Sunday, September 3, 2017

Der antenna topper

When we lived in New Mexico we spent a lot of our fast food time either at the walk up window, or in the drive through of the local Der Wienerschnitzel. There was no dining area so basically everything you ordered was to go, they did have a few tables for sitting outside but that was about it.

For those who have never heard of Der Wienerschnitzel or Wienerschnitzel as they are known now, I guess Der was too hard to say so they dropped it, they even changed their logo from the big D/W and the name Der Wienerschnitzel to a big red W with Wienerschnitzel across the front but anyways. What I was going to tell you is they claim to have the best hot dogs and chili dogs around, but they do sell other items including Tastee-Freeze ice cream.

This post is not about their history though, it is not even about the restaurant, what we are going to talk about today is the famous hotdog, not the one you eat but the life of the one that was stuck on our van.

Cindy's go to fast food fix is a, "Chili dog no dog", simply because she hated the hotdogs but loved everything else about Wienerschnitzel's chili dog. That is until they started making a chicken corn dog, now that one is so good I even like it, Ok back to the story.

One day when Cindy pulled up to the window to get her chili dog no dog. The girl at the window said, Hey Cindy do you want to get a hot dog today? No, Cindy replied, I never eat the hotdogs. The girl laughed and said, you can't eat this hotdog... And before she could continue Cindy said, I can't eat any of your hotdogs.

Plastic hotdog shaped topper for an automobile radio antenna
The hotdog topper looked like this new.
The girl held out a plastic wrapped hot dog antenna topper, Cindy was in love and snatched him up right away, I installed him on top of the radio antenna on our van. It looked really good until the first time we got on the highway. At highway speeds this hot dog was heavy enough to bend the antenna back towards the windshield. Cindy and the kids thought it was funny, the faster she went the more the antenna bent backwards.

Wienerschnitzel hot dog antenna topper leaning backwards on automobile radio antenna.
It about scared me to death. I could just see the antenna being ripped from the fender and sailing through the windshield or the passenger window. That hot dog was flopping around all over the place and sometimes pointing straight at me, I really didn't want to be forced into going into the emergency room with a plastic hot dog impaled in my body along with a car antenna impaled into his. I wonder how you would explain that to the insurance company.

On the car insurance form I'd have to claim we were hit head on by a flying hot dog, and the medical claim would be something like, stabbed in right shoulder with a car antenna by a crazed plastic hotdog. The easiest thing to do was to have Cindy pull the van over and slide the hot dog down to the lower end of the antenna, this is what I chose to do.

View out of the windshield following two vehicles with hot dog antenna topper in lower right corner
During this time in our lives we were vacationing in South Carolina one year and California the next. Our vacations were always road trips and Der Antenna Topper always went with us, he didn't cause much trouble and probably traveled one hundred thousand miles on that antenna. The hot dog faded in color but held on tight, a lot of people got a kick out of seeing a hot dog on our antenna, and we got used to having him there.

When we traded vans we didn't have the heart to let him go, so I took him from the old van and installed him on our new van, the kids had grown and they were all driving now, but the hot dog topper was still going along for the ride with Cindy and I.

We almost lost him in Jackson, Tennessee one year, we love stopping in Jackson and were coming out of a restaurant when Tim pointed and said, I wonder what that man is doing over there? I walked up to the guy who had the hot dog slid all the way to the top and was wiggling it around trying to get the hot dog to turn loose of the ball at the top of the antenna.

Can I help you? I asked him. He was a polite devil. He said, No thank you I almost have it. Then he stopped and looked at me. This your van?, He asked. Yes it just happens to be my van, what are you doing messing with it?, Oh sorry I was just admiring your hot dog, he told me. I said, it sure looks like you were trying to take him off my antenna. No sir, No sir that's not it, he said as he jumped in his truck and drove away.

View out of windshield of a semi truck trailer with hot dog antenna topper appearing to look at it.
That hot dog navigated another hundred thousand miles with us on the new van, he bravely faced a lot of traffic situations, thunderstorms, bird bombings, car washes, and actually held on tight when one of the kids drove the van.

That is until Tim wrecked his own car, and while it was being repaired Cindy had a lapse in judgement and allowed Tim to drive the van to school. Tim's school was in Grady, NM, about thirty five miles away from our house, and Cindy figured it was easier to let Tim drive the van, than to drive seventy miles twice a day to take him to and from school.

This went well until Tim came home with a crack in the windshield, no side mirror, no antenna, and worst of all No Hot Dog!

It seems there was road construction going on, and one of those pesky signs just jumped out and barely tapped the van, Tim didn't even see it.

Barely tapped the van! And you didn't see it! Where is my Hot Dog?

We actually drove out to Grady and found the only sign that was turned sideways with it's little corner bent and had a black mirror that matched the one from our van lying just past it. But we never found the antenna nor was the hot dog ever seen again.

I can see how Tim missed seeing that sign. You don't really believe that do you? Heck that sign was only about a four foot wide and it was orange for goodness sake, it even had large black letters screaming Road Construction Ahead! I believe that I could have seen that sign with my eyes closed...

Hot dog antenna topper viewed through windshield with pickup truck in background.
I can't believe that we had this hot dog antenna topper travel approximately 200,000 miles from coast to coast on two different vans without flying off, avoided being hotdognapped in Tennessee by holding onto the antenna tighter than the thief could pull, stuck with Cindy through drive throughs, school pick ups and drop offs... you get the idea.

Der Wienerschnitzel hot dog running.
Then halfway into a thirty five mile trip with Tim, the little hot dog breaks free from the van somewhere near Grady, NM and runs away dragging his little antenna behind him.

We did get a new topper, he was the same except for the addition of a red white and blue top hat. But really it never was the same again...

49 comments:

  1. No, it's not the same as the original, but what a story. Fun story.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. Hi Sandee, We never did find the original one, he's probably still on someones car somewhere ha ha.

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  2. I love that guy! And I'm happy you got photos of him before he was lost. But what a story about the weiner thief!

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    1. Hey Bijoux, I had to laugh when that was all said and done, I couldn't believe he was actually trying to take it off the antenna, then said "I'm just admiring your hot dog" ha ha
      Wiener thief for sure ;)

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  3. He's out there somewhere...looking for you....asking everyone he meets. Poor little guy.

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    1. Hello Delores, I figure he is on one of the farmers trucks out there in Grady somewhere, no telling where he landed.

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  4. I had to check, and yes they can be bought on the net...they look the same, but they could never replace the original.

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    1. Hey Joe, I'll have to check into that, we don't have one at all now, sad thing is we left the last one on the van when we gave it to Tim and his wife...need I say what happened to the van?

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    2. online?? I have to check, my brother would love one. Do you remember the web address joeh?

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  5. Replies
    1. Hello Fran, he was kind of cute...for a hot dog.

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  6. There is one on eBay right now for $14.99 http://www.ebay.com/itm/WIENERSCHNITZEL-RUNNING-HOT-DOG-ANTENNA-TOPPER-/122645698965?hash=item1c8e40d995:g:fIIAAOSwENpZjzUZ My husband used to collect toppers so I know how you can get attached to them. we were bummed out when our new car didn't even have an antenna.

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    1. Oops, yours was not the running hot dog. Here's another. Apparently they had a least three different ones. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Wienerschnitzel-Hot-Dog-All-American-Antenna-Topper-Wienie-New-MIP-2001-/372061562523?hash=item56a098e69b:g:z9cAAOSwAExZndB7

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    2. Thank you Jean, They had several different ones over the years, they were a lot of fun to have but like you said most cars either have no antenna or the littlr stubby one now.

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  7. Great story. I would have been very, very sad to lose him.

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    1. Thank you EC, we were not happy about it at all, we actually went out there a few times searching for him.

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  8. Replies
    1. Hey Adam, Good one man, hopefully he is.

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  9. You should have snuck up behind that thief, and yelled, "GET YOUR HANDS OFF MY WEINER!"

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    1. Oh my gosh Val, I wish I would've thought of that.

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  10. Oh, my, sorry to hear about that. Sometimes those little things can become part of your life. Getting another would be like getting another cat (dog, car, lucky shirt) the same color - not the same.

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    1. Very true Sharon, The monetary value wasn't the issue. Like you pointed out sometimes the little things in our lives are somewhat irreplaceable even though a replacement is available.

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  11. My daughter had a stuff bear toy as a toddler that took everywhere, including into Disney World while we were on vacation. By that time she was okay leaving in the storage compartment on the back of the portable stroller we were using. As you might expect, after the Winny the Pooh ride both the stroller and the bear were gone.

    Like the Hot Dog topper we were able to purchase an exact copy of the bear at Downtown Disney but somehow it wasn't the same for her.

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    1. Oh yes losing a cherished friend like the stuffed bear can be devastating for a child, even though you replaced it with an exact copy she still longed for the lost one. I wonder if it is more about the memories attached to the item more than the item itself?

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  12. Reading this story, I got attached to it too. I can understand why the new one was never the same.

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    1. Hello Denise, Isn't it funny how little things like this can grab you ;)

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  13. So sad! Like losing a treasured family member! But the adventures he had and the stories he could have told!

    betty

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    1. Hello Betty, I would love to hear "all" of the stories he could have told, especially the ones when Tim had the van...

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  14. When I read your title, I thought you had a tale about fox tails and other assorted antenna toppers from the 60s. I liked the hotdog topper tale better :)
    Does Der Weinerschnitzel only do hotdogs and corndogs, plus ice cream?
    No actual schnitzels? That's disappointing in my opinion, there's nothing like a good schnitzel. Original schnitzels were made with veal, buy my mum used to make them with pork belly, called pork undercut at our butcher's, but I make them now with chicken.

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    1. Hello River, Wienerschnitzel is more of a fast food place, hotdogs and chili dogs mainly, but also really good hamburgers and chili cheeseburgers, they also have chicken sandwiches and they have started serving pastrami also which I haven't tried as of yet. As for fast food this is a good place to go.

      Your chicken schnitzel sounds really good.

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  15. You can never replace an old love! I never had a hot dog, even in New York .... am I missing something?

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    1. Hello Valerie, Hotdogs have never been my favorite and like anything else some are better than others, they are definitely worth a try because a lot of people love them, I hate to admit but Cindy did buy a family pack of chili dogs, corndogs, and chili cheese fries from Wienerschnitzel last week and they were reeeaaalllyy goood.

      I'm surprised that you didn't try a hotdog while you were in New York, if you decide to try one let me know what you think.

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  16. Great memories and funny stories! Thanks.

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    1. Thank you Sage, I am glad you enjoyed it.

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  17. What a delightful story and one that made me chuckle. It went through all your adventures with you, and it's understandable that you'd feel the way you do, nostalgic and all. Greetings to you.

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    1. Hello Blogoratti, I'm glad you had a good chuckle this morning, nostalgia does play into our lives more than we realize, and something like this little hotdog can bring it to life for all of us.

      Good to see you my friend.

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  18. First off, that hot dog looked a little nervous Jimmy, but it's clear he was determined to hang out with you guys no matter what. What a fun story. I just need to hang out with you guys one day! Hugs...RO Happy Labor Day!

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    1. Happy Labor Day RO, The little hotdog was a nervous looking guy, I suppose I would be too if I were attached to a car antenna haha.

      Maybe next time we come to Carolina we can all hang out one day, nothing planned soon but something to think about...

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  19. Wow, that attempted hotdognapper really had a pair didn't he? You ought to send the first part of the story to Farmer's Insurance. They "cover it all because they have seen it all." I can see the hotdog commercial now.

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    1. Hey Patti, I thought that too about him, we got a good laugh on how he played it off like he was just looking at it all the while he was getting into his truck and driving away. The flying hotdog would make a good Farmers insurance commercial haha, I love those.

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  20. I have to say, that hot dog looked a bit like a scared pole dancer! Sad that you lost him.

    And the German in me is happy the restaurant changed its name to just "Wienerschnitzel," because "Der Wienerschnitzel" is grammatically incorrect. It should be "Das Wienerschnitzel."

    (I proofread for a living...I am the Grammar Police, to serve and protect...ha!) ;-)

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    1. See I learned something new today, maybe the change in the name had something to do with it being grammatically incorrect, you never know.

      I am sure that you have seen plenty of grammatical errors here and I want to thank you for not arresting me :)

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  21. Replies
    1. That's about all we can say now Stephen, after this amount of time I am afraid that he is a goner.

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  22. I'd be sad to lose that well-travelled little guy, too. What a story to have in your memory bank, though!

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    1. Hello Jenny, Very true we don't have him anymore but the story is still here :)

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  23. You always have me laughing over here.
    Laughing, hot dog thief, stopped laughing like whooo! Starts laughing again, wreck, stops laughing again then I smile because the whole story is adorable.
    Lisa

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    1. Thank you Lisa, I am happy to hear that you are enjoying your visits, laughing is good and sometimes I think of things we have done and have to laugh at myself.

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