Tuesday, November 28, 2006

My family vacation south of the Mason-Dixon line (whatever that means).

Hi, I am Alice and I am taking over for Dan today. When I received this email from Dan, "thanks for taking care of my blog, you mexican day laborer", I thought- who better to share the joys of my 7 day family road trip than with Dan's readers. So I bring you a photo slide show of the wonderful days I spent with my mother and sister in what I can only call "bumblefuck" Kentucky and Tennessee. Incidentally, Dan and I happened to be in the state of Tennessee at the same time- two New York bloggers in a red state at the same time?!? Who knew that was even possible??

I grew up in a house full of women, road trips in my family are more like extended all girl slumber parties. We are an extremely close family, each with dry, sarcastic senses of humor. But I wouldn't recommend spending five days in any car with three adult hormonal women; like most families, we were bound to kill each other sooner or later.

Spending five days in the bible belt is what I like to call Hell or the Betty Ford Center. I never realized how much new yorkers drank until I was forced to spend 5 days in a dry county without libations or cigarettes. Much to my surprise, Starbucks has become a universal cultural beverage and can even be found in a town that has roughly 200 citizens. In the face of sobriety, caffeine became my dark master and new addiction.

I discovered something about myself during this week, I need at least 4 hours a day by myself with complete silence. Needless to say, my family drove me nuts. They talk incessantly, all the time, even in their sleep. I almost lost my mind. By the third day, I was ready to stab a ho. We got into our first family fight that was over nothing and resulted in mostly under the breath mumbling. I was jet lagged and running on 9 hours of sleep over three days, if you glance closely I am almost scowling in each photo. They made me visit Abe Lincoln's birthplace at 10 in the morning, when all I wanted to do was sleep in the car.

The thing about my mother that you realize upon first meeting her is that she talks to EVERYONE about EVERYTHING. She is the friendliest person I know. For instance, Elizabethtown, KY, Cracker Barrel. Mom spent a 10 minute conversation with the waitress documenting a 1996 road trip to Mackinac Island where I made her stop every 20 minutes for a bathroom break. And the day begins.

Elizabethtown, KY, Lincoln's Birthplace. Mom and Reg think it's funny and take a picture of my first bathroom break. Assholes, I really need to get a new family.

10:05 am: Reg (yes, she is named Reagan, after the President) and I in front of a copper Lincoln family. Reg is secretly enjoying my misery.

Reg desecrating the "symbolic" birthing bed of Lincoln by doing her best pole dancing stripper impression. That's my sister looking like the tramp that she is.

10:20am: Reg and I stand in front of the "symbolic" log cabin. Everything at the memorial was labeled symbolic because they couldn't actually prove any of it belonged to Lincoln. In fact, part of the cabin in above photo is part of the cabin Jefferson Davis, the Confederate President, grew up in. During the many exhibitions, the logs got mixed up, and now this is the symbolic log cabin of bigotry.

Reg and I outside the Lincoln Memorial in Kentucky, this one precedes the Washington, DC one. This is my reaction to 16 hours of hearing about my mother's and sister's sex life- they are both "in love". Blah, whatever that means.

Mammouth Cave. Yeah, boys, this is what I am going to look like in 16 years. My mom is a total MILF, but she is taken.

We finally made it to southern Tennessee around 6 pm, upon arriving we found out we were in a dry county. Along the way, all we could envision was getting trapped in a no name town and becoming a character out horror movies such as Deliverance and Wrong Turn. Instead we end up in a dry county. Can you imagine what it was like to be at a family reunion for 3 days with absolutely no alcohol???? Did you know everyone in the south is related? We couldn't go to a restaurant, butcher shop, gas station, or Walmart without family members coming out of the wood works. My mom kept trying to betroth me to second and third cousins, I didn't let her out of my sight for fear she would drive off and leave me in Tennessee. I live with a family full of jokesters.

Oops, how did that get in there? This is my parents' psychotic and shaved cat, Betty, also heir to the family fortune. My dad keeps threatening to leave all his money to the cats.

Does everyone remember that stupid movie with the Rock in it called Walking Tall that's based on a true story? While we were in Adamsville, we visited the original home of Buford Pusser, also a distant relative related by marriage. Who knew? Buford was the sheriff responsible for breaking up all the whiskey stills in the 60's that resulted in this county becoming the dry county it is today, including my family's still. Apparently it's a rite of passage for the men in the fam to go piss on his grave. Yeah, because that solves everything.

Mom, the Auntie, and I standing in front of what probably would have been the family fortune.

Ooh, Mom holding the legendary stick Buford was famous for busting up "trouble" with. What's even crazier is that when my mother was my age she was federal law enforcement and trained near Quantico. I wouldn't want to mess with her. Ah, poor town, the only claim to fame for Adamsville, TN.

Other highlights from the trip:

-Every shop doubled or tripled as something else. The butcher shop we ate at was a diner, butcher shop, and tobacco store all in one.

-The only place to go for entertainment and was suggested to us more than once to pass the time- Walmart.

-To pass the time, we made up games like cow counting and cross counting. Mom cheated ALOT. Reg kept pretending to fall asleep to get out of the game.

-My mother told us a story about how when she was younger to get rid of boys she didn't like, she used to pretend to have a twin sister named Alice. She would straighten and curl her hair every other day, then talk trash about the other "twin sister". "Patti is such a liar" or "Alice is such a whore." My mom has always loved the name Alice.

-We caught Mom making eyes at an older guy wearing fatigues, a greying mullet, and a t-shirt that said "it all starts with attitude". In Mom's defense, this guy would have been cute in an Armani suit.

-We heard a commercial on the radio giving advice for a happy and healthy marriage. "Men, you need to take control of the remote in the household. When you see offensive programming, change the channel. This will prevent upsetting your wife and keep her from developing unrealistic ideas of life, ones that God didn't intend." I.E. It will keep your bitches from getting uppity.

-My grandfather raises turkeys. He doesn't sell or cook them, just raises them for no good purpose. Chickens, he also had a lot of chickens.

-In the middle of three very dilapidated towns, there was a majestic mansion/church called the Church of Love and Truth. I think it should be called the "church of this is where all the town money went."

-In an attempt to continually annoy my sister, I kept telling her she was adopted. Mom told her it's not true.

I hope this was somewhat entertaining, I know I had a great time stuck in a county with no alcohol, internet, or cell phone reception. It was a great family bonding experience, I am sure we will do it again in another 10 years. Next time, I hope it's in a more civilized state where the day revolves around more than trips to Walmart and mealtime. Ah, good times.


Blogger [Cherry] Ride said...

What I want to know is, why are you holding a bag at the Buford Pusser museum? Did you buy a souvenir??

November 28, 2006 at 5:04:00 PM EST  
Blogger Alice said...

yes, we did. We bought mugs and tshirts.

November 28, 2006 at 5:11:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Velvet Sea with moonshine on the landline said...

woah woah woah...no alcohol is one thing but how can one survive without a cellphone for that long? i can't comprehend.h

November 28, 2006 at 5:14:00 PM EST  
Blogger "said" Woman said...

As an E-town ex-pat thanks for the trip down memory lane. Sorry it wasn't more exciting.

My Mom loved the E-town Cracker Barrel as well. I would just go so I could stock up on the extra large jawbreakers in the front of the store. Gotta love Kentucky - Christian County is dry and Bourbon County is wet...then they wonder why the rest of the country thinks it's a backwards place.

November 28, 2006 at 5:43:00 PM EST  
Blogger Kate said...

Ugh, as someone who has spent time at Kentucky Wal-Marts for "fun" and a survivor of a dry county, I feel your pain. I forgot there are parts of the country where men wear overalls unironically.

November 28, 2006 at 6:01:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As opposed to Manhattan where the day revolves around shopping, drinking, eating...um, never mind.

Whatever it is, we win. Apparently if for no other reason than because we live *here* (center of the known universe and all) and they don't.

November 28, 2006 at 6:07:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's "senses of humor," not "sense of humors." Any blogger worthy of the temporary responsibility of entertaining Dan's readers should know better than that.

November 28, 2006 at 7:04:00 PM EST  
Blogger threetoedsloth said...

Gahhh! My mom shaves her cats just like that one!!!

November 28, 2006 at 7:17:00 PM EST  
Blogger ducklet said...

'shaved cat' and 'buford pusser' will henceforth find permanent places of honor in my lexicon. awesome.

i would have added a third from this post, but i've been saying 'legendary stick' for years.

November 28, 2006 at 9:26:00 PM EST  
Blogger Alice said...

Sorry anon, you are right, it should be senses of humor. I failed miserably as a guest blogger. Also after posting the cat pic, I thought of a better tag line- a shaved pussy other than britney spears, see idontlikeyouinthatway.com. or something along those lines.

November 28, 2006 at 11:25:00 PM EST  
Blogger Vegas Princess said...

Another excellent guest post!! Alice, your family sounds alot like my family, except we would have found a way to smuggle in some alcohol and been taking nips from our flasks all night and spiking our egg nog.

November 29, 2006 at 12:12:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my, you guest posters have to do better - Dan writes as if though im personally heairng him... and you guys suck so far...oh i guess i will come back DECEMBER 11 when he gets back.
Try harder or dont try at all... hmph!

November 29, 2006 at 1:14:00 AM EST  
Blogger Kelly said...

Whatev to the anons - you guys are rockin'.

In my personal experience, family reunions should revolve around mealtime, shopping and drinkin'. And when I say "shopping" I mean for food and drinks. C'est tout!

[Heeyyyyy, do you think the Anon posters are Dan heckling his guests? That would be a funny spin...]

November 29, 2006 at 8:47:00 AM EST  
Blogger Kate said...

Wow, the anonymous people are sure "ridiculous", aren't they? Complaining about a post that they chose to read, on a blog that they went to, looking for a guy who selected these people in his stead.

Whether you like it or not, how about shutting your damned pie hole? I think Dan would be ashamed of you. And no one wants that. In fact, imagine hearing it in his voice. "Hey anonymous, you suck ass". (Sorry Dan for putting words in your mouth, but I can only assume you wouldn't like their comments.)

November 29, 2006 at 8:48:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They never tell you that you're in a dry county until it's 10 pm and you're too tired to leave. For future reference, most dry counties have licensed "clubs" where you can pay a few bucks at the door and there is alcohol within. Try hotels near the freeway or ask at the convenience stores.
My favorite rural south driving game is the collection of bigoted Christian billboards and church signs. My latest was "Get out from the sin and get under the blood". I'm still trying to figure it out.

November 29, 2006 at 9:17:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think its funny that women are the ones that are bickering with anonymous people..sad sad people...wait till Dan gets back...he gonna whoop out a can of sarcasm ya asses for bickering on a BLOG!

November 29, 2006 at 10:01:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HEY! that guy in the Country Butcher Shop was not old and he was flirting with me not I with him. What Alice did forget to tell you was her embarassing incident at the starbucks outside Nashville in a little town called Bellvue or Belle Meade!!! As the three of us were walking through the starbucks on our way out, every businessman in the the place was watching us. It was quite ego boosting!! Well, until Alice walked right into the door - face first!!! Kind of reminded me of the sex in the city episode when sarah jessica parker was walking down the runway with all eyes upon her and she trips!! Secret Agent Mom

November 29, 2006 at 3:12:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i love your sister's boots... what are they and where did she get them?

oh, i like your post too.

now tell me about the boots!

November 29, 2006 at 3:12:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By the way, I did bring 4 bottles of wine with me and I made Alice beg for a glass every night! Secret Agent Mom

November 29, 2006 at 3:18:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nine West - the boots!!

November 29, 2006 at 3:19:00 PM EST  
Blogger Alice said...

yes mother, I did walk into a door face first. Thanks for reminding people of how graceful I am.

November 29, 2006 at 3:24:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: Kate
So, we should have no opinion unless it agrees with yours? Had I been informed previously of my right to *only* feel pity for, and superior to, those in the South, I'm sure I could have complied. Good thing Dan's building houses for those backward morons, I don't think they sell 'em at Wal-Mart.

November 29, 2006 at 4:21:00 PM EST  
Blogger The Bourbon Samurai said...

dry county?! Where was this, Kentucky, Iran? Tell me it's not so!

November 29, 2006 at 4:34:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are we to understand that your Mom is only 16 years older than you?

November 29, 2006 at 4:40:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Weirdly enough, Bourbon Samurai, there are dry counties in Kentucky with "wet" towns. And! there are dry counties with bourbon distilleries.

I hate to pile on, but I'm so tired of the whole, "those backward, redneck southerners" thing. There are many interesting things to see and do in both KY and TN. It's unfortunate that our visiting blogger either didn't do them or didn't find them interesting. However, I would find that more a lack of intellectual curiosity on her part than lack of intellectual stimuli on those she visited.

November 29, 2006 at 5:11:00 PM EST  
Blogger Kate said...

Hey last anon. I lived right near E-town for the better part of a decade, and the most interesting thing I ever found in town was the annual Duncan Hines festival/beauty pageant/world's largest brownie attempt. It's as awesome as you're all imagining.

November 29, 2006 at 5:22:00 PM EST  
Blogger Alice said...

Hey anon, I said nothing about backwards. I did visit a lot of the intellectually stimulating parts but I left a lot of that out because I didn't think anyone would be interested in some of it. We stopped at EVERY historic landmark. It was crazy.

I didn't at any point criticize the south. I had a blast the whole time I was there. I just could have lived without the four meals a day- I can only eat so much.

November 29, 2006 at 5:31:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Secret Agent Mom said...

Let's see, anonymous apparently was raised with no ettiquette. You are never to ask or imply a ladies age, but if you must know, I will give you my standard answer -- I'm 25. If anonymous cannot leave the subject alone, than I assure you he/she is really unworthy of reading Dan's blog. Secret Agent MOM

November 29, 2006 at 5:40:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Kate, I lived in central Kentucky for 21 years and somehow managed to keep myself busy. Was it the history (native american, civil war, underground railroad)? the unique ecology of the Appalachian Mtns? Mammoth Cave (how could anyone not find it at least a little interesting? Big Bone Lick (mastodons, mammoths and sloths, anyone?)

This is what I managed to come up with in 3 minutes. I'm sure there's more, but I'm not gonna bother.

Alice, here's the thing, after reading what you wrote - topped off with some crack about returning to civilization - I'm pretty sure most people would assume you're at least *implying* some sort of, um, let's just say deficiency, on the part of those you came in contact with. Just saying.

November 29, 2006 at 5:46:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

whoa are we a little touchy or what - how did you correlate return to civilization with deficiency,

November 29, 2006 at 5:55:00 PM EST  
Blogger DebAnn said...

Wow, these comments are way more entertaining than the actual post.
And anonymous? I believe that if our intrepid blogger is hoping for a bonding experience in a "more civilized state," doesn't that mean she finds the one(s) she's in to be, well, deficient? And I'm almost certain "bumblefuck" isn't a compliment.

As for the wet/dry discussion...what the hell? How can a town be wet in a dry county?

November 29, 2006 at 6:59:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You gotta like all the "offended" southerners phoning in their support.
I moved to the Deep South 10 years ago and heartily agree that it sucks here. It's got some nice points but there's just a deep down lack of fun.

November 30, 2006 at 8:04:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Secret Agent mom said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

November 30, 2006 at 10:00:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Secret Agent mom said...

I believe the word bumblefuck can refer to any far out of the way place in any state. I don't believe that Alice meant it as a direct reference to any of our relatives in the quaint little town that was visited, nor do I feel that she meant any disrespect to any of you anonymous readers out there who may be from some town like bumblefuck, USA. The last time Alice visited the relatives in Tennessee, that quaint little town did not even have a Wal-mart, only a Piggly Piggly. Only the main street in the town was paved, her great grandfather's house had a dirt road leading to it, and it was surrounded by a woods. And yes, as a young child visiting my grandfather in this quaint little backwoods town, we were forbidden to ever go in the woods and not because there was a monster in them as we were led to believe, but because my aunts and uncles feared that we might happen upon their stills. I was there in the late sixties, early seventies when Buford Pusser helped rid the county of these stills. And to correct alice on one item - Walking Tall starring the Rock is not based on Buford Pusser or a remake of the Walking Tall movies that I grew up watching and my father cursing, it is a story about a man who was inspired by Buford Pussers tactics of no guns and courage that it took to conquer organized crime in this county. Buford Pusser did in the 60's & 70's what Eliot Ness did in the 1920's against Al Capone.

November 30, 2006 at 10:00:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Piggly Piggly or Piggly Wiggly? That's what I *thought*, Secret Agent Mom!

November 30, 2006 at 10:20:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Jennifer said...

I can't help but be reminded when I read these comments of the movie that Michael J. Fox starred in a few years back. What was the name of it...? Oh yes, Doc Hollywood! Anyone remember that one? Let's be nice, people. Either you like the South or you don't. And opinions are like belly buttons: everybody's got one. I've enjoyed reading them today!

November 30, 2006 at 10:22:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Secret Agent Mom said...

sorry about the typo anon - yes it was meant to read - Piggly Wiggly! Another analogy of what this town was like - The Whistle Stop in Fried Green Tomatoes.

November 30, 2006 at 11:37:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Caitie711 said...

It's called a "sense of humor." Get one!

Blogs are about making fun of stuff. If you see the words "south of the Mason-Dixon line" in the title, you can bet your cute lil asses it's not going to be a post about the magical wonders of grits and the intellectual stimulation to be found at the local Dollar General. It's going to be jokes about southern places, southern people, and southern comfort.

You wanna read about the wonderful world of Podunk? Go to a tourism website. Anyone reading this blog is supposed to be smart enough to understand sarcasm, irony, and "joshin" when they see it, and to take things with a big old grain of salt. You're used to salty things there in the South, right? All over the collareds and okra.

I said collareds, not coloreds. Calm down.

November 30, 2006 at 11:51:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Caitie711 said...

Before ya'll jump all over me for the typo: collards that is. Not the lizard. Though you have those too.

November 30, 2006 at 11:53:00 AM EST  
Blogger team gingerbread said...

"symbolic log cabin of bigotry"


November 30, 2006 at 12:45:00 PM EST  
Blogger Cath said...

There used to be a privately leased billboard on the way out of town (I live in Montgomery, AL, and I think it was going north toward Birmingham) that said "Go to church or the DEVIL will get you!!!" With a picture of the devil holding a pitchfork.

Sadly, it's gone now and there's nothing to make fun of anymore. Oh. Wait...

November 30, 2006 at 4:28:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well alice, after reading or trying to read heather's blog, i take back everything bad i said about you in yours. evidently your literary education surpasses heather's. remember the movie The Heathers, I just wanted to off her!

November 30, 2006 at 5:47:00 PM EST  
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