A beloved Institution closes its doors

A beloved Institution closes its doors

By Floyd Miller

 

 

 

Webster’s dictionary describes an institution as a significant practice, relationship, or organization in a society or culture: something or someone firmly associated with a place or thing: an established organization or corporation. I believe Harold’s Barbeque fits that definition.When Harold’s father Tobe started the business in 1957. He lived in a much different world. It was the segregated south. It was a time when little black boys and girls didn’t play with or go to school with little white boys and girls. It was a time when our schools were referred to as “being separate but equal .” It was a time when, “you knew your place and you best stay in your place.”{{more}}Mr. Hal “Tobe” Christian decided to do something that took courage. His business would not separate people; they would come in the same door, and sit at the same tables. In other words theyRussell Christian, who has been working the business with his parents, looks at the huge crowd in the dining area. Photo by Floyd Miller would be equal at least for a meal. And everyone knew their place in Tobe’s restaurant. It was first place no matter who you were. Harold and Drucilla just built on the tradition that was passed down to them by adding their special touch. Harold, if you caught him on the right day could belt out a song as well as he could barbecue a brisket. Drucilla was most comfortable at the cash register, taking in the funds, visiting, and on many occasions Customers visiting and looking at the wall probably for the last time. There are alot of memories on those walls. Photo by Floyd Miller.letting out her infectious laugh. You only have to look at the walls in Harold’s to tell what was important to them. If the walls could talk, what a story they would tell. I believe that for the most part they would shout out songs of joy, but I believe there would be times that sadness and disappointment would be the topic of the day. Whether the day brought happiness or sadness, Harold and Drucilla persisted. As I stood in the long line this past Wednesday to get my sandwich, I talked with many individuals and they had wonderful stories about eating at Harold’s and their connection with his family. There were also conversations about different things that are taking place in our city and the nation. I believe that many of the hot topics of our community and the nation have been discussed at Harold’s over a meal during their 54 plus years of operation. If I had an out of town guest that I wanted to impress, I would take Garrett Sublette, Corey Patterson, Kevin Roberts and Councilman Anthony Williams. All of these gentleman are from ACU. Harold’s and ACU have a rich history. Williams said that he hated to see Harold’s close. Photo by Floyd Miller them to Harold’s Barbecue. I could always count on great food and a friendly West Texas welcome. In fact, I had a business associate in from Atlanta, Ga. this week. When it came time for lunch he wanted to go to Harold’s. He remembered the great food and hospitality from last year.As Harold and Drucilla enter another phase of their lives, Marilyn and I want to wish them the best. You have truly been a great example to this community in many ways. When you turn out the lights on Saturday you can do it with the satisfaction that you served this community well. May God Bless you. Harold’s Bar-B-Q started out as a place to eat. It became an institution. Photo by Floyd Miller.Look at Tobe’s prices in the 60’s. It just shows that inflation is at work and a person needs to be saving for the future. Photo by Floyd Miller.