Thursday, July 23, 2009

From my brother, trapped in Old Florida

I got this email from Pat late last night, feverishly typed in one long, eyeball-busting paragraph. I present it to you here with minor editing for punctuation. And paragraphy-ness.


Okay so I saw the update Meelyn sent in. Here’s a reason to be glad you didn’t come down.

After several days of eating TLC food (a.k.a home cookin'), we finally decided to take the longer than expected trip to civilization last evening for dinner. Everyone purtied up, which included me shaving, Poppy showering,the women applying make-up, Kiersi and Dayden getting sand out of their hair and Kieren putting on a nice shirt.

Everyone climbed into the Tank and we set off for commercialized Florida with visions of thick steaks and potatoes overflowing with butter in our heads and leaving behind the dreaded Deliverance music that seems to be playing almost constantly. I say "commercialized Florida" for Nanny has taken to calling everything “old Florida” which in my estimation refers to the lack of normal human necessities such as a Wal-Mart or even a Starbucks! Who knew such a reality still existed!

So anyway, off in the Tank. We drive for the better part of one-half hour when we see the 1st signs of humanity i.e. Burger King. Sad to say after driving around the town, Burger King appeared to be the closest thing to Outback in this alternative universe. We did stop at the town
square which appeared to have some potential food that didn‘t have whiskers or a tail or been described as road kill. Suddenly Nan points out a barbeque restaurant down the road.

Mistake #1 – not realizing a place called Jim Bob’s Bar-Bee-Q would not serve steak. Having in my mind Damon’s and knowing they served steaks and tators, I backed out of my spot and drove to the restaurant expectantly. The 2nd sign of trouble was the “restaurant” was in a house. Being somewhat distraught, we sent Nanny in to scout the joint. Mistake #3: She was in there for quite some time. Long enough that Dad and I made a bet on what she was doing. I was sure she had passed on the place and was asking the locals what restaurant they would recommend. Dad was sure she was tasting food, talking about the history of the store, and reminiscing about “old Florida.” Mistake #4 – don’t bet against a man who has been married
to a woman for the better part of half a century. Nanny re-appears toting a cup of punch and tells us to roll out of the tank. So we get into the “restaurant” and immediately my Spidey senses start tingling or maybe that was my hunger pangs longing for the steak that now was a nothing more than a heavily spiced, medium cooked dream.

To my dismay, the “restaurant” contained a total of 4 booths and a corn-o-copia of trite tourist trap nick knacks. Having been raised to not be rude, I fought a valiant internal fight to not flee and leave my family in the midst of these master deceivers. Mom and Dad and the girls ordered
first. After that, everything started to swirl. I somehow placed our order. What happened next will be something I won’t quickly (or easily) forget. Instead of a flaming grill, my beef Bar-Bee-Q was scooped out of a pan, slopped into a Styrofoam plate, squirted with a ketchupy substance, and an ice cream scoop full of baked beans and coleslaw added.

Gray dots started swirling all around me and I am quite sure I saw a tunnel of light with Jesus beckoning me to a better place. I summoned the power to down the beef and baked beans, but no way did I consider even a bite of the presumed salmonella-laced coleslaw. I walked down trodden to the front door, all the joy ripped from my heart. And then the coo duh grace (Indiana version) – I looked at the restaurant store door and saw that it had closed 20 minutes earlier. We had actually kept them open late so we could have the old Florida experience…. Insert Amityville music here.


"Ketchupy substance"??!! No Wal-Mart??!!

I can't decide which freaks me out more. Upon consideration, it may be the area's lack of a Wal-Mart. Anyone who lives in the United States should be familiar with Wal-Mart's modus operandi, which is to invade even the more one-horse towns, the ones too small to be represented by more than a pinhead-sized dot on the map, build a Wal-Mart, operate for several years, and then build a Super-de-Dooper Wal-Mart four miles away, abandoning the first building and leaving it to decay on the little town's main thoroughfare, looking haunted. If the place they're staying in Florida is too small to warrant even a Wal-Mart -- a Starbuck's! -- it must be really Old Florida, the Old Florida of Jody Baxter and Flag and those weird neighbors of theirs who wanderered around in the Everglades a-shootin' at things. Also, if Old Florida is anything like Pioneer Indiana, well....GET OUT!!! GET OUUUUUUUT!!!!!

The thing that really worries me, though, is that Pat, who is normally so stoic that you could poke him in the arm with a sharpened pencil and all he'd do is look at you with a raised eyebrow (well, and then grab the pencil from you and snap it in two), actually used two exclamation points in his email to me.

It's getting really serious down there. I am fighting the urge to go down there after them with a lantern and a rope and a hunting dog, which I'll have to borrow from someone else because neither Hershey nor Wimzie could track a roast duck if it was over five feet away from their noses, and go down there to bring them out safely.

Here's the 1946 theatrical trailer for The Yearling. Be advised that in spite of the happy, rollicking music (played with a complete absence of banjos), the deer gets it right in the head in the end. That should be fun in TechniColor!

No comments: