Here, I get to comment on two states -- or three, or four, or heck, even five -- in one entry, and perhaps piss off not just one aggrieved commenter in one state, but potentially a whole bunch, in five.
And it's Andy's
fault, sort of. He wanted me to make fun of Louisiana.
Having been there, I can. And more.
Back in my corporate cog days, I received a rather unusual assignment: travel to West Monroe, Louisiana.
At the time, I was an investigator in a Fortune 500 company, based in Denver, CO. So what was I being sent to a major paper products manufacturer facility to do? Surveillance? Internal investigation? A facility risk assessement? A pre-labor dispute preparedness survey?
Nawp...I was being sent to pick up a truck. Phffft. Perhaps I'd figure out later whose Wheaties I'd apparently peed in.
Now, I'd been to Louisiana before: two trips to New Orleans, well before Katrina rearranged portions of it, with a 3rd trip in the near future. But West Monroe (pronounced Munn-row, by some of the locals), was another critter entirely. To get there, I was sent to Dallas via Delta Airlines; and from Dallas, aboard one of those pathetic 'vomit comets', into Shreveport, LA. From Shreveport, I drove on to the land of lots of trees, humidity, possum-paved highways, grits....and huge friggin' palmetto bugs.
We Yankees call the danged things roaches, but I digress.
Not that my stay in West "Munn-row" was totally unpleasant; our local corporate security rep was very helpful by day, and a gracious host one evening, especially after his 4th or 5th bloody mary, interspersed with scotch on the rocks, which helped him break into a bad Irish brogue to bellow a version of Danny Boy neither I nor his wife had heard before, or since (speaking for me, anyway).
That next morning, sporting a tad of a hangover myself, I stepped out of my hotel room in downtown West Munn-row, only to see my copy of USA Today trying to walk off, apparently on its own. Suspecting a bloody mary hallucination, I reached for it, only to become engaged in a bug-o'-war with the biggest friggin' roach (aka, palmetto bug) I'd ever seen (I kid you not, it was the size of a starling). A bug-o'-war which I won, at the cost of a paper that was no longer readable, dripping with palmetto guts after a prolonged paper-in-hand-to-antenna struggle.
A nearby maid just shook her head and muttered something about "danged Yankees". I got to hear that term a lot down yonder.
On the day it was time to pick up the truck -- a brand new 1990 Ford F-350 crewcab, which was not what apparently had been ordered -- my cohort recommended that, instead of heading back west on I-20, I should go north, through the "splendor" (his words) of Arkansas. I'd made the mistake at some point the previous evening mentioning that I'd never been to Arkansas.
I don't remember all of the route I took north out of West Munn-row, but as I crossed the line into Arkansas on a backroad, I knowd I was in for the longest non-stop drive possible, starting with the sign: Welcome to Arkansas, Unless Yore A Yankee, Then Just Mosey Right On Outta H'yar.
I figured I could find solace on the radio, but not in this part of the state. I found two radio stations I could pick up thereabouts: one was broadcasting a fire-n-brimstone southern Baptist revivial, interspersed with some Ray Steven's ditty about a squirrel loose in a Mississppi church.
The other wasn't: it was being officiated by a dj who, doing his best Northern Exposure dj imitation, was philosophizing about the movie Deliverance, and playing the Duelling Banjos theme song over...and over...and over...and backwards...in between times, speculating on if them hippy-lookin' Brits (I suspect he meant the Beatles) were behind the demonic reversal of the Dueling Banjos theme, and how it was affecting hootch prices and making goats less amorous, or some such a thing.
So I re-reckoned I could take some solace in the "splendor" of the rural scenery as I rolled along, only to note that even the birds had straw in their beaks, straw hats on their haids, and waved muskets at bypassing "city fellers" or the neighboring clan they were apparently feuding with, ala the Hatowls & McCrows.
Charlie Daniels rerouted his trip via Omaha. I was quickly figurin' out why.
But I did eventually hit a north-by-northwest-bearing interstate highway, and started seeing a bit more of the splendor of Arkansas: rolling hills, trees, fewer outhouses, and no 400 lb denim overalled toothless denizens, pointin' flintlocks at the "danged Yankee". I even saw a billboard, advertising a tourist trap destination: Come See The Biggest Dung Pile Outside a DC, Y'all!
I don't remember the town, but at least they were wise enough to know they could NEVER stack it as high as DC, then or ever.
As I got closer to Little Rock, I knew I'd returned to something akin to civilization, as I was able to stop at a gas station that didn't have mule-powered gas pumps. And I even saw a modern Arkansas State Police vehicle, complete with a trooper out recruiting dates/cigar humidors for the then-governor.
The significance of this would register a few years' hence.
Not long after then at any rate -- having entered the state at 55 mph, and exiting at 80 -- I was back on familiar ground: I was in Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plains. And not much else goes on, save for an occasional tornado, rearranging terra firma with no particular design idea in mind during the process.
Evening time was setting in as I saw the familiar welcome sign to Kansas (Kansas Welcomes You; Yawning Prohibited), and pushed on, listening on the radio to a rather poignant missive about the pros and cons of wheat cross-pollinating with sun flowers, and how it was a harbinger of the agronomist's Apocalypse; this on a station that clearly wished it had something else to broadcast about, like tornado warnings or hog price reports (it did those "on the tens").
Sadly, the weather wasn't prime for tornadoes, and what with night fall, it would have been wasted, so I just drove on, enjoying being relieved of the scenery Kansas has to offer, by the cover of night.
Technically, the equivalent of reducing barlighting at closing time to pitch black.
After a short nap on the outskirts of Goodland, Kansas, I saw Colorado at sunrise. It was splendid (other than when I thought someone had moved the sign, for about the first 100 miles, back into Kansas). I knew I was home when I could finally see the mountains to the west, as I sat mired in a multi-mile traffic jam during the latter stages of morning rush hour in Denver. The horns, the gestures, the sirens, the xchanges of road rage gunfire and smell of pollutants, let me know I was back from where I'd begun.
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Labels: anything PLEASE humor, Arkansas humor, Colorado humor, humor, Kansas humor, Louisiana humor, Oklahoma humor, politically correct fallout from the previous humors, travel humor