Annapalooza

When Cheeseheads Travel South April 24, 2017

The road trip seemed like a good idea at the time.

“It’s only the panhandle…it’s not like we’re driving to Miami,” I reasoned. “Besides, all the flights are astronomically expensive during spring break.”

About twelve hours into the trip we ended up cursing ourselves for being such cheap-asses. On the other hand, it only took me about five hours to realize that even Sirius XM plays the same damn songs over and over again. (The top 50 songs from 1983 again, Alan Hunter?) And while we are certainly nostalgic, eventually we grew tired of Nina Blackwood’s “I just swallowed broken glass” voice and ended up on the ONEderland station. There we were promptly treated to the WKRP in Cincinnati theme song. Baby, if you ever wondered…wondered how long it would take for my husband to get tired of me singing that song? I’d say twenty minutes. Twenty minutes tops.

Thankfully the long trip was broken up a bit by a stop in Nashville. We jumped on a trolley tour and endured all the historical narration and the American Pickers store until we could hop off and zoom in on what really mattered. That’s right, I’m talking about hot chicken. We waited an hour and twenty minutes for Hattie B’s famous hot chicken, and yes, it was worth it. Waiting was not easy, especially since we were surrounded by about a bazillion twenty-something hipster dudes. Ladies, quit hooting and hollering on those pedal-bars and come and eat some chicken for God’s sake! A person can only listen to so many dive bar adventures and references to PBR.

After a late afternoon nap (because eating hot chicken and mac and cheese makes one very tired), we headed back out to Broadway, home to much honkin’ as well as much tonkin’. When I heard a band playing some very good Chuck Berry, we decided to make our way inside. After securing our beverages and a place up front, things took a bit of a turn for me. The band stopped the Chuck Berry and suddenly started playing Country. No Western, just Country. Had it been Kenny or Dolly or Loretta or Johnny or any of the Statlers I would have been fine, but this was new country. As in the music I have to tolerate before Monday Night Football begins. But apparently EVERYONE (including my husband – oh, the horror…) knew all the words to every song, leaving me to awkwardly clutch my Michelob Ultra and mumble over and over, “All I know is Way down yonder on the Chattahoochee.”[1] I felt like I had been transported to some sort of parallel pop culture universe where I was completely out of the loop… kind of like when I lived overseas in 1994 and then came home to find everyone drinking Zima. That is, it made me deeply concerned for human kind’s sense of judgment and overall taste level.

But I digress.

The next day we hit the back roads of Alabama. This is where we came across my favorite name for a restaurant ever, the “It Don’t Matter Family Restaurant” in Highland Heights. Unfortunately it was closed, but my disappointment was short-lived as we came to a convenience (?) store whose sign read: Hot dogs, wine, chainsaws and jewelry all in one stop.

I’m not really sure what more a person could ask for, but judging by all the rusty items sitting out front, an updated tetanus shot would be a good guess. And now I know what the Oily Bohunk’s dad’s new business venture is. (Besides video game arcades, laundry, cigarette machines, and trucking. Oh, and the little bit of dabbling in personal loans and politics.)[2]

Stay tuned for next time when the Cheeseheads continue their Southern adventure…

 

[1] How do I know even this much? Because years ago some commercial for NOW That’s Country! was played constantly, and some blond guy with a mustache and cut-off t-shirt kept singing that line in the commercial. I now know that guy’s name was Alan Jackson.

[2] Kudos if you caught my reference to Sixteen Candles. You can sit with us. On Wednesdays we wear pink. (I’ve never seen a footnote to a footnote, but if there were such a thing, there would be a footnote here referencing Mean Girls. I really must stop living my life through movie quotes, but why stop now?)

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