austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

We were victims of the night

We woke New Year's Day as close to checkout time as we safely could. I was a bit surprised the hotel didn't have late check-out for New Year's Day, but that must show my inexperience with hotels over New Year's. We had formed vague plans to get lunch with MWS, who was staying four rooms down from us, and with GRV, who was staying ... somewhere ... else. After a fair bit of research we found there was a Cracker Barrel right next to the hotel, separated from the hotel's parking lot by a minor road and some of those islands of grass and trees that parking lot designers like. GRV backed out, I think out of some distaste for Cracker Barrel, so the three of us brushed just enough snow to be irritating off our cars and went over.

It turns out lunchtime on New Year's Day is when everybody in the world decides they should head to Cracker Barrel. The line was long enough we considered maybe whether we could do Subway or Denny's or something else. Instead we stuck it out, wandering around the shop section. There was this tabletop water fountain that wasn't turned on, and one of the staff tried mightily to find the switch that would turn it on because apparently it's quite pretty when it is. They were also pushing leftover Christmas stuff at pretty big discounts. While there someone bought, we assume, a couple artificial trees with the lights woven into the synthetic material.

Besides the lunches we ordered they brought out plates of black-eyed peas. The waiter said how this was the restaurant respecting the southern tradition of eating black-eyed peas on New Year's Day for luck. This made me remember that a couple of times my mother tried moving the New Year's Food Tradition over from herring --- which we loved as kids, but possibly because we had exactly one, once a year --- to black-eyed peas. This was years before she decided South Carolina was the place for her. There's pieces of my parents' heritage that they only let through in passing, incidental moves. For example, my mother's father had a distinctly Irish name. Sometime in the mid-2000s my mother mentioned how he had converted in order to marry her mother. Her mother was Catholic. It's a little bit of texture, but still, things I hadn't put together.

The black-eyed peas had bits of bacon in them. We're not insistent enough vegetarians to refuse at that point, when nothing but waste could come of protesting. It just confused the good-luck charm of the dish a little.

Trivia: Just over 24 thousand of the thirty thousand tiles were installed on the orbiter Columbia before it was first delivered from Palmdale to the Kennedy Space Center in March 1979, though the need to ``densify'' the tiles to improve strength between tiles and the strain-isolation pads might have required them all to be removed and re-applied. Source: Space Shuttle: The History of the National Space Transportation System: The First 100 Missions, Dennis R Jenkins.

Currently Reading: African Americans in Michigan,Lewis Walker, Benjamin C Wilson, Linwood H Cousins.

PS: Reading the Comics, January 27, 2015: Rabbit In A Trapezoid Edition, some comic strips and a picture of our pet rabbit enjoying cardboard.

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