Monday, January 26, 2009
Yesterday was a day off. And with no rain, although it was chilly, and no possibility of snow again until next year, Carlos and I decided to take a drive to Aiken.
South Carolina. Horse country. Old money. Old houses. Old. But it's a cute town, more Mediumville than Smallville, and lots of cute shops and restaurants, many of which are closed because it was Sunday.
Oh yeah, nothing is open in South Carolina on Sunday, and the things that are open don't open until after church. It's one of the passages in the Bible: Thou shalt not shop until after 1:30 PM. Or something like that. My knowledge of the Bible is rather limited.
Anyhooo, when we first moved here, we were going to rent a house until we toured the area and decided where we wanted to buy. That first night, a Sunday wouldn't you know it, the heat in the rental house wasn't working and it was about 40-degrees inside. Plus, the movers, who had promised to be there, couldn't make it until the next day. So, we took our cars, loaded with some suitcases and last-minute packed items, four cats and a dog, and found a motel. Then Carlos and I drove to a Chili's for a bite to eat. I am not a fan of Chili's; I've had horrible service at Chili's. I hate Chili's. But it seemed to be the only thing open. So we went.
The place wasn't crowded, and we got a table right away. the hostess gave us a menu and a special plasticky-looking cocktail menu. I needed a margarita like I'd never needed a margarita before. We'd spent two days driving from the tip of Florida to Smallville, in two cars, with the aforementioned four cats and a dog, stopping for potty breaks, food breaks, walk breaks, etc.
I needed a margarita.
The server came by and I said, "I'll have a Cuervo Gold margarita, on the rocks no salt." I may have been drooling as I said it. Then it happened.
"Oooooh, we don't serve alcohol own Sundy." Yes, it sounded like that.
"Y'all cain't order dranks own Sundy."
As David Dust says, Dear Baby Jeebus, what have we gotten ourselves into?
I believed, for a moment, that we had landed on another planet; that we'd taken a wrong turn on I-26 and ended up in......The Twilight Zone. Or, at the very least, the No Dranks Own Sundy Zone. But we survived. I had a Coke. And I didn't die, although i wanted to bitch-slap South Carolina for such a stupid rule. Blue Laws? Pfftffffffft.
And we learned that 'own Sundy' nothing opens until after church, because that's how God wants it. You know, She's up there, in Heaven, seein' dead people, performing miracles, helping actors win Oscars, telling preachers that gay folks ought to burn in Hell, and stopping people in South Carolina from shopping. Busy Busy Busy.
After we found 'our' house, we were having people over for dinner. Carlos wanted to get some candles for the outside tables. He drove down to The WalMart--I don't know why it's K-Mart and Target, but it's THE WalMart--to get a few things. It was a hair past noon. He took a basket, got a couple of candles, a few little knick-knacks for the deck, and headed up to the cashier.
"You cain't buy those yet."
I believe he may have wept and tossed his candles to the ground before being escorted from the building by the Heathen Police. I do know that he came home all pissy, muttering something about country-town and hillbillies. But we learned. You 'cain't' buy anything but food or medication 'own Sundy.'
And alcohol? Not in this county, kids. No. No. No. You have to drive to the next county to buy it, in a restaurant or bar; you couldn't even buy it in stores 'own Sundy' until a month or so ago. So, Smallville, and Mediumville, have their issues. But you learn to get around them. You need candles for a dinner party on the deck? Buy them 'own Saturdy.' You need alcohol? Same rule applies, unless you cross the county line.
But man, I'll tell you, as soon as the Church-Is-Over-One-Thirty-Bell strikes, The WalMart is jammed; K-Mart, too. And the Dollar General and the Dollar Tree, and the Blockbusters.
Still, and this is my point: you make do. You learn to live life the way it's done in these here parts. And you go to visit a town called Aiken, or Mediumville, and you walk down the streets looking in all the closed shop windows, and you come upon a sign that makes you smile about life in a Red State tiny town:
Closed at 3pm today. (sat) Went home Sick. See you Monday.
Smallville ain't so bad. And neither is Mediumville.