Greatest hoax since the Loch- Ness monster?A couple of weeks ago in this space—April 1 to be exact–I announced that our beloved Andy’s was rising from the barbecue pit ashes and our hometown diner would swing its doors open once again.
However, I fear that I have created some kind of gastronomical “War of the Worlds”.
I imagine a bug-eyed army of drooling zombies shuffling out towards Praesel Addition while in a guttural voice chanting “chicken fried steak” or “large order of fries”.
When people started discovering that it was a harmless April Fool’s Day prank, they weren’t mad that they had been punked; they were upset that Andy’s really wasn’t going to be opened again.
I guess I owe everyone who got their hopes up a heartfelt apology. Believe me, no one would be more eager to see Andy’s open again than me.
As I’ve stated before, Andy’s was a part of my childhood.
I received more e-mails than I have ever gotten before in my life. I have had people as late as Tuesday ask me when Andy’s was going to be open.
I had people from all over the state e-mail me wanting to make reservations for the bogus opening night, May 1.
Responses ranged about 50/50 for those who got it to those who didn’t.
First off, the Texas Shack, which is currently housed in Andy’s old domicile, is alive and well and open for business.
Their hours are 5 p.m. to close if you would care to partake in your favorite ice cold beverage.
Secondly, Vivian Wilburn, who was Andy’s chief cook and bottle washer, is not leaving The Piano Bar where she prepares delicacies now.
Also, Vivian does not have a secret stash of Andy’s recipes scribbled down on butcher paper. I made that up to make the story sound more ridiculous.
If you knew Andy Milano, the idea of him having a record of what he concocted is laughable.
The best part of this is that I have been privileged to hear some great Andy’s stories.
The Thursday morning the paper came out, while filling up the gas tank, I was approached by a woman in the parking lot.
She asked me if I wrote the article in the paper about Andy’s and introduced herself as Judy Dyer, Andy’s granddaughter.
She asked me where I got my information and that her phone was ringing off the hook. That’s what she was doing at the gas station—buying a newspaper.
She said she felt bad for me because a lot of the information was wrong.
When I finally revealed that it was a hoax, she breathed a sigh of relief and exhaled “thank goodness” and we both had a good laugh and for about 30 minutes she told me some great Andy stories.
For those who missed it, the reveal was in the final paragraph of the column:
“I recently visited with Andy’s cousin April and I told her—I’m not a Fool— but could not resist the opportunity to bring a little bit of Rockdale’s past, back to the future.”
As Andy’s granddaughter Judy informed me, Andy doesn’t have any relatives named April. I know, I made her up.
What this incident proves is how much Andy’s was revered and loved.
The plain truth is no one could replicate Andy’s. It was one of a kind and always will be. So those of us who had the chance to enjoy it should cherish our wistful memories.
While we’re on the subject, I’ve always wanted to reopen the skating rink...