Friday, May 8, 2009

The Southern Moment

The Southern Moment sits as a shining example of what it's lke to live in an area that is growing suburban and connected to the 'old south' at the same time. Because of its importance, both words are capitalized and you should have a Confederate Flag or Non-Light Beer handy to salute.

I share this defining Southern Moment so that we may all benefit from it's memory.

My wife and I were sitting on the front porch. We don't have a full front porch, it's more of a concrete set of three steps with a wide cement platform at the top before the door. This particular area we live in is southern-suburban. This means that the houses are close together, we have paved or cement driveways (some only use chatt) but no sidewalks. The roads are asphalt, but they end at the edge of the yard. It gives the place a very country feel even though we are in the heart of suburban Nashville. This particular warm day we sat outside, drinking iced tea and enjoying the sunshine. A few of my southern neighbors are also out enjoying the sunshine.

Then, it happens.

From down the street comes a rumbling sound, a muffler missing...well, everything, and the engine skipping every 5 or 6 strokes. An El Camino well past it's prime comes slowly down the street. It is brown, the color of mud and rust...mostly rust, in fact there is so much rust and fading paint that it is difficult to tell the original color...maybe cream..maybe's that bad. The front bumper and one headlight are held on with generous and skillful applications of Duct Tape. The windshield is a spiderweb of cracks and crazing. It's amazing that the occupants can see out.

There are two men in the tight little cab. They are both wearing dark, stained and dirty ball caps, the kind you get free with a fill up over at Larry's Cafe and Truck Stop. The front of the caps are so dirty that it is difficult to see any more than a faint outline of some logo of some forgotten bar, beer, NASCAR number or heavy machine manufacturer. The bills of the caps are rounded as if the caps are kept wrapped around a can of beer when not being worn. Do they ever take them off? Both men sport scrubby mangy beards, not trimmed, and not longer than about a weeks worth of stunted, thinning growth.

As the vehicle passes, I can see that the truck bed of the El Camino is the home to a large Rottweiler. Large? This may surely be the largest Rottweiler I have ever seen - the largest Rottweiler of all time. He is so large he does not have to raise his head to see over the cab of the El Camino. He turns his massive head to look at us and the weight of his lolling tongue causes the car to tip slightly to the side. He doesn't move and merely turns his head back to center allowing the car to once again ride level. As the El Camino moves down the street, I can see that one of the tail lights WAS kept on with duct tape, but has sprung loose and is hanging by it's wires, streamers of silver tape swinging gently in the passing breeze like the end of a parade float.

Oh, but the Southern Moment is not complete. For at the end of the block, only a couple of houses down from where we sit, the El Camino comes to a stop. BOTH doors pop open as if on cue and both riders lean out, facing downward. Both men then simultaneously spit a large viscous gob of tobacco juice and god-knows-what-else onto the street. Without further ado, both men pull back into the cab and the doors close as one. The car again starts, pulls around the corner and is gone.

The moment is over. Excuse me...the Southern Moment has occurred. You may salute your Confederate Flag, raise a non-light beer in it's memory.

I have never seen the car, the drivers or the Rottweiler again and anytime I regale friends with the story of the Southern Moment, they think I am making it up. I assure you that none of this is made up except that I don't really remember what we we drinking and iced tea seemed appropriate.

The Southern Moment shall now have it's place on the net.

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