White Castle Is History

Ernie Chiles at Painton Airport 08-13-2014Ernie Chiles and I went flying Wednesday. It’s amazing how his Cessna 150 keeps getting smaller and smaller every year. I don’t remember that much togetherness when we started going up together when I was in high school. He flies out of a grass strip airport down in Painton (if you have to ask, you wouldn’t know where it is even if I told you). His plane was born the year I graduated from Central.


While Ernie was prepping the plane – I think that means he counts the wings, checks to see if the oil is black enough and makes sure there is more gas than water in the fuel tanks – I wandered around looking at stuff in the hangar. Next to the door, there was a wooden hinged sign. It read, “IN CASE OF FIRE, RAISE THIS COVER.”

I knew I shouldn’t do it, but, finally, I just had to raise the cover. Yep, I should have left it alone.

Ernie Chiles at Painton Airport 08-13-2014He greased it in

Taking off from Painton Airport 08-13-2014After taking off, we made a pass by Cairo to see the Muddy Mississippi pushing the Ohio River back upstream, then flew over Thebes to see the courthouse on the hill and the railroad bridge. We did a quick scan of Cape’s riverfront, shot some fresh quarry photos in Fruitland and headed back to base.

Now, I’m not exactly sure how old Ernie is, but I’m pretty sure he’s now as old as the dirt he taught me about in Earth Science class at Central. I like to fly at 1,000 feet (or lower), the legal minimum over populated areas, but Ernie, being an old and conservative pilot, never likes to give away altitude without an argument, so we generally hang out at about 1,500 feet. He believes in the pilot’s adage that “There ain’t nothin’ as useless as altitude above you, runway behind you or fuel on the ground in the truck.”

On final, I asked Ernie to let me know when I should start screaming. “I don’t want to start too early and be all out of screams when I really need one, but I also don’t want to wait too long and perish before I get the last one out.”

Well, as it turned out, he greased it in so smoothly that I couldn’t tell when the wheels touched the grass. I could tell that even HE was pleased, although he says any landing you can walk away from is perfectly acceptable. That leaves me with a wonderfully crafted scream all bottled up unused.

So what’s with the White Castle?

White Castle demolition 08-13-2014Just as we were finishing up a couple of BBQ sandwiches in celebration of cheating death one more time, Mother called to ask if we had landed yet. She was stranded at the Dollar Tree and needed her battery jumped. If I was available, she wouldn’t call AAA.

On the way there, I passed what used to be the White Castle at the corner of William and Siemers Drive. When I opened up The Missourian on my laptop, I saw that Laura Simon had beaten me to the scene. Here is a story about the May 13, 2014, fire.


13 Replies to “White Castle Is History”

  1. At one time we would travel long distances to get to a White Castle. Once it was in our back yard I don’t remember ever eating there. The farther you have to travel the more exotic and tastier the food is.

  2. Any plans for White Castle to rebuild? It would be a shame if they do not rebuild. I remember travelling to St. Louis and making stops at the White Castle in Crystal City (it was a must stop) and relishing every bite of those little belly bombers!! I was so happy to hear that the White Castle was being built in Cape and stopped in many times to have 2 or 4 belly bombers myself! I was saddened to hear of the fire and the demolition of the business. I really hope they do rebuild. I don’t live in Cape anymore, but all of my family lives there and when I do come in for a visit I would like to be able to go to White Castle again and enjoy more belly bombers!!!

  3. Every fifteen years or so I crave White Castles! I remember when they were five cents. Down south there was a similar chain called Krystal.
    When I was in high school there was a drive-in on North Kingshighway, I think called Dari-Kastle. Hamburgers were seven for a dollar.

  4. Bill, Krystal is still alive and well in the south. We even have one here in Ellijay. We haven’t eaten there, though, because that’s one treat we leave for when we travel. The last time our son from Jackson, WY was here, he made sure he got himself some Krystals for the drive back to the Atlanta airport.

  5. A similar chain existed many years ago, 40’s called Toddle House. My Dad worked at one in Philadelphia and then in Harrisburg when I was a toddler!!

  6. Ken: Just letting you know – I received 3 of these newsletters this morning about “White Castle Is History.”

    1. Dorothy, I got two myself. If there is a hiccup while the list is sending mail, it goes all the way back to the front of the list and starts over. This is the first time it has happened in months (that I know of). For awhile it was a regular occurrence. The spammers were hitting the system that it would become overwhelmed and reboot to throw everybody off. If that happened while the mail was sending, it would blast out multiple copies with each restart.

  7. Gratifying to know that Ernie’s 150 is still grabbing sky, and that you grasp the full intent of the “fire alarm” in the hangar!!!…Also, on brighter notes of culinary matters, we will have a new White Castle here in Overland Park, sometime next year, hopefully near the same line of approach on Metcalf…..do not despair of getting “sliders” back to Cape, however it does appear that the old WC met a horrific end!!…..Be Well down there, Ken, and keep the stories flowing, always a good read and a grin……..more later, I’m sure…….Regards, kkr.

  8. That Dari-Castle was, of course, a knockoff of Dairy Queen. But the burgers were 7 for a buck, and cooked to order. I car-hopped there for a summer and for the first and only time met a professional car hop…a guy from St. Louis in this mid-twenties. Wonder where that career path led him? Maybe he owns a bunch of McDonalds by now. Their burgers were no match for White Castle, which can’t be found here on the west coast, dangit. Gotta buy the frozen ones, not the same but better than nutthin’

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