I had occasion to make a sojourn to a small town out in the country recently. It was for the purpose of having a face to face meeting with a lovely pair of people who I am connected with through Social Media. The destination is a halfway, or close to a halfway point between our residences. They are like minded folk who share similarities on such subjects of import. Politics, insanity, the difference between right and wrong, and many other forms of inanity are but a few topics which we equally engender and feel it imperative to comment on when given the chance. We are a trio of well-travelled, well read, and well intentioned citizens of the world. It was an amazing opportunity and I thank them for giving me the opportunity of sharing some of their time with me.
The trip was somewhat bittersweet as it required me to ride past the farm of a gentleman I knew before he passed away. It gave me time to reflect on days gone by. I searched the side of the road for a location to place the castle I hope to build once I become this millennium’s Stephen King by selling a billion or so books. It let me open the window and smell some country air, and revel in the glory of what the earth has to offer if one just takes the time to look about. Given that is was initiated through the absurdity of Social Media, it came as a restful respite from my day to day norm.
The small town with the amazing old country café was along a line that included another small city which I had never been to. It was just five miles further and I was forty minutes early so I decided to list it as one of the “Places I’ve been to” in the probable travelogue I will eventually write and publish. It seems an easy project from the one I am currently pursuing which entails becoming either vastly wealthy or unilaterally unloved.
I rolled into town to be greeted, first by a school bus painted pink that has had the hood and cab converted to portray the head of a pig/hog. It was the “Welcome to…” sign for the community. The transfiguration from a school bus to a porcine herald seemed more a harbinger then a jocund salutation. The welding and sheet metal additions were of a less than expert level fashioning. It sort of reminded me of what you might find from someone with a shop in his garage with way too many tools that he does not really know how to use. Still, if looked at with a less discerning eye, it serves the purpose it was placed there.
Next to it is the “Harmony Wedding Chapel. This appears to be just what the name states and it is a locality that has made me rethink the location of my next wedding. I am firm in my decision that if I should choose to enter an association with another person that results in participation in the institution of marriage, such happenstance will be initiated in Las Vegas with the Elvis Guy officiating. Barring that, I am certain that the Harmony Wedding Chapel would serve me well.
There is an eclectic assembly of small businesses that I found to be of certain interest. There is The Forge Bistro which conjures thoughts of manly victuals that are not terribly good for one, but probably taste like heaven. The implication of manliness coming from the insensitive mind of a writer that prefers cheeseburgers, meatloaf, chicken fried steak, and catfish to sushi, Panini’s, and Falafel, all served with French Fries, Mashed Potatoes and a side of green/pinto beans or a simple house salad with Ranch dressing.
There is the Lilli Pepper Clothing store that the outside is decorated like a junk shop on the order of Sanford and Son mercantile from television memory. There is a more feminine flare to the decorations and, I suspect, and owner behind the cash register dressed in a large drooping turtle neck, a peasant skirt, half lens reading glasses hung from a chain around her neck, and her hair loosely tied up with a pencil stuck in it. This might be an outrageous misnomer and I apologize if it is. I was sitting in my truck talking into my memo app on my phone. It is all speculation, but I suspect that some of this is both veritable and factual,
There is Ben Creative Arts Center that left me wanting in my limited ability to imagine, visualize, or fantasize a readable description of this enterprise. I wish them well and have some comfort in that I have not been guilty of falsehood in the least kind.
There is a place called The Secret Garden which had various signs and announcements outside one of which made mention of New Orleans and another hinting at hidden treasure within. Again, I found nothing witty to say, or apologize for.
I saw a sign for a place named Beyond the Picket Fence and it was just that, just a simple sighting of a building sitting in the back of a parking lot and holding some mystery to me. The hour was fast approaching for my rendezvous for victuals and I drove off.
The last thing I saw was a van, backing into one of the businesses I have not mentioned that looked as if it might belong to a hippie commune. I had seen it when first arriving in town parked in a driveway just past the area of commerce and thought it to be to owner’s residence. I did not see what it said on the side and that intrigued me.
I found a spot to turn around to head for my repast and noticed a knifesmith. There were a few other places that initially held no interest for me and I went off in search of what turned out to be a decent plate of catfish. While eating my companions and I spoke of this place I visited and came to the conclusion that it might be peopled by folks who formerly lived in a larger city and moved to the country, or just bought a home in the country for weekend sojourns much the same as I. The experience certainly affected me and I believe I might just dig a little deeper into Ben Wheeler, TX next month when I once more meet my friends. This time I think it just might just be the chicken fried steak the café is purported to be famous for.