I love hot dogs.
I’ve made myself sick on them.
People have always told me about the disgusting things that are in them. As if I hadn’t read The Jungle in high school.
But I don’t care. They taste good.
Plain ones with mustard like you get at high school football games. Foot long cheese coneys from Sonic. And the sissy ones I make in the microwave at home with mayonnaise and sweet pickle relish.
But the best one I ever had was a Hebrew National on the Mall in Washington, D.C. No mustard. No relish. It was also the most expensive – seven bucks for a wienie, a bun and a bottle of water.
Capitalism at its finest. Taking advantage of hot, hungry tourists out to celebrate Independence Day in our nation’s capital.
That was the summer I worked for Congressman Charlie Stenholm from the 17th District of Texas. I spent most of the Fourth of July staking my claim on a spot on the Capitol steps to see the fireworks display.
My upper right arm is still scarred from the sunburn I got that day, but I didn’t care. I had a great view.
People around me were from all over the world. Some had moved to the U.S. just months before and spoke very little English. Another family was from New Jersey. One couple had lived in D.C. for decades and came to the display every year.
We all sat there and talked and they saved my spot so I could get up and go buy my hotdog.
Here I was all by myself in this big city, but it felt like I was at a ballgame back home.
It felt good to find my way through all of that. To see that I could go off by myself and work and learn my way around on my own. Made me feel like I could do anything.
Kinda like celebrating my own independence day.
And that’s worth a lot more than a seven-dollar hot dog.