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I like books.

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I live in a small town and enjoy writing about the inhabitants. I spend most of my time perusing through used book stores looking for that one great book that I don't have; consequently, I have rooms filled with books. I am a book addict.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Hub Cap Burgers

So, Comma, my friend and colleague who is helping me in the Delta, and I went to the Delta to set up our month long project, talk to the students at the local high school, and get the English teacher and principal on board for our upcoming projects.
We left the City on the Hill at the best possible time. The entire town was covered in ice with falling trees and most houses without power. The four and something hour trip was good. The roads, for the most part, were clear of ice and debris. We stopped in Conway and had a shamefully gluttonous dinner. Then we stopped for a designer cup of coffee for the road, and all was good. The rest of the trip went quickly as we talked about our project and how we can do this and that. Comma is young and in tune with what kids like, so I’m happy she agreed to help me with both the Feb literacy event and the summer academy. We spent the night in a little town thirty minutes from the impoverished town where I do these literacy events to bring the town’s folk into opportunities to read and write. The hotel was full but they had one room, the presidential suit, and that is where we stayed. I might add, it was nice and warm and the room was large and even though Comma and I shared a King Size bed, we both felt that we were bathing in the lap of luxury. The next morning, I bathed in a huge ass tube with jets and whirlpools and big bubbles. It was all televisionesque. Then, we went to the town.
Here’s the thing, the town is dying and there doesn’t seem to be much any one can do. The main street has huge empty buildings, and all through the town there are houses condemned. The town sits on the bank of this big lazy river and while we waited for our appointments, we parked on the bank of the river and watched huge trees, fallen from the ice storm, float by. We also admired the house boats and old renovated homes that were at one time plantation owners’ homes or the summer homes of absentee landowners.
In this town, people are set in their ways and there are racial divisions that have such strong historical roots that racism is often blatant. The school has, in the last few years, consolidated with the African American community a few miles away and that has increased racial tension to the point where many have taken their white kids out of school and sent them to private schools in the town up the road. And the really sad thing is that those kids who came from the black schools and those black students who were already at this school are now being whitened, which I will write about later.
But, while we were there, we couldn’t find a place to eat lunch, but then we saw this sign, hubcap burgers and we thought, wow, that sounds good. NONONO. First off, the woman who cooked our burgers played video poker between flipping and dressing our sandwiches. She didn’t wash her hands and she smoked—right there under the misspelled sign that said, We cant smok cuse the governer said no smokeing inside of public establismints. Do you see what I mean about the town? Oh, and the hubcap burger place is right next to a motel where you rent by the week and those people came in and with dollars and played video poker and from their constant video playing and rotted teeth and exaggerated movements, I assume them to be tweaking on meth. I mean, in a town where literacy is at the lowest possible mark, and jobs are scarce, and money has to be tight, there are dollars for video poker and money for drugs.

5 Comments:

Blogger zelda1 said...

In case you're wondering, I do know how to break for paragraphs, but I was battling a starved for affection kitty, so I was slightly distracted.

12:57 PM  
Blogger delagar said...

My students play video poker, often in class. They also drive across the border to the casino, with what small bits of cash they have left each month -- students with missing teeth, students who can't make the power bill half the time. It's appalling, yeah, but (I know you know this Zelda, I just can't keep from saying it) it does make a kind of sense. What other chance do most of them have?

I mean, they could invest their 38 dollars. (Ha!) They could save it up. (Hee hee.) Or they could try wining a fortune with lottery tickets or at the casino. One road looks as fucking likely as the other, from here in Pork Smith, frankly.

They sure as shit can't pay off their credit cards or find a dentist that will take them or anything else with that 38 dollars. Or climb out of Fucktown, Arkansas, either.

I wish I knew what the solution was. I keep hoping it's education, and for a few of us, it is.

11:57 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

Oh my heavens, those burgers. Is it terrible to say that they were somewhat decent? I must have been starving.

6:06 PM  
Blogger zelda1 said...

They were decent but least we forget the video, smoking, cook. She was too funny and I keep thinking about the sign and the people there and she didn't use gloves. LOL

8:12 AM  
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