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Next Food Exit 20 Miles

  • Wednesday, June 20, 2012

My four girls, three grandchildren and a friend, throw backpacks into the truck bed. They are heading back to NC after a week with us. Their requested breakfast that morning was cake and ice cream. I obliged. Hey, that's what grandmas do. One hour later they wanted to know what was for lunch. Much to their chagrin I pulled out the Chicken Pasta Salad I made that morning. I'm sure I just shot down sugar plum dreams of the mainstay kitchens of their hearts; Mc'D's, Chick Filet, Taco Bell. They hadn't eaten any fast food in six days. Once one of my granddaughter's asked the proverbial "What's for dinner?" question. I answered "Chicken." Without pause she asked "What are my two sides?"
I have to admit that I can't compete with fast food. However, I gave it my best shot and got all thumbs up around the table when I made my ~Shut the front door~ chicken strips. Even then their glee may have been because I told them that the recipe was a copy cat for a popular closed on Sunday fast food place.
I realized the allure of fast and furious eating as we headed down the interstate. They called out restaurant plaques located on the exit number signs like my brother, sister and I did with license plates as a kid. I finally fell prey to a 120 foot golden arch sign. 5 Happy meals and a floorboard of discarded junk toys later, we are all happy. I must admit that was a good little mystery meat burger. I haven't had one in so long. I now believe they were jonesing. We had cooked our meals all week. They thoroughly enjoy cooking and even made a large family meal one night, but the fact remains six days with no fast food. We have all had our fix now and continued on our journey.
We turned down the country road to my parents home in Dorchester for a short visit. I slid out of the truck seat to let my 15 year old granddaughter practice driving. The other three girls said a prayer before we took off. The hurriedness of the morning subsided with the slow passing of country miles. No signs beckoning or proclaiming their millions sold, just pastures, fields of soy beans dotted with remnants of last year's cotton crop, pine trees and massive oaks. I glanced down at phone and she's a goner. Zero bars. All the phones are silent. No notifications.
The next couple of hours were spent outside promenading the sandy gravel road on a golf cart and Gator.The front porch offered shade, breezes and the melody of Mom's wind chimes. With moisture sweating cups of lemonade in hand, the girls connected with their great grandma and gr-granddaddy.
And then we are back on the interstate. Two girls succumbed to the ride. The two left awake kept me company with stories and singing. I called my daughter to see where she was at on her journey to meet me halfway. We decide to meet in the parking lot of Hardee's off of I-77 exit 179. Where else?

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