QUESTION: We had a great time recently at the drive-in movie in Imperial. What a great way to spend an evening. What ever happened to the playground they had? Do they plan to ever bring it back? — Movie-goer, El Centro
You must have missed at least part of that series of letters and questions when PROBE readers went back to yesteryear to recall their youth at the drive-in.
Mark Gran, the Imperial City Council member and former manager of the Imperial drive-in, said the playground was taken out due to fears of a lawsuit if a kid fell down and broke his crown.
Since many Americans still see an injury as an opportunity to make extra money, we doubt the playground will be rebuilt.
A MINCE EMPANADA — Since you started the quesadilla marathon, I have been waiting for you to mention the other name for the delicacy, "empanada." You finally did.
Several years ago, outside Imperial, there was a place called El Tiki or Wilson's Corner. Nobody made Mexican food like Bennie Wilson. He made an empanada filled with mince meat, deep-fried and sprinkled with powdered sugar.
I have been making this dish for years for my friends. Wherever you go, you will not get Mexican food like we have here — unless you go to Mexico. — Aficionado, Imperial
You are talking of the El Tiki Restaurant at Wilson's Corner, a little settlement at the intersection of Highway 111 and Worthington Road.
Wilson, an El Centro teacher by day, served a pitcher of beer with a hand full of olives. He called it "the poor man's martini."
Our mother used to make something similar to an empanada. She rolled out a piece of biscuit dough and stuffed it with a dried apple mixture and fried it. She called it a fried pie.
She kept the dried apples in a cellophane bag at the top of a closet. One day, we climbed up, grabbed a couple of apple slices. And kept going back for more.
When Mama went for apples to make the fried pie for Daddy's lunch, she found an empty bag.
She lined the three of us up in front of the pilfered closet. "Who ate the dried apples?" she asked.
All of us chorused, "I didn't."
Mama was no fool. It was plain somebody ate the dried apples because she held the empty bag in her hand.
"Open your mouths," Mama said, and inspected teeth.
She found the evidence in our molars.
To this day, our sister says, "Remember when you ate the dried apples and you lied?" and we feel the flush of shame from our guilty teeth to our innocent toes.
That's how the phrase "lying in your teeth" began.