Yummy S.O.S., great friend Robert Crout

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How many of you men remember back in the day coming home from working a long day, tired and very hungry, and found your wife in the kitchen stirring a skillet of S.O.S?

I can remember when I was a kid growing up in the 70’s that we stayed with grandma from about 7 a.m. until my mom came to pick us up that night about 6 p.m. So many times, I remember my grandma began anticipating what she was going to cook for my grandpa for dinner.

I can still hear her evaluating her kitchen trying to decide if she had a package of taco meat seasoning, flour for chicken fried steak, enough eggs for breakfast food (for dinner) or a whole chicken in the freezer she could cut-up and fry. So many times, I remember her just settling on making S.O.S.

Now, for your veterans, who know what I am talking about, let’s describe exactly what we are talking about here. S.O.S. was very popular during World War II and was frequently served in the mess halls and on our Navy ships during the war. Simply put, S.O.S. is an acronym for s— on a shingle or to better describe it, thinly sliced beef swimming in white gravy served on toast. S.O.S. is one of those dishes that doesn’t take long to prepare and no one on this planet could make it faster than Grandma Ross.

Grandpa would always get home from working his job at American Trailers, go take a quick shower, then ask grandma what was for dinner. I never once heard him complain about what she was making. He ate everything on his plate and always told her how good it was. Try finding that today!

Grandma would always pop those two pieces of bread out of the toaster and start spooning that S.O.S. from her skillet on top of that toast. Grandpa would cover it in salt and pepper and then get busy. I guess he had eaten so much S.O.S. during his time in the Navy that he was just happy to have anything to eat.

I am reflecting on my grandparents today to remind myself where I came from. We were just a simple family with very little money, just a plain house and three channels to choose from on the television. We never had any extra money for a candy bar and never could afford to go to the fireworks stand or even out to eat at a restaurant.

Today, as my oldest daughter Lauren celebrates her 23rd birthday, she will probably want and expect me to take her, her boyfriend, her sister and her boyfriend and a couple of their friends to dinner at Charleston’s, Cattleman’s, or Uncle Julio’s. In remembrance of the tougher times in my life, I am going to ask the restaurant manager to prepare me a plate of S.O.S. in honor of my grandparents and for all the sacrifices they have made for me.
If you’ve never had S.O.S., give me a call and I’ll have you over for dinner.

* * * * *

Back in 1997, Randel Grigsby (former owner of the Yukon Review) and I met Mustang News owner Robert Crout at Steak and Ale when it was located at I-40 and Meridian. Robert Crout and Randel Grigsby were both graduates of the University of Oklahoma and I loved listening to them talk over lunch about their college days and business conquests.

Randel and I were in a growth mode and wanted to buy the Mustang News from Robert and had determined it was worth $300,000.

As we talked business over our salad plate, Randel got really agitated with Robert due to Robert’s non-committal attitude to our cash offer. I remember how Robert was really working Randel to give him more money and to just show Randel who was the better businessman.

I really liked both of these guys. They both had beautiful wives, Robert had Kathy and Randel had Karen. They both were smart (and a little smart-assed!) Both were Republicans, both had some money and both loved the newspaper business.

Robert finally made Randel so damn mad that Randel told Robert we were buying him out and that was the way it was going to be. Randel told him he was putting in $225,000, Anderson is putting in $75,000 and you are taking it or we are starting another paper in Mustang! Randel then got up from the table, told me to pay the bill for lunch and left us both sitting there at Steak and Ale on a cold and cloudy day!

I just sat there and told Robert to be cool. He was way ahead of me.

Crout and I finished our lunch, agreed that we would give him $50,000 on December 31st and then $250,000 during the first week of January. Robert was already planning his tax strategy!

Robert Crout was killed in a tragic car/truck crash this week. Heaven now has a new publisher for the Heaven Daily Herald. I’m sure Randel turned over those reins to him this week.

Thank you, Robert, for all you have done my friend. You are the very best of the best.
Thanks so much for reading. I will see you next Saturday. Would you like a Progress?