Here’s to the red, white … and green?

Published 8:32 pm Tuesday, May 8, 2012

My mother and Krispy Kreme share something. No, it’s not that both of them are sweet. That’s true. No, it’s not that both of them are products of the South. That’s true.

Just what is it they share? Each turns 75 in July. My mother reaches that milestone July 3. Krispy Kreme reaches that milestone July 13. My mother’s familial roots are in Georgia. Krispy Kreme’s roots are in Winston-Salem.

One of my first memories is that neon sign on the corner of the parking lot for the Krispy Kreme in Pensacola, Fla., in the early 1960s. That sign was somewhat animated in that it featured an arm moving a doughnut toward the mouth of a human face. The complete movement took about four segments and two seconds. To someone in kindergarten, it was impressive.

Oh yeah! Those glazed doughnuts — just fried and iced — where impressive, too. To this day, they remain impressive.

The Krispy Kreme of my boyhood days in Pensacola was at the intersection of Pace Boulevard and Fairfield Drive. I can take you to that site today, but why bother? Alas, the Krispy Kreme that I remember is no longer there. How can I remember its location after all these years?

That’s easy. Just down the road was the first McDonald’s that I ever visited. In those days, there was no inside dining. One placed an order at a walk-up window, paid the cashier, waited for the order to be handed out the window before sitting down at a table or driving home with 15-cent burgers, 10-cent fries and a soda (and on special occasions, a milkshake). I cannot remember the price for a soda or milkshake. I do remember that one could eat well for 50 cents.

Less than 150 yards from Krispy Kreme was a Baskin-Robbins ice-cream parlor, where I developed a love for licorice ice cream. That’s right, I said licorice ice cream. Actually, I loved licorice ice cream (a dark gray in color) on top of banana ice cream. What a great flavor combination.

How could a towheaded young’un go wrong in the early days of the 1960s with Krispy Kreme, McDonald’s and Baskin-Robbins so close to one another? If my pleading to stop at Krispy Kreme did not bring about a visit to Krispy Kreme, by the time I got through pleading for a visit to one of the other places, my parents (or grandparents) would be pulling into McDonald’s or Baskin-Robbins. I suspected, at times, I was a convenient excuse for stopping at Krispy Kreme, McDonald’s or Baskin-Robbins.

Of course, I’ve got photographs of my mother. I’ve also got a photograph (actually a print reproduced by way of a color copier) of my Krispy Kreme, too. The good folks at Krispy Kreme headquarters in Winston-Salem sent it to me several years ago.

I am a bit early, but happy birthday to my mother and Krispy Kreme.

I hope both of them are around for many more years to come.


Mike Voss covers the city of Washington for the Washington Daily News. He still gets excited whenever he sees that sign in a Krispy Kreme store window announcing “hot” doughnuts.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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