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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Have you ever seen a deer pee in the wild?

It is my habit to get up at 0500 and spend the first 2 1/2 hours of the day on myself. I’m awaken by my local morning NPR station broadcasting Morning Addition which it runs through twice by the time I get to work. I’ll fix breakfast or go out to breakfast, I’ll read (usually the news paper) and ponder issues that the news inspires. I like this schedule, but I often don’t get time to write or blog what’s come to mind during these morning activities.

Case in point is this blog. I had a great time last weekend running around middle Tennessee and wanted to write down the unique things and some of the not so unique things (depending on where you live), but time was just not making itself available. Maybe I should start going to work at nine instead? LOL

I drove up to Fayetteville (about 45 minute drive north of Huntsville) where Emily was waiting to take me to breakfast. She had promised a good one at “The Chuckwagon” or something to that effect. I seem to recall the name had something to do with cowboys or horses. After good morning hugs and kisses, we headed over to this breakfast haven Emily was so excited for me to try. I’ve turned her on to the omelets at Victoria’s and she wants to repay the favor I guess. Now some of you will look at the names of those two eating establishments and try to do some kind of mathematical computation to stereotype the kind of people Emily and I are. Don’t waste your time. Yes, Emily is a Tennessean and was raised country, but she has a unique sophistication about her that I dearly enjoy. While Victoria’s may evoke images of ladies underwear for some of you, I can assure you it’s not the kind of place little boys go to to ogle scantily clothed women. Think further back in time and you’ll understand what a friend of mine told me, “You wouldn’t like it Chet because it’s a gray hair ladies place. They serve things like quiche.” And they do but that’s another story to tell another day.

Emily directed me to the “Chuckwagon” (I’m really terrible at names) and as I first laid eyes on the place, I had two feeling at once -- disbelief at what I was seeing and relief it was closed. Its a 60 foot long gray-black-white variegated pattern house trailer sitting on an asphalt parking lot with not a single cowboy or horse image about it. There was nothing visually appealing about the place at all. If it’s a good place to eat and I trust Emily that it is, they sure aren’t inviting anyone to discover it. (someday I need insert a picture of the place here)

Not discouraged but not sure if my "big" city taste would be offended, Emily suggested we head over to the town square where there are a could of local favorites that she knew would be open. Now if you read this blog religiously, and I know my loyal fans do, you know I’ve talked a bit about Fayetteville’s town square before. Actually I think I just mentioned it had one. LOL As we parked, I saw the two eateries side by side with a handful of men wearing baseball caps and denim bib-overall standing around talking. They all were weather worn and silver haired and fit the old 20’s facade of the building they where standing in front of. A few eyed us as we crossed the street, but the most were too involved in their discussions of pork prices, bushel yields and drought to notice us. Emily picked out Honey’s Restaurant and Billiards saying it was more refined than Bill’s CafĂ© and Billiards next door. (Actually she was not so generous in her description.) Inside, the grill and counter were on the right and booths lined the left. Above the booths was a very long shelf housing a fine collection of vintage Jack Daniel’s bottles (emptied) and every booth had a vintage photo of people who once worked in the place since it opened in the 1920s. The very back was were the pool tables use to be but in these modern times I guess billiards is not such a draw for an eating establishment that specializes in food cooked on a film of grease over a hot flat steel surface. That area was now the overflow area “for when things get crowded.”

We sat at the bar and I ordered coffee and a western omelet. My coffee came as a tea bag. Kind of modern and a nice contrast to the old white thick porcelain mug and saucer I’m accustomed to in these vintage eateries. I just wished the sugar packets had not replaced the old clear jars of sugar with the stainless steal top that had the little flapped covered hole on top for pouring. The waitress looked to be 14 and served food like she wanted to be any place but behind that counter. She was pleasant, but it was clear this was not her career of choice. The food was good! I enjoyed sitting at a counter. The warmth of the place was homey and while I may be a bit harsh in my description its not out of disrespect. It is a proud honest place and doesn’t pretend to be something is isn’t.

Back in the truck we drove all over the country side stopping to take pictures of fine old homes with unusual character and landscapes that characterize Tennessee for me. Like Honey’s Restaurant and Billiards it’s a proud honest place with a character all its own. Not a lot of places you can go outside the south where driver wave to you as you pass and people on their porches smile and say hello. Only in this roughed landscape can you see a turkey hen and her chicks saunter across the narrow pavement of an old cow path turned road. And it is only here that I ever saw a wild deer pee. As silly as that sounds, I ask you to think about how many times you’ve been out in the country and saw a deer take the time to pee. BTW they squat their hind legs to do it.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Ditto Landing won out!

Ditto Landing won out! The baseball game would have been great but I’ve gotten to where I just love Ditto. I spend a few hours a weekend sitting at the mouth to the harbor watching boats come and go and get excited when one of the really big boats heads out. So choosing it for the 4th was pretty easy.

Emily and I got there a little before the scheduled opening time and that turned out to be a blessing. The place was packed by fireworks time. The powers that be set everything up at the main pavilion using the end of trailer parking lot as the fallout zone for the explosives. This was ok by me since the main pavilion is high ground and you get a great view of the Tennessee River. By sunset the River was full of boats and I was so envious. I got to be one of those fortunate ones next year.

4th of July is one of those days when one comes to grips with aging and knows it isn’t all bad. I enjoyed seeing the kids running with boundless energy as their patient yet tattered parents ran after them. The teens where so easy to read. Those who wanted to be cool but just couldn’t manage and those who coolness just came naturally, if being born beautiful and wealthy is all natural. Young lovers pawing at each other while lover want-a-be couples awkwardly fumbled in hand play and body bumping. Middle aged couples sat comfortably next to their significant other with looks of all-knowingness on their faces. Then there where the older folks like Emily and I who enjoyed being spectators. Clearly the fireworks and sky divers were not the only show that night. Everyone was beautiful in the setting sun.

The fireworks were grand and lasted a decent amount of time. Across the river, rival displays from people willing to spend the money would show their booming colorful explosions and the evening was a vista of July 4th celebration.

Getting out of the parking area was not as bad as expected and my fellow humans gave just as good a show there of their humanity. Those who couldn’t wait and shuffled their way into line while others just sat in their vehicles with their windows open enjoying the cool evening air. Families dragging coolers, lawn chairs and excitedly tired kids with them as they trudged back to their family chariot. Older folks, locked in arm with their adult children enjoying the end of the evening stroll. Emily and I watched as the confusion played out before us. Our patience was rewarded when we saw the masses had the wrong exit strategy and we slide out the back way while the masses dealt with each other. We got a McDonald's meal after unsuccessfully trying Sonic. The holiday staffing had played havoc all day at the restaurants in town. Returning to my place, I couldn’t send her home so late with so much activity still going on in the wilds of Northern Alabama. It was just too long and treacherous a drive back to Fayetteville, TN. So I offered her a place to sleep at my place. Well, heck, any excuse will do now won’t it. {wink}

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Some choices are fun to have to worry over

The 4th of July is tomorrow and I have too many choices. LOL The Huntsville Stars will have a home game tomorrow and that will be followed by fireworks. They always have a good show and I’m sure they will go all out for the 4th.

Then there is Ditto Landing, Huntsville’s local marina on the Tennessee River. Oh I love the water! They are celebrating the 4th with lots of great food, kids entertainment, music- "Tribute to Willie Nelson" and a “A fabulous Fireworks show will immediately follow the National Anthem”, to quote them.

Oh how terrible it is to have to make a choice. LOL