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Ain't It Just Like a Friend of Mine to Hit Me From Behind

And, I'm gone to Carolina in my car...

All right, so it doesn't rhyme, but I do get to head to North Carolina this weekend. Both of my little bros are gonna be home, so this is one of those rare opportunties for the whole Ham Fam to hang out and who would want to miss that? Nobody, that's who!

I can't wait.

It reminded me of this post I wrote around Christmastime:

I stop at a little country gas station near the Virginia/North Carolina border, in one of those border towns that takes its status seriously by calling itself Virgilina or some other colorful hybrid.

They don't take credit cards on the pumps, but they do take them at the lunch counter inside, which, as is the case in many small towns, serves the best food around. Fresh fried chicken and collards behind greasy glass, warm on your palms.

But I don't eat there. I just stop for a Coke and say hi to the cheery, elderly woman at the cash register, who is as unconcerned about her cigarette smoke offending you as she is about her slightly raspy, "Merry Christmas, hon!" No Happy Holidays and non-smoking sections in this eatery.

I don't eat there because I wait until the first Bojangles. It's a regional chain fast-food restaurant-- chicken 'n biscuits. I buy fries and the biggest sweet tea I can get. It’s called a JumBO. Get it? A JumBO from Bojangles.

The fries are so unlike standard fast-food fries, it's not even fair to put them in the same group. But we haven't thought of a whole new name for Bo's fries yet-- we just call them Bo's fries and trust that everyone who's had them understands. It's the same thing with my mother's pancakes, which are soiled by the implication that other pancakes can hang with them. We'll have those otherworldly pancakes on Christmas morning.

After Bojangles, a few more memories, a few more surprising songs, and I'm home. A sign reads "Welcome" and "Pardon Our Construction." I've always liked that we have such polite street signs. Another of my favorites is, "You May Want To Think About Yielding Now, Darlin'." We have those, too.

I pull into my parents' driveway. My brothers' cars are on the back lawn, where they're unloading presents and dirty laundry from college. The sun is impossibly big, orange, setting behind the magnolia tree in our front yard, making the glossy leaves gleam-- almost glow-- as I walk inside to join my family.

I love driving home.
I do, indeed. And, I'm off. Talk to y'all later.

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