Mickie's Dairy Bar in Madison, WI
As a college freshman back in 2002, I decided that it would be a good idea to stay up all night the Tuesday of Thanksgiving week goofing around with my friends. Given the long weekend approaching, I rightly figured it wouldn't be too hard to go to my Wednesday classes on no sleep knowing that in a few hours I'd be on my way home for the holiday. This stupid idea was known as "All Night Party."
That tradition was repeated the following year as a sophomore. As was my custom, I caught the last running bus from Laura's dorm to mine at 2 a.m. (Note: My, how times have changed. The only thing that could possible have me awake at 2 a.m. now is a teething baby.) Upon my return, All Night Party was repeated as a couple of buddies came over to play Tecmo Bowl the rest of the night.
But sometime before I arrived back, Scott from across the hall placed a note on my door telling me that he and some friends were going out for breakfast at a local place called Mickie's Dairy Bar, and I was welcome to join them. Strangely, the note said the restaurant was super popular so we needed to get there early. In fact there would probably be a line at the door. We'd meet at 5:40.
Normally, I'd balk at such a ridiculous time, but I wasn't going to bed anyway. So when I heard Scott arise at around five, I leaped up from my Tecmo Bowl game to tell him I was in for breakfast.
Scott--still shaking off the cobwebs at that early hour--looked at me. He looked in my room (full of people, lights on and music going). Then he looked at me again and said, "You haven't been to bed yet, have you?"
Guilty as charged.
We piled in a friend's car and headed for Mickie's. There was no line out the door so we waited in the dark and cold alone. Getting a little delirious due to the lack of sleep, I began to slide around on a patch of ice as though I had ice skates on. When the sun rose shortly before the restaurant's 6 a.m. opening, it revealed I was sliding on a pile of frozen vomit. (Later that day, I found the only thing that could rid my shoes of the stench was a strongly scented shampoo I'd been using.)
Anyway, breakfast was great, so we repeated the trip the next year. Fortunately, there was no vomit involved this time. But as we left Mickie's, a I decided to "raise the roof" to a school bus as it drove by. About 70 kids raised the roof in unison right back at me. You're going to just have to take my word as to how awesome a sight it was.
Each year, we've continued the day-before-Thanksgiving trip to Mickie's (which I used to describe as "like Thanksgiving, but with better food--and people). Some of the folks who came with in the early years left town after school. I think Scott is still in Madison, but I haven't seen him since we finished school back in 2006. And the annual breakfast was interrupted for a year when I lived in Chicago.
But there's a core of three of us that still return--year-after-year--to re-ignite the tradition. We're now accompanied by our wives and a total of five kids. And last week marked the 10th annual Thanksgiving Wednesday Mickie's trip. I sort of hope that in 2053, we'll be on some local morning TV news story about the three college buddies that have had breakfast at the same place every year for half a century.
|Now that we all have kids, it's pretty impossible to snap a decent picture.|
|I'm a sucker for a good bacon, egg and cheese breakfast sandwich. Oh yeah, and that's a chocolate malt on the side.|
|My buddy Adam enjoys a man's breakfast.|
|The prices from the 1950s.|
|Here's the menu.|
|Mickie's Dairy Bar has...an actual bar.|
|True fact: Bucky Badger used to have a lady friend named Becky Badger (pictured here). She was exiled when students got angry thinking it was Bucky in drag.|