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July 15, 2011 / Gaston Today Magazine

Rocks in My Head: The Ranch House is CLOSED?

Rocks in My Head

Darryl Warren

“The Ranch House is gone.  Fred Kirby is dead.  Dear Lord, don’t take the BBQ King!”

There are a few things that I am sure the Good Lord gave our little slice of Earth because we are special.  Among those are Dukes Mayonnaise, Sun-Drop, Fred Kirby, Ric Flair, The Chairmen of the Board, Mother’s Finest, Sims Park, The Catawba River, the BBQ King, and The Ranch House.  Since the Ranch House has closed, I want to pause to reflect on what it means to be lucky enough to be “from here.”

As a kid, The Ranch House was THE place to go when my mom and dad got a raise, somebody died or got married, or when my Maw-Maw won the jack-pot at Wednesday night Bingo.  I don’t remember much about the food, all I remember is that I had to take a bath in the day-time and put on long pants.

In high school, it was THE place to take your prom date.  You could head across the river; stop at The Get-away or Pac-n-sac for some “pony boy” Millers, and head to The Ranch House for a Shrimp “Cocktale” (that’s the way it was spelled on the menu) and T-Bone for Two.  I took my first love, Catherine, that way for our Prom Date.  Ask me how that turned out…..As my friend John Boy would say, “Not Too Good!”

For starters, I waited till the day before the prom to look for a Tuxedo.  And just like the year before, the only ones they had left were the Canary Yellow Tuxedos with the brown lapel.  Since I had worn that one the year before (yep, I waited till the day before that year too) and got laughed at the whole night, I decided to just wear my Sunday suit and tie.  Mom got mad, but there was not much she could do other than shake her head.  When I picked-up Catherine, I also forgot to tell her that my best friends Charles and Vic were going to the prom with us.  I also made her buy me $5 worth of gas and ½ the pony boy Millers.  I still don’t understand why that girl didn’t marry me…..

Anyway, after Catherine kissed her mom and dad goodbye and hopped in my ’68 Firebird with AC/DC blaring thru my Jenson Speakers, we headed to The Ranch House.  As we crossed the bridge, Catherine asked what “time the reservations” were for.  I looked at Vic and Charles and we just laughed and laughed!  I think Vic thumped her in the back of the head and told her to “be quiet, she’s lucky he’s letting her sit up front!”

Catherine was a beautiful  girl in her powder blue prom dress.  The Corsage that I made her was black with “Deepest Sympathy” written on it.  Even though she said she said she loved it, I think she knew then we were not meant to be.  As we passed The Ranch House, Catherine said something and pointed, but Vic, Charles, and Bon Scott were singing too loud to hear what she said.

Pulling into The BBQ King for my prom dinner and seeing Catherine crack a smile was one of those “click” memories that will never go away.  She sure was a good sport.  Over thirty years later, we all still laugh about that “date.”  I’ve also apologized to her mother for being such a jack-ass.  They were good sports.  I would have hit me on the head with a hammer.

On a side note, Charles and Vic still go on every date with me; we still listen to AC/DC and STILL eat at The BBQ King!  Sorry about the Ranch House closing, but long live the KING!!!

Rock and Roll, Best Friends, BBQ, and Yellow Tuxedos made me who I am….A Carolina Man.

The Darryl



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