February 24, 2007

Passed me by one sunny day

In Michie, Tennessee, I stop for gas and some leg stretching at the F&J Quick Mart. Which, judging from the number of people inside -- kids, mothers, guys hanging around, young women -- seems to be the place to be in Michie. Also judging from all the notices on the glass near the door: "Lost Beagle", "Two Lab Puppies found", "Pug Puppies for sale" (yes, plenty of doggie-related notices), "No Public Restroom", "ATM open", a public appeal to contribute to pay for someone's medical bills.

Best of all, a notice for the upcoming (Mar 1, 2, 3) 20th anniversary McNairy County Hee Haw.

Now I'm seriously tempted to return to Michie for that. Seriously seriously.

But for now, I stock up on gas, apple juice, a $1 sandwich (which turns out better than that price would indicate), chocolate, bubble gum (sour apple, watermelon and grape flavours) and get back on the road.

Half a mile further on, I zip past Bettie Lou's Diner. That grabs me, so I skid scarily into the next possible parking lot to turn around, warranting a honk from the startled guy behind me. Zip back up the road to Bettie Lou's. I'm planning to waltz in there singing these words:
    Hello Betty Lou
    Goodbye heart
    Sweet Betty Lou
    I'm so in love with you
    I knew Betty Lou
    We'd never part
    So hello Betty Lou
    Goodbye heart

    You passed me by one sunny day
    Flashed those big brown eyes my way
    And ooh I wanted you forever more
    Now I'm not one that gets around
    I swear my feet stuck to the ground
    And though I never did meet you before.

    (etc and all that)
So I pull in there very grandly, only to notice the sign I didn't see when I first saw her diner.

"Sorry We're Closed", it says. Oh Bettie Lou, Bettie Lou! (Isn't there another song like that?)

(Wait a minute, that's "Hello Mary Lou". Well, never mind. Sorry, Ricky Nelson).

But song or no song, I'm not going to be denied the pleasure of eating at, or at least sort of near, a Diner. So I park under a tree right there and solemnly munch through my $1 sandwich and the chocolate bar, with sour apple flavoured gum by way of dessert.

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