As we drove up to North Carolina and then back to Florida, the number of Dollar General stores we saw was uncountable. I mean it was truly mind-boggling. Every damn bend in the road in the most rural of rural places has one of these ugly monstrosities now, each and every one with a sign that says, "Now Hiring!" and many of them obviously brand new with signs like the one you see above that say, "Now Open."
As we drove, I wondered if I would return to Lloyd to find our very own personal Dollar General already opened and indeed, I took that picture this morning. They are stocked, landscaped, and open for business. The only saving grace is that you truly cannot see the place until you are right beside it. The woods on both side of it hide its presence.
All I can do at this point is sigh and tell myself I did my best to stop the project but we all knew that wasn't going to do a thing. All those phone calls to environmental agencies and the powers-that-be in Jefferson County were a total waste of time. Is there a way for me to be accepting and all Zen about this?
I suppose I should try. But at the moment I feel as if these stores are a pox and a plague, selling shit that will end up in the landfill and sooner, rather than later.
We shall see.
In sad chicken news, there is something wrong with Darla, the mother of three of the babies which are no longer babies at all. She is on the ground in the hen house in what we have taken to calling The Death Corner because so many hens have gone there to die after a fatal attack. I do not know what's wrong with her. I picked her up and examined her and could not find a mark on her. I put her back on the hay covered ground and she literally isn't walking. I gave her food and water but she doesn't seem interested at all. I am truly afraid she is dying. Mark says that she wasn't lying there when he was here so this is a recent event.
Other than that, all seems very well here. Jack stalked me last night until I went to bed and he joined me the second I laid down, snuggling up as if he truly meant it. Jack never, ever vocalizes but he does purr and he was purring loudly when I was giving him scritches.
When we were on our trip, on the first day in fact, my phone's home button quit working. The fact that the phone has a home button is indicative of its age, which I believe is about five years and of course in phone years, that's a Methuselah. And I use it so very much for everything from audio books and podcasts to taking pictures to sending and receiving texts, to reading the news and checking Facebook, getting the weather forecast and being my back-up brain via Google. I did read online how to utilize a feature I had no idea I had to do a work-around for not having a home button and it worked but it was so inconvenient and besides that, it wasn't taking a charge very well and things were getting wonky, being upside down on the screen or sometimes sideways and well...
So today, after having a very nice lunch with Mr. Moon and Hank and Lily and her darlings, Glen and I went to Verizon where we looked at our options for getting a new phone for me and that takes about twelve hours but the employees who help us are always invariably pretty awesome. Today our guy was Nick. I asked him his name when we'd spent at least two hours with him and he said, "Nick," and I said, "Oh, I thought you looked like an Anthony." He raised his head from what he was doing and said, "That's my middle name."
I swear. This did happen.
Anyway, Nick Anthony is not the point, although he was definitely the interesting and helpful facilitator and I am now the extremely excited and thrilled owner of a new iPhone which has bells and whistles, I am sure. I am doing the data-transfer as we speak from my old phone to the new one and this may end up taking all night. I believe our internet here is probably deathly slow although it usually suits me fine.
I am very glad to be getting a new phone as the camera is supposed to be pretty amazing and it has a jillion more whatever-they-are of storage and I won't have to constantly be deleting apps and so forth in order to use the phone. I will completely admit that I am not only addicted to my phone but also dependent on it. Having to do without it for even the short time I've had to give it up today has been weird. I had to make a roux without listening to either a book or a podcast! Of course I read an article in the New Yorker while I stirred which worked out just fine but still...
So yes, we are having a gumbo tonight. We stopped yesterday at a little place in a little town where produce was being sold and bought some okra. We also got a few peaches and a bottle of cane syrup. We did not find our peach-place where we bought that huge crate of them last year and we are both disappointed. I SO wanted to make more peach preserves and pickled peaches.
Our drive up to NC and back was mostly on the most back of back roads and we drove past many miles of fields with soybeans, corn, cotton, pecan trees, and even a few fields of sunflowers. I read and I read and I read out loud, "Fried Green Tomatoes At The Whistle Stop Cafe" and there is no way in hell that my husband could have enjoyed the listening as much as I enjoyed the reading. I am an actor at heart and Fannie Flagg's characters have such very fine and distinct voices and her gift for dialogue is a good and gracious one. And the story itself- well. It moves along at just the right pace, never bogging down, always moving forward, taking you with it. I still have about sixty pages to read and I told my husband that we need to take another trip very soon so that we can finish it.
As I said yesterday, the south is such an interesting place. As we drove we went through so many tiny towns with the most beautiful old homes you can imagine. As Glen said, "Sherman didn't burn 'em all." Some palatial, some not at all, some in the towns, some on hillsides in the middle of farmland. Some restored and preserved and proud, some in dire need of love. Now don't get me wrong- there are also sad little areas where every other business is a pawn shop or title loan place where I am sure that a meal out at a Huddle House (best damn waffles in the land!) is a huge, big deal. We were passing through one of those yesterday, hungry for lunch, thinking that Dairy Queen was going to be our best option when suddenly we were in a place called Dublin (this was in Georgia) with the tidiest downtown with beautiful old brick buildings and we made a left and found a seafood restaurant that would not have looked out of place in Atlanta.
Okay. Who am I to judge?
We sat in the bar area to avoid a wait and I tried to remember the last time I'd eaten or even been in a place like this. It felt a little bit sleazy and it was very dark and I sort of loved it although almost every person in that bar area was a man and there were sports on the screens above the bar.
We tipped her well.
Well, my goodness ... that is quite a story! Thanks for sharing it with us! ❤️ReplyDelete
You are quite welcome!Delete
Gteat story. Been waiting for this.ReplyDelete
And I didn't even tell the story of the breakfast in the coffee/smoothie cafe!Delete
Marvelous! Your storytelling is the best.ReplyDelete
Thank you so much, Deb. I really appreciate it.Delete
so glad to read the stories.....see the pics...(except for the DG- HOW did it open THAT fast?) sorry about Darla, though. Bless her heart, she may have had her last hurrah raising 3 new young'ns for you.......may she find the blessed portal peacefully when it is her time.ReplyDelete
New phone......gumbo.....you are a busy bee, but I know SO glad to be home.
I just don't know what to think about Darla. It may have worn her out, having and raising the last three. She's very skinny. Yesterday was a busy day. Today was busier.Delete
Happy you're home, happy you went, and yay for the grand adventures. And they are as satisfying as anything Evelyn and Ninny could put together or dream up. We'll pretend Darla went there, too.ReplyDelete
I love you for knowing Evelyn and Ninny's names! Well, I love you just because I love you too. Darla would make a fine citizen of Whistle Stop.Delete
I just got a new razzle dazzle iPhone without a home button too! And you paint such a fascinating picture of the south you passed through, far more varied than we northerners imagine. I believe if we all knew each other a bit better we’d be in less trouble than we currently are. We all marinate in stereotypes and the media does us no favors in that regard, they promote grievances for views and clicks when the reality bon the ground can be quite different. Not always, of course, but often enough to be worth noting. As you have done here. I’m so sorry about Darla.
Nothing is simple, is it? Nor black and white. So many different parts make up the whole. I had to laugh when I read a forum about the little town we were eating lunch in- someone said that it was a typical small southern town and everyone believes in Jesus.Delete
Amen. I'm sure that's true. Even Dracula lady.
I wish I could hear you telling this, just like you'd read a book to Glen or like listening to an audio-book. I felt I was there, you're such a good story-teller indeed!ReplyDelete
Thank you for your sweetness. I love to tell stories.Delete
Steak house Elvis is giving me Norm Macdonald vibes.ReplyDelete
I can see that.Delete
Speaking of Huddle House, we took our friends to our local Double H a couple weeks ago. He had a ginormous breakfast; she opted for just scrambled eggs and toast. Then she tried his waffle, and ate half of it before he slapped her hands. I ordered an omelet with a side of salsa and guess what? They have their own! It was so good I asked if they sold it. Yep! $5.99 a bottle and I got two!ReplyDelete
I think there actually is a Huddle House at the next exit east off the interstate here which is a very short drive. We should go there sometime. Waffle House makes their own salsa too. I have no idea if it's any good.Delete
Why wait for another trip? Just finish reading the book as a bedtime story. I'm sorry to hear about Darla, perhaps she missed you and felt abandoned? How old is she? Maybe the raising of the three was her last 'whoop-de-doo' ?ReplyDelete
Our night time routine is so set in stone. I get in bed and read my own book and he stays up and watches drag racing or something else equally manly on the TV. By the time he comes to bed, I am ready to put my book down and turn out the light.Delete
I just can't say what Darla's problem is. Bless her.
Oh poor little Darla. I hope that she won't " linger on" or maybe get better?Your talk of the plantation houses reminded me of a TV programme I saw recently. Jane McDonald, who used to be a cruise ship singer, a northern English girl ,( woman!) was presenting a cruise up the Mississippi on a paddle steamer. She visited a plantation house that is now a museum of sorts, with repro wooden shacks in the grounds where the slaves would live back in the day. She also went to Elvis's home and showed us round.ReplyDelete
Your Dollar General sounds a bit like our " Poundland" which is one of my favourite stores. Everything used to be £1 but nowadays some items are £2 or £5. I get my toiletries , and bird food , cleaning products and toys for the grands. All perfectly good quality and known names.
It is going to be near 40c here today.....unknown temps for this country and of course we don't have air con to help deal with it. I shall be sitting in front of a fan all day!Thankfully it is supposed to cool down this evening. Last night it was still very hot.This morningit was 23c at 7.30 when I walked the dog ( in woods)
As I stood on the porch of that house, looking up at the giant columns, I wondered where the houses of the enslaved people who built the place and worked the plantation had been. It's now sort of in the middle of a neighborhood/town. Very odd. Very haunting.Delete
We have a Dollar Tree stores that used to sell everything for a dollar. Now I think it's a dollar and a quarter.
I know y'all are suffering with this heat. I hope it breaks soon.
I just wish that people could understand that an acre of untouched woodland is far more valuable than yet another craptastic store that will probably close in five years and be a blight on the landscape forever after. There's something wrong with the way our economy functions because it doesn't value undeveloped land. It doesn't value nature.ReplyDelete
I'm sorry to hear about Darla. She must be getting on in years, no?
That martini looks so good in your photo. I am having martini envy. I think I may have one tonight to commemorate surviving our heat wave.
Money is what runs the world and that's all there is to it and Dollar General is out to get as much of it as they can and they do not give a shit about the environment. It all makes me sick.Delete
I'm not sure how old Darla is. Probably around four? Which isn't that old.
I told Glen that those martinis were the best martinis we'd ever had that we didn't make. They were seriously perfect.
How lucky are you to have had such a wonderful trip. I like travelling, especially on the back roads, and discovering all the hidden gems that so many others miss! As for the Dollar General, I suppose it will provide employment (possibly) although if the US is anything like here (and the UK, dixit my sister), good luck finding those workers!ReplyDelete
Dollar General is famous for understaffing. So no, they aren't going to be employing that many people. Everywhere we went on our trip there were Hiring Now signs. I'm not exactly sure what's going on but I have a feeling that people just are not willing to slave for slave wages anymore without benefits.Delete
Yes, you tell a good story! I like the idea of you reading the story to us that James and Brigitta mentioned in their comment. You should make a video for us and post it on your blog!ReplyDelete
Yes but then you'd have to see me and I am so unhappy with the way I look now. I know that's ridiculous but it's the way it is.Delete
I am sure you will love the phone camera. Check with AC as there is a book he steered me to that helps with how to get the best out of the camera.ReplyDelete
New Orleans was a revelation to me - to husband and I in fact - as a north of sixty type. My idea of the USA was mostly Detroit and Cleveland. Yeah.
Yes. I definitely need some help with how to use the camera to its best ability. Just pointing and shooting is pretty amazing.Delete
Whoa! Detroit and Cleveland! Now- there's two places I've never been and I am sure I would be mind blown to visit them. NOLA is different than anywhere in the world, I think.
I probably need a new iPhone just for the camera. but the old one still works fine even if I do have to delete pictures and tests and mail all the time. When the grandkids were little I'd take them to the dollar Store, give them each a dollar, and let them pick out what they wanted. I had to remind them that it was all cheap stuff from China and would probably break right away (which it always did) but they had fin picking something out.ReplyDelete
Oh, Ellen- just checking my storage and seeing how little I'm using on this camera is the best! Along with the camera. I told Hank today, "I can get apps!" I'd deleted all but my most necessary on the old phone.Delete
I love this...and ps...Elvis looks a bit womanly in your last picture. Like...well..what is the opposite of a drag queen? Would it be a drag king? Because it would totally fit.ReplyDelete
Yes. There are definitely drag kings.Delete
I’m so sorry about Darla, hope there’s a miracle. Not enough of those lately. I can’t decide if that Elvis is funny or creepy. I’m with Steve. Nothing but $$$ seems to have any value. What an eyesore. Enjoy the gumbo!ReplyDelete
All I can say about that Elvis is that he's dramatic.Delete
The gumbo was delicious!
Going night-night is a favorite part of every day for me.ReplyDelete
Oh god yes. For me too.ReplyDelete
Your stories about traveling down south make me think I might like it, something that would never happen otherwise, though we lived in both Greenville, SC, and Langley, VA, when I was a child (Air Force brat). Did you ever read the book Blue Highways? I think you would like it and it would make another good read out loud book for one of your trips with the Mister. Wishing survival for Darla and all of us. X0X0 N2ReplyDelete