Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Just passin' through

"Doyaknowwertherakinhozat?" As I reached across the counter to take my change, my eyebrows furrowed as I attempt to decipher what I just heard.

"DoyaknowertherakinhoZAT?" The voice asked with more emphasis. I turned slowly, as I did not want to startle the native and realized that Bubba Joe standing behind me was talking to the wizened gas station-owner who had handed my my change.

Slowly the old man drawled out, "Last I sa-aw, 'twas under the tree-ye, in the front yar-ard, where you put it la-yast. I didn't put it noway-er."

"Ah," I thought to myself, "he was asking about a raking hoe's location. Don't let the grammar bother you. Keep your straight face and you might just get out of here. Let's go little printer! Print that receipt!."

"Ma'am. This register here don't print. You cain wayit and I can pri-int from that one."

"Ah, no thanks. I'm good. Thanks!" I reply as I make my hurried escape. Man! Was that a scene from a movie? A set-up? A dream?

I visited West Tennessee last week to visit my sister and brother-in-law for the Chester County Bar-B-Que festival. It works out that sometimes I am reminded that even though I have lived in this state longer than any other (now at a solid three years and two months), I am still a stranger. Sites that may seem commonplace to locals capture my interest. I enjoy being a tourist in my backyard. I marvel at the number of churches along backroads and wonder how they each can keep functioning with the appearance of a rural and scattered population. Political signs boldly show the residents' party preference. Among many of the political banners stand posts that state "JESUS" in prominent letters, as if He were running for political office (I'd vote for Him). The littering of barns and other old buildings along the horizon spark questions within about the history contained on that land. And sites like a revival tent make me giggle. Maybe I shouldn't, but who doesn't love an end-times trailer with "Jesus Man" painted on the side?

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