTIONS ARE NOT WHEN I SAT DOWN TO STEAK; BUT WHEN THERE WAS ONLY HASBROWNS PRESENTED TO ME WITH CARE AND LOVE.
I APPRECIATE HASHBROWNS, THEY MAKE ME GRATEFUL. STEAK JUST MAKES ME FULL.
I WANT TO GO BACK TO THE ROAD-SIDE DINER OF 15 YEARS AGO. SIT DOWN AND ORDER A SIDE OF HASHBROWNS AND ASK MYSELF WHAT I HAVE LEARNED SINCE THAT TIME. I’VE BEEN SOBER FOR A LOT OF YEARS AND NOW I CAN HAVE STEAK AND HASHBROWNS, WITH THE WORKS.
I THINK GOD IS IN THE HASHBROWNS.
I do not remember where, how, or from who, but sometime in the 90’s, this piece came to me on a scrap of paper I’ve kept all these years; partly because I recognized that very same Truckstop Café in Cave Junction, OR, where I’d been stranded, hitchhiking, not too long before this man ‘wrote’ this piece; 15 years after his experience. And I made a plan to stop each time I made the trip from CA to WA and back again, thru the late 70’s, with my young children. We always ordered the hash browns. The first time my son saw the ‘heaping full plate’ his eyes grew like saucers, “WOW”! And they were still only 50 cents. Sadly, the café is no longer there. But his short and sweet story lives on.;