I got $700, Andra. 700 dollars. I can pay for stuff.
Dad and his money are not easily parted. Unless one is selling him a television or anything related to the Georgia Bulldogs.
At our first stop for lunch:
I can get this…..All I got is hundreds. Lots of places can’t break ‘em.
WE HAVE A DEBIT CARD JUST IN CASE, DAD!!
Okay. You can get it.
I still ain’t found no place to break a hundred.
Roy, I already gave them our debit card.
HE SAID HE ALREADY PAID, DAD!!
Still, Dad was generous with his time at the reunion, regaling every table with Roy stories as only he can.
Them people thought I was funny, didn’t they?
Who said that?
EVERYBODY I TALKED TO.
Who? Any of them women say anything about me?
No amount of money could buy a set of experiences that equal spending time with my dad.
MTM got up extra early this morning. It was our final breakfast of the trip to Tennessee, and he wanted the oatmeal to be super-special for Dad. He laced it with apples and maple syrup. A singular cup of coffee spangled Dad’s place.
Dad greeted all of the effort in his own unique way.
The Biscuit Box. We need to stop there on the way back.
Dad, that’s out of the way. OUT OF THE WAY!
Nu-uh. It ain’t. I been there before. The Biscuit Box. It’s good eatin’.
It doesn’t really matter to Dad that I cannot eat biscuits. I can’t eat much of anything he’s selected on this long weekend of stomach persecution. Cheeseburgers. Apple pie. French fries. Moon pies. I crunched my unsatisfying lettuce at every meal.
DAD!! THERE’S SOMEBODY YOU DON’T KNOW!!
Huh? Where at?
And, that’s how I stole many a french fry off his plate. I was performing a service, saving him from a diabetic coma.
We stood in line at The Biscuit Box in Chatsworth, Georgia. Miles out of the way. MTM ordered a bacon and egg biscuit and a jelly biscuit. I ordered a bacon biscuit, heartburn flaring before I even bit into it.
Dad ordered grits and eggs, sausage and toast. He didn’t even HAVE a dang biscuit.
Growing up, I never understood Dad’s fascination with the Moon Pie. Soft cakes filled with marshmallow cream and covered in chocolate, they are a Southern tradition that tasted like cardboard to me. Still, Dad ate boxes and boxes of the things.
I never knew the Moon Pie originated close to where Dad grew up. Chattanooga, Tennessee. As soon as we drove into the city yesterday, he started pining.
Golly. I sure would love to get me a Moon Pie and an RC Cola.
Riding up Lookout Mountain on the Incline Train……
A Moon Pie sure would be good with this view.
I’m not hungry for much…..Can we get a Moon Pie?
At the Moon Pie place……
A double decker. Make sure you get me one of them double deckers.
I got one, too, and shared a Moon Pie with my father. It was the best thing I’ve tasted on this trip.
Dad stayed in the car while I walked across the expanse of grass. Touring graveyards has to be hard. His 60th reunion program indicated that it would be his last.
I am glad I am with him.
Alone, I stood at the foot of the grave of my great grandfather. The man whose scowling photo frightened me as a little girl.
Thomas Jefferson Watkins.
And, I shuddered. It was another sign. To keep trying. Just when I needed it.
It will make sense to everyone someday, but for now, it is enough that I see it.
According to Dad, he was born in a hospital above a drug store in Dayton, Tennessee. That building was an institution.
The Scopes Trial occurred in Dayton, Tennessee. Only, it didn’t start at the storied courthouse with the battle between William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow in what was the biggest courtroom in the state.
The seeds of it germinated in Robinson’s Drug Store on Main Street. Just imagine the possible twists in strategy, with laudanum available to enhance the ice cream float from the soda fountain. The folks behind the trial plotted, and they planned. In 21st century journalistic fashion, they stirred up a story that became an international sensation.
Right inside the building where my father was born.
We toured the courthouse, and Dad talked so much that we all worked up an appetite. When we walked into Cafe Pascale, Dad waltzed up to a table of strangers and made their acquaintance.
I was born right here in Dayton. I was. Above the old Robinson’s Drug Store. You know that place, do you? They done gone and tore it down, but I was born there. In the hospital upstairs. That Doctor Broyles – you remember him? – he circumcised me.
DAD!!!!!!!!! THOSE PEOPLE ARE EATING!!!!!!!!!
No, I’m not gonna eat much. Do you have any apple pie and ice cream?