April 21, 2008

Saturday morning my tire blew out. Yes, blew completely out so it was barely hanging onto the rim. It was scary. Even scarier than than was the rude drivers on the interstate. Luckily I felt the pull of the wheel as the tire started to flatten at 70 mph. As I moved to the right lane, I slowed to 60 mpg and the tire blew out completely just as I hit the shoulder. Getting out to survey the damage was a life threatening experience as 18-wheelers blew past me at 80 mph or more. The jeep shook with each passing truck and car. I was shocked at how many people didn't even change lanes as they passed by.

Ants crawled up my legs as I tried in vain to figure out how to get the never used jack out of my back hatch. Finally, I gave up and called roadside assistance, even though I'm very well schooled in changing tires. Yeah, $68 for something I know to do, but was too pertified that a truck was going to knock the jeep off the jack if I attempted it by myself.

And...no one stopped. No one. A female on the side of the road with the hazard lights on. No one cared. Ouch. The good news is that five years ago I would have been wailing as to where I was going to get the money. Growth is very good.

So, I did make it to Montgomery in time for the Book Fair in Old Alabama Town. I did get to hear one of my favorite Alabama author's, Rick Bragg. If you ever want to know what it was like growing up in Alabama, his memoir, "All Over But the Shouting", will give you the first hand introduction.

An excerpt: Even now, over twenty years later, I wonder if the reason I saw my father that one last time, that I heard the closest thing to a confession he would ever make, is because I responded to a dying man's cry for attention or just wanted the present, the bribe. I guess it does not really matter anymore. I went to the little house where he lived and knocked on the door, determined to stare him down, man to man, to let him know exactly what I thought of him for what he did to us, to my momma. I was going on sixteen, six feet two and 185 pounds, and had fought bloody battles over girls in the parking lot of the local Hardee's, and now and then my brothers and I mixed it up just for sport. I was not afraid of him anymore. I was not helpless now, not some child hiding under the bed.

The nephews were not that happy with the activity and the crowds of people made it hard to frame shots. After, we went for lunch at an old downtown hang-out, Chris' Hotdogs. It's been around since 1917 and it has a couple of claims to fame. President Roosevelt ate there once while visiting Montgomery. After, when he was visiting his summer home in Warm Springs, Georgia, he would send secret service agents over for hot dogs with Chris' famous chili sauce (very spicy). The other claim is that Hank Williams, Senior was arrested there for being drunk and disorderly (when was he not). Anyway - my mom and dad loved the place. I never really "got" it...but we thought the boys would enjoy the history.

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