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Monday, February 1, 2010


--There it is.
--It’s a key road marker for us, isn’t it? When I see it I always feel I can smell the barn just below the state line.
--“CATFISH DINNERS ALL YOU CAN EAT JESUS IS LORD.” I love the absence of punctuation. I would stop sometime, but I don’t feel comfortable in southern Georgia. I’m talking about anywhere fifteen or twenty miles south of Atlanta.
--Do you really mean that?
--I don’t know. Sort of. I know it’s not fair to the New South and all that, but something happens, I also know that. All at once, the gas station toilets are really grungy. People look sullen to me.
--You can’t be right, but it seems like that to me, too. At least along the Interstate. I’ve been in restrooms that didn’t look to have been cleaned in a month.
--I think of the Jesus-is-Lord-catfish sign as a bookend match-up with the one in Ohio. You know, that long shed of a factory building. On one half it says something about The Bible is the Word of God, which flows directly into U.S. Plastics Unlimited. I have a strong wish to know if it’s all one company name.
--The place where I don’t feel comfortable is South Carolina.
--Yes, once you’re outside Charleston. I remember we went into a Waffle House. Every head in the place turned. I am not always a reliable judge, but the mood seemed to change, and it was not jolly.
--The War of Northern Aggression. That’s what our guide in Savannah called the Civil War.
--How they still hate Sherman.
--A beautiful town, though. All those squares. The Cotton Exchange, the waterfront.
--He could have leveled the place, but didn’t. Still, they hate him. The war goes on.
--And Charleston, so beautiful. The houses, the gardens. I walked into this antique consignment store. You weren’t with me. Immediately, I knew I didn’t belong. I’ll never forget these two men. One was talking about furniture brought in on consignment. “Those chayuhs wuh filthy--” then he turned to me in the doorway. The look said, “Oh no, a Nawthunuh. Worse than those chayuhs evuh were.”
--“Oh no, moah Godless liberal Yankee white trash.”
--That was before Chelsea.
--Yes. Because of Chelsea, we no longer take side trips. We can’t leave her alone in the van. She might become depressed.
--You’re making fun of me, but you’re no better about her.
--I’m making fun of us both. We’re both overdue for a pet-rescue intervention.

1 comment:

  1. I'm smiling at this. We were so smug that "at least we weren't SC" with their wacky governor and lt. governor and nutty legislators. Now our former governor is up to his hairline in legal troubles, his aide is charged with racketeering and a number of other abuse-of-power charges, our former speaker is in jail. . . and then there's John Edwards.

    Maybe it's something in the water.


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