Thursday, April 05, 2007

Country roads

A long, zombifying day of driving through MS, and AL, and TN, and god-knows how many other states, until we reach the quiet, faintly-lit hills of Pigeon Forge and my father-in-law's cabin. It is a welcomed retreat. We are supposed to be relaxing. Supposed to be getting away from the Coast for a while. Spend time "as a family." Breath some clean air.

Our first pit-stop was in Brooklyn, MS. There you can buy 100 live crickets for $4 and a scoop of boiled peanuts (either spicy or Cajun!) for $1. And when I say scoop, I mean you scoop them out and bag them yourself. And when I say boiled, I mean you are scooping fresh peanuts out water that has been simmering in a black kettle since Jimmy Carter was in office.

Eventually we made it to Chattanooga and I had my first taste of traffic since leaving Atlanta. Which reminded me of why we left Atlanta in the first place! Everyone was in a hurry to quickly go nowhere. Nobody bothers using turn signals. And our brisk voyage turned into a sea of brake lights for the better part of an hour.

Then we slipped into the mountains. And as the sun dropped between the trees we soon realized our directions didn't contain any details, such as street names or landmarks. And even if we knew what we were looking for, if it wasn't directly in front us, in the glare of our headlights, we wouldn't see it. There were no streetlights. There were almost no traffic signals. And for several miles, we were the only vehicle on the road. Of course the kids helped us out, by asking, "How much further?" and the very constructive, "Can you find us some place to play?" Useful stuff, that was.

Eventually, slowly, and very low on sanity, we found the cabin. The kids dropped into their jammies, whipped out the toys, and proceeded to keep us awake several more hours. Enclosed is a sample for posterity. Note Meg's bright eyes and Liam's explosive knot of hair. All at once they are watching television, playing checkers, writing dialogue between Baby Meg & Flat Stanley, and tormenting their bleary-eyed parents.

Good night, and good luck.
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