One time, I was at the Ponderosa Steakhouse on Ridge Rd. in West Seneca. I was 10 years old and the year was 1982. Asia was the talk of the music world and Paulo Rossi got out of jail just in time to lead Italy to it’s first World Cup Championship in nearly 40 years.

There was no line at the Ponderosa salad bar. It was every man for himself. So, I saw an opening and went to grab the three or four edible things on the menu, and in the process  blocked an old man from getting to his croutons (that had probably been in a box for two years). The man (who was in his late 60s/early 70s) said, “Get the hell out of my way you little dago!” My quick response to him was, “I’m not even Italian, dude!” I went back to my table and told my friends how “jive” the whole encounter was. I think the man was probably surprised that any 10 year olds were even familiar with the racial slurs of the day.

The inside of the salad bar at Ponderosa was a story in and of itself. The white trash fat slobs were in such a hurry to gorge themselves that half the items on their plates fell into the bar onto other stuff. If you liked sweet and sour dressing, you were also forced to eat someone else’s bacon bits and who the hell knows what else. Some of the things in the salad dressing were living. Every four hours or so, a worker would come by and attempt to clean up, but by that time, the damage had already been done. Man, I miss that place.