Friday Five Y’all

I’ve been visiting family in Tennessee the past week, so here’s the Friday Five, Tennessee style.

  1. The drive from Brooklyn is about 15 hours. After all that driving, I’m usually a bit dazed and confused. I had to stop for gas a few hours before I got here. It was raining so I filled up and got back in the car quickly, deciding to head across the street to pick up a coffee to perk up a bit. The drive thru line was a bit long, but nothing else was open at that hour. From my side mirror I could see a man approach. I stiffened, ready to roll up my window.

“I just couldn’t let you drive away like this.” He points at my gas tank, which I left wide open with the gas cap on the trunk of the car. He fixes everything up and gets back in his truck in line behind me. I’m not in Kansas anymore.

2. Sweeeeet Tea! I know there’s a pound of sugar in every glass, but I can’t help it. I heart sweet tea. And because we’re not in New York, free refills!

3. Animals seen:

Daddy long legs: 2

Cows: 18

Hummingbirds: 1

Grasshoppers: 3

Deer: 1

Falcons: 2

Goats: 4

Groundhogs: 1

4. For someone used to walking a few miles every day as a mode of transportation, here it seems that walking, even for exercise, is discouraged. There are no sidewalks in my parent’s neighborhood (excuse me, I mean subdivision). The only time I’ve another human (see list of animals above) is when they are going to the edge of their driveways to pick up the morning newspaper. People don’t even walk their dogs. I took Reggie out on the leash and, while drivers are real polite, even waving hello, they look at me like I’m nuts. Why wouldn’t you just have an electric fence and let your dog outside? (Don’t even get me started on how much I can’t stand electric fences!) So the walking is made even more difficult because dogs who are outside and rarely see anyone passing charge, barking like mad, to the edge of the property. I was scared the first couple of times because I didn’t know about the electric fences and then I was embarrassed because the barking dog was waking up the whole street all because of us. So much for exercise. I’d better switch to unsweet tea.

5. You ain’t from round here. Just as, I suppose, I can spot a tourist on the subway a mile away, so too can the locals spot me. In fact, visitor or resident, if you weren’t born here, you’re an outsider. There is some resentment, perhaps in the same way some might resent “gentrification”. I don’t believe the same applies to the more metropolitan cities of Memphis and Nashville, but this is a small town, population about 2000. People know each other. Since birth. Two cases in point, the local newspaper printed an obituary of a woman who had lived in the town since she was six years old. She died at age 90. She was regarded warmly but “a foreigner.” In the next county over, much more rural than this one, a local man married a woman who had lived in the area for 20 years.  The man was basically disowned from his community and the couple ended up moving away.


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