Chronicles From The Deep South, Volume 1


In the airport I purchased a copy of Time magazine.  I NEVER read Time magazine unless I get it in an airport.  The cover made me think of my sister (who loves Las Vegas) because it said, “It’s Vegas, Baby!  Why America’s No. 1 Tourist Town Is Hotter Than Ever.”  A great line from the article:  “The town’s logo, ‘What happens here, stays here,’ is complete camp.  What happens in Vegas, in fact, is bragged about at home for five months afterward.”  Another line:  “It is Britney Spears’ home away from home whenever she’s in town to get married.”

I got to fly first-class yesterday on a special ticket a friend provided for me.  You can put the boy in first-class, but you can’t put first-class in the boy.  A flight attendant had to show me how to get the tray out of the armrest, and I had red wine with the smoked chicken (I don’t think the explanation that red wine is on my diet would’ve worked, anyway).

The plane flew over the defunct Fairfield Works steel production plant belonging to a huge company in America in the 60’s and 70’s, United States Steel.  I thought of the three generations of my family that worked there (well, my cousins worked there in the summers before they went belly-up).  It made me kind of sad to see it empty…we used to take field trips there when I was in elementary school to watch them pour molten steel and got to wear hard hats and safety glasses.

I don’t know why, after not living here for 10 years, I get into the airport and start looking at people to see if I know them.  It’s a city of something like 400,000 people.  Who am I going to know?  But for some reason I look at people as if I expect to find someone I know.

They’ve fixed up the interstates since I was here last.  Nice blacktop and striping on most of ’em.

My mom doesn’t look or act sick at all.  She came in from her radiation treatment in good spirits and we visited for a while.  She did take a nap later in the afternoon for about an hour and a half, but I couldn’t tell if it was the radiation treatment or because she’s over 60. 

I don’t like going into grocery stores that aren’t my own.  In Dallas, I go to Albertson’s, and Albertson’s only.  Not because of any brand loyalty or anything like that, it’s simply the closest one to my house and after living there 8 years I know where everything is inside.  Need spices?  Right over here.  Need coffee creamer?  Just over there.  Meat?  Way over there.  Trying to purchase fixin’s for dinner at a place called Bruno’s, I felt like I was taking FOREVER to get the shopping done. 

My mom was impressed that I could throw dinner together all by myself (I wonder if moms ever get passed thinking you’re 11)…thanks to her shiny relatively new grill I think I can handle dinner for five more days.

The nightly news in Alabama always seems to have a racially significant story.  Last night, some guy found the mug shots taken from the early days of the Montgomery Bus Boycott…which is really significant because they had early photos of Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks, true American heroes in the thick of what they would become heroes for.  Anyway, these mug shots were found in photo albums no one knew they kept for 40 years.  They were clearing out boxes in the basement and found them. 

The nightly news is also laced with ads featuring former football coaches.  The former Alabama coach pushed a car dealership.  The former Auburn coach peddled lumber.

And, tonight…my 20 year reunion.  Now that I’m here, I’m kind of excited about it.