By Don McAlavy: Local columnist
When I was going to school in Clovis in the late 1940s, I would often get down to the Snazzy Pig at noon just to eat one of “Pop’s” great hamburgers. The Snazzy Pig was just around the corner from the Clovis Steam Laundry, on east First Street.
“Pop” Townsend’s first name was Charles, we learned a long time later when he died Dec. 29, 1984, at age 91.
Pop cooked all the hamburgers. He’d put the hamburger buns face down on the greasy flat-iron and would that make them so tasty. I haven’t eaten hamburgers like that since. Sorry to say I’m a vegetarian today.
There were about 12 stools in that little café, but he had a couple of pretty cute girls to serve the cars that would park to the side of the café. The girls would attract many customers.
I didn’t tell anybody, since I was too bashful, to say I fell in love with the real purty gal inside helping Pop handle the inside customers. Now I’ve plumb forgot that pretty blonde girl’s name!
There was one young guy, Wild Bill Sagely, about my age, who would ride up with other wild-looking motorcyclists to Snazzy Pig. The girls took after good-looking motorcyclists. I was jealous, so I finally got an old motorcycle, but even then I had only a few pretty girl riders. The wild riders got the girls.
I didn’t know about Pop’s history until I saw his obituary in 1984. He was born Dec. 27, 1892, in Sugar Grove, Ark. He moved to Oklahoma in 1915, where he taught school until 1937. He received his B.A. in education from East Central State in Ada, Okla. He also attended Texas Tech, then moved to Clovis and opened the Snazzy Pig. He ran the Snazzy Pig for 30 years.
Pop had two sons, Johnnie Townsend and Glen Townsend.
Johnnie was in the hamburger business at Marshall Junior High School. The school took over Johnnie’s Drive-In to make more parking room for the students, and Johnnie later went into the same business on Thornton Street near Clovis High School.
Pop had a daughter, Mabel Rogers of Clovis. He also had a brother, Charlie, of Holdenville, Okla., and two sisters: Thelma of Boonville, Ark., and Lilly Simms of Dallas.He was preceded in death by his wife Ida on Oct. 29, 1981, after they had celebrated their 67th anniversary. He also was preceded in death by a daughter, Mildred Treas.
After Pop Townsend died in 1984, the Snazzy Pig ran until about 1987. It was a sad day after it closed; no more Snazzy Pig hamburgers to eat.
And talking about eating … my mother was a seamstress at Clovis Steam Laundry, and one day at work she called me and said she wanted my brother and my sister and me to go eat at El Monterrey with her. That was our first time. I remember becoming a close friend of the fry-cook at El Monterrey, Gilbert Anaya, the only Hispanic in our CHS Class of 1950.
Anyway, the Snazzy Pig and El Monterrey were my two best places to eat in Clovis. ‘Course I ate at Coney Island, too, and at the Ogg and Boss Café.
Then the first national eating place came to town, Sonic Drive-In at Seventh and Mitchell streets. I’ve always liked to eat!
Don McAlavy is Curry County’s historian. He can be contacted at: