Remember how Bill Clinton always got raspy by the end of a campaign? Me too. I have a bit of a sore throat and am sticking close to home where I had planned to get out to the farmer's market and hustle a few more votes.
In fact, sickness has hit our little campaign a bit. Poor Brooke got food posioning, we think, on Thursday night. It was what I thought was the best meat and three type restaurant( lunch or dinner) we'd had the whole trip - I had mac and cheese, fried okra,collards, chicken fried steak; brooke just had barbecue and fried okra, but by the time the party was over for us that night lunch was a bad memory for Brooke. We had a multi-stop trip home. Fortunately, Jack drove, and Brooke spent the night upstairs, sleeping in as much as possible Friday. But a disappointment about the lunch. Its hard to know about food poisioning. We tend to blame the mom and pop restaurant more than McDonalds, but we had stopped there for a late breakfast as we left home at 6 a.m. on Thursday to drive to Columbia. Brooke's up and at em today, however, after a day off, and is passing out cards for me at the farmer's market instead.
Now, back to MacDonald's. I had sworn off MacDonald's completely after reading about their meat. (I'm not going to repeat Kim Severson's article of some months ago, but trust me, it convinced me.) Prior to that, I had stopped at two places on the road, one of them being McDonalds. I felt it was reliable, a bit of a treat in that I rarely eat hamburgers, and I like their Ice Cream smoothy things. And their bathrooms. I remember before the Big Mac when you had no decent bathrooms on a road trip, and for years theirs were the cleanest, although frankly that has slipped too. But I'd been able to avoid eating there for all that time until this campaign. The alternatives are just not always there.
(See note above about Brooke's food poisioning.) So its sort of the devil you know. But there is just no satisfaction, not even a little feeling of sin, eating there anymore. ITs just "Well, if I don't eat I'll get mean and I don't want to make a fool of myself so I'll eat."
Our alternative to McDonalds is the Waffle House. Once again, we feel like we know what we are eating. We can eat an omelette and raisin toast, and avoid the margarine, and have a good meal. I do like their whirred-up two egg omelets, and somehow their nearly-cheese grilled cheese sandwich makes me think of growing up at eating them at drug store counters. Buttery on the outside, as they were grilled, and near-cheese really melted.
But Waffle houses really make me think of my father, who loved the waffle house. He loved the waitresses, and had a bad habit of loaning them money, which they rarely could afford to pay back. He went to one of two waffle houses every day for breakfast towards the end, although a few years before he had spread himself around at several diners. He purchased the same thing for breakfast every day, including a tomato sandwich to go for lunch. An early riser, always, he would leave the dogs in the car and bring them bacon or sausage as a morning treat. He had an old Hornet AMC -- bright blue -- and had built a cage inside of wire so that the windows could be left open for the dogs without them getting out. (Once he had a cat who would ride on his shoulder.) He loved diners where the waitresses kept packets of sugar in their pockets to dispense sparingly -- have you noticed they no longer have those sugar jars that had a metal cap where you could pour out all the sugar you wanted? And he flirted with the waitresses. He always flirted with waitresses. My parents were divorced acrimoniously but by the time they were in their eighties and both their spouses died they were the only people who called them by their first name, so they started seeing each other and courting. Ultimately mother got furious about the waitresses and started refusing to go to breakfast with him, and worried about what the church would think of her spending so much time with an unmarried man even if she had once been married to him, so it sort of fizzled out.
Friday was a much better food day for me. The literacy lunch was at a Marriott on Lockwood avenue that is always reputed to have good food. The chicken breast was actually moist and just the slightest pink, the smashed potatoes had garlic in them and were good for dry-type smashed potatoes; the dessert was donated and was a good carrot cake; and, as I said earlier, I was able to cook dinner at home after the Film Society meeting.
I really don't understand the state's obdurateness about not supporting the film industry. Army wives and other television and films bring so much attention to the low-country. But these film makers want tax incentives and rebates, feeling they contribute to the economy with all they spent here. At worst, i think it might be a wash out. But having creative people in a community who are constantly thinking of ways to capture the mood and beauty – particularly in such a beautiful state - is a good thing. Anyway, it was easy to speak to them about how important I thought they were. DeMint, of course, didn't send any one to speak. No surprise as he got an "F" on supporting the arts. He seems very dull, so I'm not surprised. I bet the last play he saw was his senior play, most likely "Our Town".
The raspy throat is still with me so I'm off to gargle.