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A doggone sad day at Dinglewood

COLUMBUS, Ga. - Walking away from a job you've held for almost four decades can be quite emotional. Just ask Earnestine King, whose last day behind the counter at Dinglewood Pharmacy was Saturday.

Later this year Dinglewood Pharmacy in Columbus celebrates it's 100th anniversary. For decades folks have flocked to its nostalgic soda fountain to get their scramble dog fix. One of the familiar faces whipping up those hot dog delicacies is Earnestine King.

Phil: "How old were you when you first started? "

"I was 22.  I came through that door right there and I met two wonderful men...Lieutenant and Terry Hurley," says Earnestine King, Dinglewood Server for 38 Years.

Terry is the owner who hired Earnestine. Lieutenant is the face of the pharmacy who has been on the payroll for over 70 years. He's synonymous with the scramble dog. A red wiener smothered in chili and sprinkled with oyster crackers and onions. Lieutenant made a cameo appearance just to wish Earnestine well on her retirement.

Phil: "How long have you been knowing this young lady here?

"For years and years...over 30 years," says Lieutenant Stevens.

Phil: Tell me about Earnestine the person.

"Real lovable, sweet person.  We got along fine. We worked real good together," says Lieutenant Stevens.

Earnestine is thankful for everything she learned from Lieutenant.

Phil:  "What did he teach you about cooking, or did you know all that?

"I knew a lot about cooking 'cause I came from a cooking family.  As far as the chili, he taught me well on the chili," says Earnestine King.

Phil: Now that's a secret recipe nobody knows, right?

"Right.  They would have to kill me to get that secret. Lieutenant: Yep, yep, yep," says Earnestine King.

During her last week of work, customers expressed their love and appreciation to Earnestine. She received flowers and was celebrated with a cake. The owner says the prescription for the pharmacy's success is hiring folks like Earnestine.

"It's not the structure.  It's not the name. It's not the recipe. It's the people. She has been a really good
employee.  She has been a friend. And she has Dinglewood at heart. Can't say any more that that," says Terry Hurley, Dinglewood Pharmacy Owner. "I'm going to miss my customers.  I'm going to miss Lieutenant.  I'm going to miss the Hurleys. But I gotta go, I gotta go."

I was curious as to how many scramble dogs Earnestine has served up over 38 years. If you conservatively figure she made 50 a day, 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year, for 38 years. That adds up to 475,000 scramble dogs! Almost half a million.


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