BY JAY LAMM | WSJ30.com
Before even getting there, the whistles blew — not in tune, not in unison; really, it was no concert. Instead, it was the soundtrack of any Oscar Mayer Wienermobile appearance.
The Wienermobile visited Lumpy’s Ice Cream in Wake Forest on Sunday afternoon, and the free whistles were a must have.
The mobile, one of a fleet of six that travels the country 52 weeks of the year, was at the downtown ice cream shop to help support store owner Buck Buchanan’s toy and donation drive for the Central Children’s Home of North Carolina.
“For the last 10 years, Lumpy’s has been putting on a drive to help the kids at the orphanage in Oxford have a better holiday,” said Buchanan.
The handlebar-mustache-wearing ice cream maker said he was going to do all he could and will take donations up to Christmas and beyond to help.
“There are two orphanages in Oxford. One looks like a college campus and then there is one that looks like an abandoned elementary school. That’s one we help,” he said.
Interacting with the staff of the Wienermobile, “Cold Cuts” Chole Kerch and “Chili Dog” C.J. Zabat, Buchanan got the crowd motivated about the iconic hot dog car and take pictures as ketchup, mustard bottles and a hot dog, while slipping in some information about the toy drive.
Lumpy’s even concocted a special “Hot Diggity Dog” ice cream flavor for the event.
Sandy Foudin, a 69-year-old Wake Forest nurse, was beside herself waiting to pose as the ketchup bottle.
“I have seen this car many times. I even applied for a driver’s job in the early 70s, but never got a reply,” she said.
Foudin said she had already asked if she could drive the car and was given a polite no from the Wienermobile staff. She then asked if she could see the inside. Another polite no.
Her fascination has always been with the vehicle, not exactly the actual hot dog.
“I’m from New York, and up there we eat Nathan’s Hot Dogs. In Wake Forest everyone loves the red Carolina Bright Leaf hot dogs. I don’t think I’ve eaten too many Oscar Mayer dogs,” she said.
With Elvis singing “Don’t Be Cruel” in the background, Foudin was determined not to be turned down and at least get into the car.
“I’m going to go ask again,” as she walked toward “Chili Dog” and “Cold Cuts.”
The crowd was mostly of young adults and their kids. The parents probably weren’t of the age to remember much about the famous advertising vehicle, but the kids saw a car shaped like a hot dog. That’s all that mattered.
Foudin walked back to the car and was giving it an inspection.
“They still said no to me getting in … that’s OK,” she laughed. “But, I can relish the thought of driving it someday.”