I spend a fair amount of time defending Kentucky’s redneck image, and while it’s unfair to paint the entire state with the same brush, the truth is that sometimes our folks do some really backwards things. I think the only state with a worse tooth loss rating is West Virginia. Around here we make ourselves feel better about our low rankings on various state scales by saying, “Well, at least we’re above Alabama,” or “At least there’s Mississippi.” I’m sure the folks in Alabama and Mississippi say the same thing about West Virginia. Every now and then I get all righteous about the redneck image and spit out some words I have to eat. Such was the case Saturday.
On our way home from Louisville Saturday we breezed past a rest area just before Teen Angel alerted us to her need to pee. We pulled off at the nearest exit which consisted only of a gas station and was really in the middle of nowhere. Teen Angel started mouthing something about it being an incredibly redneck place, and I gave her the old don’t judge you don’t know these people and that’s an unfair label yadda, yadda, yadda, blah, blah, blah speech. Then I went inside to use the restroom and buy some SweeTarts and had to apologize to Teen Angel when I got back to the van. She was right. It WAS the most redneck place in the world. It wasn’t really the smell of sausage grease and stale tobacco smoke that permeated the building and stuck to your clothing. It wasn’t the hairy, orthodontia challenged crowd of men puffing away on Marlboros in the corner. It wasn’t even the ads for a variety of biker events that covered the bulletin board or the case of pimento loaf and pickled eggs near the counter. I think it was the item hanging in the bathroom that sealed the deal for me. As I finished up my bidness and turned to flush the toilet, I saw hanging from the ceiling behind the toilet a long, sticky strip of fly paper. Yes, I said fly paper. I had to blink twice to make sure I wasn’t mistaken. And since the bathroom was empty I checked the other stalls to see if the fly problem was confined to the first stall or all of them. There was a strip in each and every stall. “Good Lord, I’ve seen it all, now,” I said to myself as I walked to the van. I got in the van, said my apologies to Teen Angel and waited for Hubby to finish paying for his soda. When he sat down in the van he had a weird look on his face and said, “That was strange.”
“What was strange, dear?” I was almost afraid to ask. “Nobody asked you to squeal like a pig did they?”
“No, but the clerk tried to bite my arm.”
“Bite your arm?!”
“Yeah, she grabbed my arm and pretended to bite it. Then she pointed at my shirt.”
He had forgotten he was wearing a Joe’s Crab Shack T-shirt that said “Bite Me” on the front.
“She told me that I was gonna have to lighten’ up if I was gonna hang around here.”
I was still feeling a little embarrassed about the behavior of my fellow statesmen until I got an email today with this photograph of a woman at a flea market outside of the Grardendale, Alabama Wal-Mart.
All I can say is at least there’s Alabama.
*To my friends in Alabama, Mississippi and West Virginia, I’m just teasing.
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