It was the sweltering weekend of the Fourth of July. We were headed west across the
, a country that seemed as vast as
space and as timeless as infinity. Our
motorcade included a moving van, a pickup named Sledgehammer and a Ford
Expedition called The Behemoth. United
We made it through
and were on a route through the land of the different, the bizarre, and the
unexplainable: fields of peanuts,
tobacco, soy beans and industrial hemp. Nashville
The sign post up ahead read, “
” when suddenly black smoke began to
roll out from under the U-Haul. Cadiz, Kentucky
We pulled off at a nearby exit and watched as inky fluid poured out of the truck and onto the concrete highway.
After a phone call or two to the moving company, we were informed a mechanic was on the way.
|Our mechanic. Note all the cell towers in the background.|
He arrived after a long delay. “I had to stop at the Piggly Wiggly for three bags of groceries,” he drawled. After some poking around, he informed us we had a blown hose.
|A turkey vulture surveys the damage.|
No crap, Columbo! Even I could see the remains of the hose and the engine's bodily fluids bleeding out. He told us he would be back in the morning with parts to repair the damage; got in his van with his wife and his groceries and left.
We found rooms at the Holiday Inn for our group of four adults and four children.
|The kids were so disappointed |
to have to spend the afternoon in the motel pool.
While our son and his wife got the kids settled, DH and I walked across the street and into--what else--Kentucky Fried Chicken. We felt like we were invisible. None of the employees even looked up when we walked in. At last, moving at a lingering pace through a zone of his own, one finally took our order. After we got the chicken dinners and took them back to the motel for the kids, DH and I decided we’d get our own meal at a nearby restaurant: The Cracker Barrel Country Store.
It was a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It was a souvenir store as chaotic as a sideshow and as immeasurable as the universe. It was the middle ground between light and shadow, between imagination and superstition.
A waitress with a perky apron and big, big hair parked us at a table and fed us potatoes and gravy, cold cider and pie.
While we waited for our food we tried to use our cell phones and discovered that, although there were three cell towers within a half mile of our location, we were unable to get service. We were on the shadowy tip of reality: on a through route to weirdness and the unexplainable.
As we were paying our bill at the register, the cashier smiled, looked us in the eye and said, “Y’all want some fudge,” drawing the last word out into two syllables. Suddenly we did and ordered a slab.
The next morning, using some items found at a plumbing store, our son and DH were able to improvise a repair to the truck and had it running before our redneck mechanic arrived.
He was impressed with the work and asked if our boy needed a job. We didn’t tell him our son had an engineering degree and was on his way to a high paying career in
No, we hustled ourselves on down the highway and out of that freaky dimension of imagination, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind: on our journey into a wondrous land whose only boundaries are that of imagination.