Rest in peace, Mr Yaglijian In a routine stroll through the Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland this morning, I happened to glance at a gravestone marked Yaglijian. I've walked by it dozens if not even hundreds of times, but this is the first time I happened notice it. And I know that name very well. I figured, well, it had to be the guy I was thinking of. (There can't have been too many others.) And I was right, it was: Harutiun Yaglijian, otherwise known as Harry, but always Mr Yaglijian to me. He was the guy at the Original Kasper's hot dog stand in North Oakland, the weird, now abandoned and graffiti-blighted triangular building where Telegraph meets Shattuck at 45th Street. I went there regularly, often several times a week, for around ten years, and I got to know him pretty well. (Well, as well as you can know an eccentric old guy at a hot dog stand.) He was a real character, the friendliest grump I've ever met. Business was always terrible -- as he would say, trying to guilt trip you into adding chips or something to your order. "But we have large..." he would lament when anyone ordered a small drink. But he really liked talking to his customers -- and he made you feel like you were close friends, in on something together, even though all you were doing was ordering a hot dog from him for the umpteenth time. It's hard to explain how fun and satisfying this experience was; you had to be there as the saying goes. People used to go there just to hang out, communing with the other hot dog guys. A regular scene: people who had moved away, returning to Oakland and bringing their kids on a sort of pilgrimage. (Usually a father-son thing... for whatever reason I don't remember a lot of girls among those who hung around there.) "Hey Mr Yaglijian, how's business?" they'd call out. "Terrible," he'd reply, usually with a pretty big smile. "Hello, friend" is how he used to address everyone who came in. But after awhile, when he remembered, he call me Doctor. Sometimes I'd stick my head in on the way to or from work at university just to say hello and he'd have my usual order already ready to go, kind of pushing it toward me even when I had no intention of ordering it. That guy knew how to sell a guy a hot dog. I miss those days. So I really enjoyed the unexpected opportunity to pay my respects. Oakland, you're not all that bad sometimes. #hotdogs #oakland #memoir #minds