I was driving from Atlanta to Birmingham. GPS projected that I was going to be late, and I desperately needed a toilet. Then I saw the sign that said “Welcome to the Central Time Zone.” And just like that, I had time to spare.
I passed the Talladega Superspeedway. I have good memories of the Superspeedway, but I had a train in the station, and my trains run on time. I pulled off of Interstate 20 at the Pell City exit and recklessly navigated the Cracker Barrel parking lot, bypassed the rocking chairs and weaved my way through the peppermint sticks and the Jesus CD’s to the hostess station. The nice thing about your Cracker Barrel is that everything – including the shitter – is in exactly the same place in every store.
The morbidly obese hostess in her Holly Hobby dress nicely asked – “just one today sugar?” I told her yes, but that I needed a minute. Knowing where I needed to be, I took a confident step in the direction of the consistently located Cracker Barrel Men’s Room. She casually placed her left hand on my left forearm, and said “here you go baby, you look like you need this.” She then gave me a used copy of the USA Today. Now I am not a germ nut, but it did occur to me that this scene had likely played out a few times already that day with some of the men of Pell City. Nevertheless I tucked the McNewspaper under my arm, and glanced at it while I made room for “Grandpa’s Country Boy Fried Breakfast”. I can’t for sure say that was the name of the breakfast, but that is exactly as I remember it, so that is how I have to tell it. It was a great overall experience.
Handing the paper back to Holly I wondered if I had ever had it so good. It is amazing what getting a little extra time and a soiled copy of the USA Today can do to turn a day around. If you happen to be in Pell City – accept my condolences – and stop by the Cracker Barrel.