Oh, dear. Composing a blog post on a lonely Sunday night, 2 martinis closer to the work week, is never a good idea. And yet, here I go.
My twitter profile popped up earlier. “I like curvy roads.” It’s true, yet a little too simple for me at the moment. I ended up switching it to… something I don’t remember right now (2 martinis in, remember? They were big martinis), but I do recall a strong desire to better express my love of back roads.
I’m not talking blue highways here. Least Heat-Moon had the right idea, I’ll happily admit that. He just didn’t go far enough. Blue Highways, if I remember his book right, are the designated Scenic Detours. I am, completely, a fan of Scenic Detours.
However. The best Scenic Detour is one that has not yet been labeled such. It’s the back road that actually runs through the back of beyond, off the map. Too small to even be a blue highway, it is instead the squiggly unnamed line.
A moment from my cross-country roadtrip: My sister C and I were traversing the southern states. We had flown into Atlanta, and were on our way south (okay, time is a little muddled in my head right now, I’ll just say this happened at some point during our road trip). We were SO excited about “Southern Food.” We visited Mary Mac’s in Atlanta, near our hostel, and it was pretty good. Touristy, clearly capital-S Southern, but pretty good.
But then. Then we got lost on a back road. We found ourselves in a tiny town in Georgia, on a Sunday afternoon. The banners for “Boar Days!” were still hanging over Main Street, although the days advertised were one week prior to our own arrival.
A restaurant appeared, just as our lunch pangs were starting. We debated. Small town… Kinda sketchy… Totally worth it, we finally decided.
And god, were we right. The interior was decorated to look like an outdoor picnic, with wood tables, red check tablecloths, and faux aluminum siding overhangs. It was adorable.
The food was spectacular. Thanks to the recent Boar Days, they still had barbecued Wild Pig on the menu. We marked our selections on the paper with the stub of the pencil they handed us (collard greens, sweet potatoes, and banana pudding), and within moments they had delivered the first jam jar of our Sweet Tea.
That meal will go down in my own personal history. Not only because of the food. Just after we placed our order, the town’s church let out, and the main room flooded with families in their Sunday best. C and I eavesdropped voraciously. I don’t remember what was said, but I remember a warm, blissful, Southern capital-S feeling.
Then there was the food. I’m not even going to go into it. Except to say that it was multitudinous and splendid. The pudding afterwords especially stands out in my mind. It was simple box pudding, except that they had added real banana slices and ‘nilla wafers. So simple. So perfect.
Ooo! That’s what I changed it too. “I’m always falling off the map.” That was one of the days I fell off the map, with my sister this time. And it was lovely. A moment of location-specific bliss. That is, quite possibly, one of my favorite things in the universe.