Funyuns are the earliest junk food I can remember. I loved that satisfying crunch that came from something that may or may have not been, at one point, onions.
I have a single memory of funyuns from my childhood. I’m maybe five years old and sitting in the front seat of a pea green Pontiac with a man named O’Dell. I’m mowing through a bag of Funyuns that O’Dell got me from a vending machine. He’s picked me up from one place and taking me somewhere else. I’m not sure where we are going, but it’s ok because he’s a trusted soul. He’s a happy spot in the universe. He keeps his hair cut close and usually wears a thin brimmed hat which seems to be a bit of a holdover from the 60’s that just ended. Sharp earth toned suit and tie. He smiles a lot and is funny. As we go under the Summit Ave. bridge, he tells me to hold up the roof so it doesn’t collapse on us. I happily comply.
The pea green Plymouth and its owner are carting me across town because my mother is working several jobs. His employer’s family has taken us in, so to speak, after my father failed to return from a grocery store run and so O’Dell is my chauffeur for the moment. I’ve probably spent the night at their house after being picked up from daycare the afternoon before. I don’t question a lot of these things. I’m just here, riding shotgun with O’Dell, eating my Funyuns.