Today is Podge’s birthday. He would be 45. Today is also Friday the 13th, which he was born on Friday the 13th, too. I always thought that the whole Friday the 13th superstition was dumb because Podge was born on that day, and I remember telling people that when I was a kid. Anywho, Podge has been on my mind a lot more than usual lately. Mostly because I was anticipating his birthday today, but also because I had my surgery this week and have been home sick by myself most of the time. I remember when I was a kid and would stay home sick, a lot of times Podge would stay home with me just for kicks. It was the best. He would make me grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup, and we would watch old movies. He loved Cool Hand Luke. I loved Crocodile Dundee. Since I moved back home a few months ago, I have been driving past a lot of places and being reminded of him in many things I see around the Bay Area. One place that I always see that reminds me of him is…
CASPER’S HOT DOGS! I can’t think of another food that reminds me of my Podge more. There were so many days when I would tromp into Casper’s in my baseball cleats and tee-ball uniform. Podge would always take us to the Casper’s on C Street in Hayward, because it was near the baseball fields we used to play at. When we moved out to Tracy later on in the mid-90’s, he would stop at the Casper’s on Foothill in Castro Valley every now and then on his way home from work and bring us home a hot dog. We discovered later that you could buy the dogs from Costco, but they just weren’t the same. There is something about that finely grated cheddar. and the bun-steaming machines inside the Casper’s restaurants that make them out of this world. People in LA brag about Pink’s, but I have to admit, there is just no comparison to Casper’s.
I was also reminded of Podge earlier this week at Kaiser. I had to get some blood drawn and the nurse in the lab who helped me was named Claire. Besides my most popular nickname, Queen, Dad also used to call me Claire sometimes when I was little. It was short for another name he made up for me, and I have no idea where it came from. He would call me Chang Lau Loopie Saint Claire. He had all kinds of these multi-nationality, run-on names for all of us. He would call Bobby things like Cleetus or Jones, and would combine them with whatever other words he came up with that day to make the name longer and more outrageous. Whenever we played a game, he would fill out the score cards and write simply “Shaun” for his name, and then write out “Chang Lau Loopie Saint Claire” for my name. His sense of humor and imagination was out of control!
There are tons of other things that remind me of him that I see from time to time, so I will share them with you Party Peeps as they come up. For now, I am going to wrap it up. I’m due for another dose of meds and am starting to feel a bit nauseous from looking at the computer screen (Ahh, the joys of recovery). I hope all of you find smiles and joy in your memories of Podge. Feel free to share a story or reminder of him if you want. I would love to read them!
Party on Podge,