Originally, he started in the restaurant business with Ken’s Drive-In at Baxter in 1967. Then in 1979, he opened the Western Sizzlin’ Steakhouse in the present location at Dressen. Ken was a congenial host of the establishment and often held court at the front table when folks came by for their meals. Make no mistake about it. Ken was an excellent storyteller and loved to amuse his customers. He even published a small book containing dozens of his amusing anecdotes. Here are a few.
“Paddy was driving down the street in a sweat because he had an important meeting and couldn’t find a parking place. Looking up to the heavens, he said “Lord, take pity on me. If you find me a parking place, I will go to Mass every Sunday for the rest of my life and give up my Irish whiskey.” Miraculously, a parking place appeared. Paddy looked up again and said, “Never mind, Lord, I found one.”
Ken is such a good storyteller and here’s another one of his favorite Irish anecdotes. “An Irish priest is driving down to New York and gets stopped for speeding in Connecticut. The state trooper smells alcohol on the priest’s breath and then sees an empty wine bottle on the floor of the car. He asks, “Sir, have you been drinking?” “Just water” replies the priest. The trooper says “Then why do I smell wine?” The priest looks at the bottle and says “Good Lord! He’s done it again!”
This next one will surely bring a smile to your lips and a chuckle for those with whom you share it. “An 80 year-old woman was arrested for shoplifting. When she went before the judge, he asked her, “What did you steal?” The woman replied, “A can of peaches.” The judge inquired why she had stolen them and she answered that she was hungry. The judge then asked her how many peaches were in the can. She responded, “Six.” The judge then said, “I will give you six days in jail.” The husband spoke up and asked the judge if he could say something. “What is it?’ asked the judge. The husband said, “She also stole a can of peas.”
Finally, here’s a jest aimed at the elderly. It goes like this and Ken loves to tell it to anyone who comes into the restaurant complaining of their aches and pains. “A group of senior citizens were sitting around talking about their ailments. “My arms are so weak I can hardly hold this cup of coffee” said one. “Yes, I know. My cataracts are so bad I can’t even see my coffee” replied another. “I can’t turn my head because of the arthritis in my neck” said a third, to which several nodded weakly in agreement. “My blood pressure pills make me dizzy” claimed another. “I can’t even remember what I’m doing half the time; if I don’t make myself a note, I forget what I’m trying to do in the first place.” chimed yet another. “I guess that’s the price we pay for getting old” grumbled an old man as he shook his head. There was a short moment of silence, then one woman said cheerfully, “Well, it’s not that bad. Thank the Lord we can all still drive.”
Ken and his dear wife, Bettye, have promised not to disappear from the local scene completely. They’ll still be around to smile and share their wonderful stories with us. Now that a new chapter has begun in their lives, I wish them health, happiness and Godspeed.