Drove through Chattanooga yesterday, I’d never been to Chattanooga before.
Interesting place. Mountains were impressive. Not Sierra Nevada impressive, but for a guy whose lived in Minnesota for the last 18 years, they were impressive.
We hit a Subway for lunch. In case I was wondering where we were, the crew at the Subway quickly confirmed my geography with language and appearance. I know it’s easy to be kinda elitist and all northern dude and such but I swear to G-d the kid making sandwiches was a dead ringer for the banjo playing mutant from Deliverance. Top it off with I couldn’t understand a word he said. And I grew up listening to my Dad who had the one of the thickest Southern accents you’d ever want to hear.
I think I understand the term hillbilly now.
Or not. Maybe I don’t understand at all.
Interesting little sidenote, as we were getting back on the highway after our lunch stop, I noticed on the side of a little hill, just on the other side of the fence separating the highway from the rest of creation, a monument with New York on it. Having been to Gettysburg I recognized as a Civil War monument, but up that time had been completely unaware of any action around Chattanooga. Well, little research into Wikipedia, the source of all knowledge and what do you know, there were three battles fought in the vicinity. Chattanooga was a big rail hub in those days with connections to the Tennessee river, which connected to the Cumberland and so on, so there was rail and barge transportation available.
I learn more just walking around than most people do in a week.
I also learned a way to figure where in the country you are-
One sign that you’ve crossed to the south- the road kill changes. Up in our part of the country the road kill of choice is raccoon. Sometimes the entire family of raccoons in one shot, they’re all over the roads up there.. About the middle of Tennessee it seems that the roadkill starts changing from ‘coon to ‘possum. And when get in to the real south, it’s all armadillo. Interesting that when you hit an armadillo, as opposed to a raccoon or other soft bodied critter, they seem to land in the same position on the side of the road; tit’s up. Must be the center of gravity is higher on those things.
And while were speaking of big things…
While moving the kid into the dorm I happened upon an Alabama cockroach. Ok I’ve seen a roach or two in my life, in California the first apartment Mrs S and lived in was kinda roach infested, not a damn thing we could about it, I’m sure it was the 26 Mexican dudes living in the one bedroom apartment next door, but I digress. Out there we had them, they were officially called German cockroaches, we’d turn on the light and they’d go skittering along. They were about the size of small beetle, and there were more than a few. We’d bomb the place about once every two weeks or so and then vacuum up their bodies.
An Alabama cockroach however, is a different critter all together. As Mrs S’s cousin put it, “you can by saddles for the roaches in Alabama.” I sort figured that if Eric missed the dog, he could adopt one those things and have a new friend. In all likelihood it would be a lot nicer than the dog.
Interestingly enough, as we walked across campus in the evening I saw another one of these things go skittering across the road in front of a family. After the initial scream, one of the kids stomped on the thing, ground his foot and then lifted to see his work.
The beast was unharmed and proceeded on it’s way. Another stomp, same result. Another kid got in it, with the same results. Nate made the comment “these things would survive nuclear war, why do you think stomping on them would do anything?” Good point.
See the how much fun the bugs are down were, and appreciating the serenity that living in a climate where nature has her on insecticide in the -20 degrees winter I started wondering about fire ants. I’ve been scared to death of those things since I first read about how they escaped from that lab in Brazil and started moving Norte.
Or maybe that was the bees.. I can’t remember which is which.