Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era
What next? Drive-through puddin'?
America has been a drive-through nation since the 1930s, when some banks began using drive-up windows for customers in a hurry to get their money.
Today it's not unusual for people to drop their letters into a drive-by mailbox or pick up their prescriptions at a drive-through pharmacy.
Fast-food restaurants are the most popular drive-throughs of all.
A couple of weeks ago, the entire funeral procession for a West York man stopped by a Burger King to get Whopper Jr.'s, the favorite meal of the deceased.
Several years ago, the Scribbler bought a cold beverage at a drive-through beer store on his way to the North Carolina shore.
So drive-throughs are ever-more popular.
But drive-through fasnachts?
Today -- Fasnacht Day -- Lancastrians can purchase the larded doughnuts without leaving their cars at Oregon Dairy, 2900 Oregon Pike, Lititz, and at the Manor Ridge Lions Club's benefit sale at Blue Rock Fire Rescue, in Washington Boro.
Making purchases of beer and burgers more convenient is one thing. But distributing fasnachts on the run?
It might be good for business and benefits, but it can't be good for bellies behind the wheels of automobiles when those lard bombs sink.
Real fasnachts -- no glazes -- are tasteless and boring. They are the bottom feeders of the old Pennsylvania Dutch traditions. Why can't we all agree to eat pancakes or something else that actually tastes good on Fat Tuesday?
Traditions can be changed.
If Monopoly players can substitute cats for irons as token playing pieces, we can ditch fasnachts for pancakes -- which is what the happy, hearty, healthy eaters of Merrie Olde England are consuming on this Fat Tuesday morning.
At least two men who raced at the Bird-in-Hand Speedway went on to win the Indianapolis 500: Bill Holland (1949) and Lee Wallard (1951).
James R. Way, of Salunga, knows that and a lot more about the Bird-in-Hand Speedway, AKA the Leaman Racetrack, which operated just north of Bird-in-Hand in the late 1930s.
Jim Way knows so much because his father, J. Earl Way, directed public relations for the speedway and preserved memories and photos of the enterprise.
Jim Way has his father's official race program from 1936 that calls the local track the "Central Speedway'' at Bird-in-Hand.
Times were faster at Bird-in-Hand than at Landisville, Lebanon and other tracks, according to J. Earl Way.
He would have known. He also served as secretary for the Central Pennsy Racing Association.
George Deitrich, an automobile repairman from Lancaster, was the race promoter and official timer at Bird-in-Hand. Bud Lincoln, also of Lancaster, was the announcer.
Joe Bob, the only racer who ever died on that track, crashed on April 27, 1936. Harry Beberian, the first aid captain, pronounced Bob dead.
"The night before the crash,'' J. Earl Way recalled in a brief sketch of the racetrack, "Joe Bob was the life of the party at the Abe Lincoln Hotel in Reading.''
The track also hosted soapbox and bicycle races until Paul Leaman, who owned the farm where the track was located, no longer had time to deal with speedsters on his property.
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