Southern Hospitality

We should’ve known, mama said,
That the hot dog stand in the basement
Around the corner from
The colored restroom and colored water fountain
Was not for us.

We belonged upstairs
Seated at Kresge’s lunch counter
Not traipsing around,
Eating standing up
In someone else’s space

They didn’t mind. 
We didn’t mind,
Though we’d never eaten hot dogs
With mustard and relish
Seeping through a paper wrap.

We liked it in the basement with the black and white tile floor.
Place your order
Pay your money.
Raise your hand and grab.
No wait.

Mama, who cut toilet seat covers
From newspapers for road trips
And never ordered meatloaf
Did not ask if we got thirsty
Or had to pee in the colored restroom.

She just talked about next time
And how good that turkey was
Upstairs at Kresge’s.

 

 

About the Author: Pat Snyder Hurley is a former attorney and long-time humor columnist from Columbus, Ohio, who recently began writing poetry. Her work has appeared in the literary journals Still Crazy and Common Threads, the Ohio Poetry Association’s ekphrastic poetry anthology A Rustling and Waking Within, and the online literary journals The MOON Magazine and The Ekphrastic Review. A collaborative collection of her poems and those of her late husband Bill Hurley, Hard to Swallow, is scheduled for publication in January 2018 by NightBallet Press.