A chocolate shake and an old-fashioned hamburger are all you need

Abraham Villarreal
3 min readSep 5, 2022
A classic hamburger at a late-night burger joint is one of those things you have to experience with a good friend.

Part of my job is to attend city council meetings. It’s one of those once-a-month events where you know you’ll be one of the few people in the audience to experience the tried and true ritual of local government meetings.

The hitting of the gavel is first, then the pledge, in our town an opening prayer, and then the business of making decisions. Everyone is cordial to each other. Sometimes town people show up to state their concerns, their needs.

For me, the highlight comes after the meeting when one of the city officials always invites me for a chocolate shake at one of the hamburger joints a few blocks away. I don’t have the chocolate shake; he does. And he really enjoys it.

It takes a while for us to make our order. The chocolate shake enthusiast knows everyone, and if he doesn’t know them, he wants to know them. He’s a retired educator, and he swears everyone in town under the age of 50 was in his high school history class.

That includes me. I was in his class back in the 1990s. So was the waitress, and her sister. He shakes everyone’s hands, asks them how they have been and what they are doing these days. “You’re going to college, right?” he asks.

No matter what they answer, he gives them some encouragement and lets them know that they are on the right track. That what they’ve always wanted since their high school days is still around the corner.

When we sit down to order I have a coffee, and if I haven’t eaten dinner, one of their entrees. He usually gets a hamburger. On the menu there are hamburgers of all kinds. Double patties, extra cheese, bacon, mushrooms, you name it.

“I’ll have an old-fashioned hamburger,” he says with a big smile as if it’s something that he’s wanted all his life. “An old-fashioned hamburger?” the waitress asks. “Yup.” There isn’t one on the menu. She asks if he wants a cheeseburger without cheese and he says, “No, just an old-fashioned hamburger.”

I like a guy that knows what he wants because it’s something that he has had all his life, and there is no need to change it. A chocolate shake and an old-fashioned…

Abraham Villarreal

People are interesting. I write about them and what makes them interesting.