We travel to Hicksville today and descend the stairs into the bustling town center that lies just below the tracks. We cross busy Broadway and make our way towards our destination: the Hicksville Sweet Shop.
We enter into the shop and bypass the rows of giant Easter bunnies that line the immediate interior. We soon realize that past the candies is a diner and eatery, rather more than its name. We note it is cash only, and there’s parking in the rear; front meters have a one-hour time limit if we decide to drive another day.
The diner has been in operation under differnt owners and in different locations for the past 125 years. This throwback is a no-frills establishment that welcomes patrons, who regularly return for childhood nostalgia. We overhear someone telling the waiter he used to come as a child and always makes it a point to stop by whenever he’s in town. This is the place where the regulars are in abundance and everyone seems to know their name.
The boys find their way towards the stools along the counter and soon are swiveling their bodies to and fro while they marvel at the activities that are taking place behind the counter. The workers take orders, reading their tickets back to the experienced chef who turns them out in a timely fashion. The boys watch as homemade ice cream is completed with a cherry on top.
We are able to pull them away from their swiveled marveling to move to a booth. The boys order off the kids menu: chicken tenders and fries. I order a grilled chicken Greek wrap. My mom, who made the trip with us, orders a classic grilled cheese. When our food comes out the boys race to see who can finish first their new favorite game is seeing who can be in the “Clean Plate Club.” Johnny wins and holds his empty plate up in triumphant success. Daniel gives up and is more interested in inspecting the rows of old photos that line the walls. I happily eat my chicken wrap while my mom eats her sandwich in a satiated silence. What make the wrap for me, is its delicious sauce that is found a few bites in and satisfies my taste buds.
The boys order their ice cream, which we take for the ride home. We all leave and I take comfort in the knowledge that places like this have survived the times and offer those a taste of their old memories and childhood sentimentality.