jollyk
Life Lessons: Jolly Kone Drive-In
                              Oildale, California
by Candace Pearson

Some days it will feel as if everyone else is on the way
somewhere and you’re still triple-frying taquitos.

“Easy Off/Easy On” does not come with a guarantee
on Highway 99 (or pretty much anywhere else).

All you can eat is not a bargain when deducted
each shift from a below-minimum-wage check.

What begins soft at the center stays that way. Never
expect solid info from ice cream pumped with air.

Three cherries on a banana split is one cherry too many
in the eyes of those with excess authority.

You are destined for more than truck exhaust
and griddle fumes. Honk your horn twice if you agree.

IMAGE: Jolly Kone sign (Bakersfield, CA).

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION:  A day away from the Jolly Kone Drive-In in Oildale, California (Los Angeles, 1968).

Pearson-Job

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I have always wanted to memorialize my time at the Jolly Kone Drive-In, which seemed iconic and life-shaping. Actually, it was tortuous and exploitive. The despot manager deducted the cost of food from our paychecks each night even if we didn’t eat it. My family ate a lot of taquitos, corn dogs, and soft-serve that year. I had to redeem the experience with a nod to the universal. The couplets echo the “easy on/easy off” of the highway exit.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION:  A day away from the Jolly Kone Drive-In in Oildale, California (Los Angeles, 1968).

CPearson1

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Candace Pearson tries to avoid fried foods these days. She toils away in a 100-year-old hiker’s cottage in the foothills of Altadena, California. Her poems have been published in some very fine journals, and her collection, Hour of Unfolding, won the Liam Rector First Book Prize from Longwood University.