Up Country

(“Y’all just take little steps!”)

In our days at the WEG I didn’t pass through a single actual town. There were a few cross roads marked by a blinking light, but even those got shut off after 9 PM. Even for a Florida guy who normally drives 5 miles to buy a quart of milk, the back country takes a little getting used to. If you are at all familiar with north Georgia or the western Carolinas, you would understand why I proposed that the signature icon for the Games should have been a giant statue of Steffen Peters covered in kudzu like a humongous Chia pet.

Aside from the flora, I noticed other things that we don’t see back in “civilization.” When you are out there where the signal from the city FM stations doesn’t reach, all you can get are those little hundred watters with a down-home DJ who specializes in folksy readings of the school lunch menus. On a rainy morning I heard one such guy caution all his listeners, “It’s gonna to be wet out there this morning so y’all just take little steps.”

Back in the day I once passed through a hamlet small enough that the pizza delivery Jeep also served as the town ambulance. In this part of the rural South it seems there was a similar casual approach to the preservation of human life – perhaps in larger families one or two would not be missed. For instance, the speed limit in school zones was only lowered to 35 mph. Either the kids are good at dodging or parents don’t care as much.

Along the same line the local fire department used a pontoon boat for on-water emergencies. No need to hurry, one supposes, and there’s room to bring a band if music would heighten the drama of the rescue.

Finally to round out the ambiance of the area, I was listening to a football game broadcast on a local repeater station which ran its own ads during timeouts. The best one: Bob’s Bail Bonds. “See Bob for all your incarceration needs!”