October 6, 2010


I’m writing this at two in the morning from a  motel in Texas. South Texas. And a few days ago, I was at a rig on the Canadian line. So, as you are probably aware, I see a lot of country. And I miss Shirley.
You see, I don’t hear very well. I know I’ve told you this before, but I have a hard time ordering food without Shirley along. I can never hear the waitress. I know I’ve told you about the time I was going to a horse sale in Sioux Falls and stopped at Ft. Pierre to order a burger at McDonald’s. I ordered a number four. Then changed my mind and ordered a six. Then changed again. Then this scratchy voice that sounded like it came from outer space repeated my order. The girl could talk faster than a world champion auctioneer. When she was done, I just said yes.
When they brought the order, it was enough to feed a bus load of Norwegians on their way to the Hostfest! I said I just wanted a burger and fries and one diet Coke. The girl began to cry. I said I would pay for all of it, but I didn’t want to take it along. She cried louder. The manager came. The girl cried louder. I explained it wasn’t her fault, but she cried anyway.
A while ago, I stopped in west Texas at a little diner off the beaten path. I simply ordered the special at noon. I do that a lot. Just bring me the special. It’s always good. Guess what it was. Catfish. I hate catfish. Catfish and fried okra. 1,500 miles for catfish and fried okra! I should have learned to read the menu.
Yesterday morning, I think I was in Kansas, I stopped for breakfast. I’m a good eater, you know. And this girl with this southern drawl waited on me. You hear a lot of that down here. I didn’t want to screw up, so I just pointed at the menu. Biscuits and gravy. She flashed a warm, southern smile at me and asked if I wanted the casserole. Now, I’ve never had a biscuit and gravy casserole before, so I nodded. It sounded different. She asked if I wanted grits or gravy. I’m a gravy guy. You probably knew that.
Did you know that if you say “catfish” real fast, and use a southern drawl, it sounds a lot like casserole? Yeah, right. Catfish on the biscuits and warmed over gravy! Maybe I should have had the grits! Catfish are a first cousin of bullheads, you know.
Well, I’ve got to get rolling. I figure if I leave before three in the morning, I can get through the traffic around Houston without stopping on the highway to cry. And then I just have to fight my way through Dallas again later in the day. I’ll let you know how it turned out. Thanks for riding along this morning.
Put the coffee on Mama, Daddy’s coming home!