Day 9: Orlando to Memphis


Return trips are generally more subdued and less eventful, but I’d like to share just a few things.  When we packed up, we all agreed that it was time to go.  We’d had all the fun and rest we wanted, and so there was no sadness.  We were on the road by 7:30 or so.

Casey Kasem’s American Top Forty


Early on, we took a break from the Harry Potter audio books and tuned in to a radio station which was playing an old American Top Forty with Casey Kasem from the 80s.  Simple Minds, Tears for Fears, and Survivor were in the top 10.  Both Jenny and I had listened to the program regularly so we were both struck by nostalgia as we listened.

It illustrated to me how much our world had changed.  The Billboard Top 40 and top 100 have became irrelevant to me.  I don’t  even listen to so-called top 40 music.  There are so many kinds of contemporary music, that it would be hard to come up with a list.  And does anyone even really pay attention?  Also, I don’t listen to the radio at all anymore except for NPR.  We used to depend on Casey Kasem’s show to help us decide what to listen to and to see how our favorite songs would rank.

It was also really interesting to hear him speak of the musicians as up-and-coming.

Gas station Gal

Somewhere deep in Alabama we made a pit stop.  I’d been stopping at mom and pop gas stations looking for pralines, because none of the big names were carrying them.  I figured I had a better shot.  I stepped in to use the restroom and then decided to grab a Red Bull to keep me sharp.

I stepped up to the counter and there was a young lady sitting on a stool behind the counter but not at the register.  She didn’t help me.  I figured that she wasn’t an employee and that I’d have to wait for someone else to help me.

I caught her eye and smiled. “How’s it going?”

“It’s alright,” she said, smiling and looking for her friend to come back to the register, “But I sure wish there was something better to do around this town or else I wouldn’t be hanging around the gas station watching my friend work.”

“Oh yeah?  That bad, huh.”

We chuckled over the sad fact and then her friend joined us at the register.

As she rang me up she said, “I don’t think anyone would mind if you took her with you.”

“No I wouldn’t, there is nothing here!”  said the girl.

“Yup, you go ahead and haul her out of here,” said the friend again, pleased with her jest.

As I left, I tried to come up with something clever to say, but all I could come up with was “Nah, I ain’t got no room in the car for you”, and I walked out of the door.

Now see, this is a problem I have.  The gal wasn’t obese, but she wasn’t skinny.  I have a rule about talking with chubby folks.  I don’t talk about weight loss and I don’t talk about fitting into things like cars.  I wanted to go back and tell her she couldn’t fit because there were already 4 people in the car.  And then I wondered why it even mattered because I would not be taking her with us anyway.

The second problem is that I used country grammar which I never do unless I’m talking to someone country, and I’ve covered that thoroughly on another blog.  I think it’s problematic for several reasons.

I wondered about a town with nothing to do than hang out at the gas station.  I’ll bet she does feel stuck.  I thought of the Texas woman in Peewee Herman’s Big Adventure who wants to leave her small town to go to Paris.  She ends up going to Paris, Texas and feels no less liberated.   Perhaps gas station gal will end up in London, Mississippi.


All the way to Orlando I saw big signs for pecans and pralines.  I wanted to make good time, so I didn’t stop, but I developed a craving.  My goal on the way back was to eat a praline.  Pralines are hard to find.  You can’t just get one at a gas station generally.  It’s a special treat. But on this leg between Orlando and Memphis, I didn’t see a single sign, nor could I find one at any of our rest stops.  Of course, I knew that an Aunt Aggie’s praline would be waiting for me at the Norman Walgreens if I didn’t find one.

We arrived in Memphis with no pralines.

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