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A little feminine sizzle can help sell the steak!

Oct 22, 2002 8:15 AM

THOSE WERE THE DAYS, MY FRIEND! We thought they’d never end, but they did! Thank goodness memories remain.

Across the years and across the board there have been some good ones. Do I have a favorite? Not really. But, there are a handful of things that happened that live on. Here’s one on my list.

It had to do with a girl named Daisie Mae. She was a cocktail waitress years ago at a tavern near Buffalo Raceway. From head to toe she was the spitting image of the Li’l Abner character.

As a tub-thumper for the Western New York harness track it was my job to get ink from the local media and come up with ideas to attract customers. Tuesdays were our slowest night and the boss was looking for something to beef up attendance.

One evening while sitting in the tavern hoisting a few after the races an idea came to me. Why not set up a barbeque in the parking lot of the racetrack and offer people a really good chicken dinner at a price they couldn’t beat? It had a lot of appeal. People are always looking for good food and there’s nothing they like better than good food at a bargain price.

But, I needed something with a little more pizzazz if I was going to get the papers to write about it. Sure, we would run ads, but I wanted the good columnists like Steve Weller to give it some space. To do that, I needed a hook. While I was rolling ideas through my head, Daisie approached the table with another round of drinks. As I looked up to the top of her 6-foot frame, saw the long, blonde hair, broad shoulders and well-endowed body I knew I had the answer.

We would have "Chicken with Daisie Mae!"

I immediately gave her a generous tip and told her when she took her next break to come see me so I could explain my idea.

Although Daisie Mae was shy, she loved the idea of having her picture in the paper. It was a thrill she had never expected to get waiting tables in a small tavern.

Daisie was sent to a local seamstress to have an authentic-looking costume created — short black skirt and black and white polka-dot top that enhanced her attributes. A local printer made up a sign with the details of the event and Daisie and sign were sent to the photographer for a photo session.

Life-size cutouts of Daisie Mae holding the sign were made up and placed in local stores. The usual press releases were sent out with photos and phone calls were placed to key columnists. Yes, they definitely wanted to meet Daisie and write about her. Daisie, of course, was her charming, shy self and the media loved her.

The response was great. Hundreds of people came to meet Daisie Mae and get a good, all-you-can eat, barbeque chicken dinner — including dessert — at a bargain basement price. And, most of them went into the track after dinner to check out the races.

The promotion was so successful that we extended it to every Tuesday for the rest of the meet. Tuesday attendance and handle moved way up, I got a feather in my cap, Daisie Mae had her 15 minutes of fame and we all had fun in the process.

Ah yes, my friend, those were the days!

GREAT TIMES WITH A GREAT MAN! Speaking of great days, my good friend Jackie Gaughan has enjoyedplenty of them, and here’s a toast to many more! Jackie turns 82 on Thursday, and it’s my pleasure and honor to wish him a healthful Happy Birthday! There are few founding fathers still kicking around this town, but we’re all glad Jackie is one of them. Happy Days and many more, Jackie!