Filler Up

Filler Up

I remember when Filler Up

came to our village

we had heard so much about it

from TV and radio

and finally it was here

it started with free samples in schools

we kids couldn’t wait

for the first Filler Up fingers

to come spurting out

of the golden brown fat they were fried in

they were tastier

than the lamprey lunch we were usually served


Filler Up certainly did fill us up

we were soon clamouring

for Filler Up savoury plum pudding

in greased knuckles

that went so well with the Filler Up fingers

soon we had Cherry Cheeks to add to it


when the school term ended

the first drive-through Filler Up

opened just past the movie theatre

so we could get treats

before going into the movie

how outraged we all were

when the movie theatre

put up a sign that said

no outside food

they were out of business

by the end of that summer

along with

Ma’s Smelt Und Chips

two local bakeries

and the sales of cod dropped so drastically

the stocks began to build up again

I’m sure even the moose

sighed a sigh of relief

when the hunters stopped going out every day

as Filler Up saucy snappers

replaced the staple of moose

that was until Sarah Eel arrived

they made everything Filler Up

but with different names

knuckles became chuckles

fingers became shins

they made everything cheaper

Filler Up sued

and lost

because no one can own

exclusive rights

to good food


Filler Up went bankrupt

defending its reputation

Sarah Eel lasted a year here

the villagers didn’t want to support

their underhanded corporate tactics

once they were gone

Ma’s Smelt Und Chips


but their food never tasted

as good again

There is some true memory in this piece only the memory is of A&W opening in Sydney. It was a major event. This was one of the first major fast-food chains to open on the island. It was on what was then the outskirts of town. I recall the excitement of driving up, parking winding down the car window and a unformed waitress came for your order. Everyone loved the root beer.

Twenty minutes later she’d return with a tray that hooked on the car window if you wanted to eat right there in their parking area. It was greasy yummy food. Restaurants in town were distressed that this would ruin their business. It didn’t. Eventually McDonalds, Dairy Queen, KFC franchises opened. All before there was ever a Tim’s. I think they are all still there in fact. I saw the A&W the last time I was visiting my old stomping grounds.

Each one brought the modern world to Cape Breton – the first shopping mall with a K-Mart became a cultural mecca! The long standing businesses seemed rather staid & old fashioned. It felt as if the economy was on the upswing. I didn’t realize that these were franchises with investments by local business men – they weren’t influxes of money from outside. Some of them lasted. Some disappeared across the country. Some graduated – I think one became a Wal-Mart.

In editing this piece to talk about it here I made some changes – added a sense of an ending that the original didn’t have. Like many of the pieces it deals with the cost of progresses or perhaps the cost of the appearance of progress. I also indulge in my love of making up corporate names & weird foods. I haven’t been into an A&W since I left the east coast.



Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2018’s – sweet,eh?

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