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little town, full of little people

Written by Kate on August 3rd, 2005

The last week or so of riding through Illinois and western Kentucky has been a rolling monotony of green, green, green. I guess there’s a tidy charm to the wavy hills and patchwork fields and quaint farm houses and pockets of forest, but the landscape has been so familiar looking that it feels like I’ve been cycling in circles around my backyard in Canada. I’ve got the recipe down for quintessential Small Town America: all you need is a greasy diner, a tanning salon, a beauty parlor, a pawn shop, a liquor store, the ‘Stars and Stripes’ flapping everywhere (with a few Confederate flags competing for the wind), and at least three front lawns with mini-billboards trumpeting the Ten Commandments.

So when Mel and I pull into town at the end of a long day, we have limited options for entertainment. There’s eating (always a worthwhile pasttime). Or napping (anywhere, anytime, on anything). Or talking with the locals (a snippet of the Disturbing Conversation of the Day: “Y’all’re from Canada? I bet y’all dont have no A-Rabs up there do you? Ah caint staind all the A-Rabs a pourin in this country. Ah need to git to Canada.”). Faced with these options, we’ve become quite creative at entertaining ourselves. We’ve discovered that grocery stores are the perfect setting for filming goofy video documentary scenes, and it’s always fun to walk the aisles and salivate over all the food we can’t carry or cook. Video stores usually have movies playing, and it’s amazing how long it takes the clerk to notice you’re not browsing but staring, mesmerized, at ‘Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion’ on the TV. And then there’s the local library, a bastion of intellect, internet, and air-conditioning, with a whisper-only rule that renders it the perfect setting for a nap.

We’re back in the mountains again now, this time in eastern Kentucky. The change of scene is awesome, but then there are the dogs. No homestead – however modest – in these here parts is complete without a posse of vicious guard dogs with raging and inexplicable appetites for sweaty spandex. So while the Appalachians are beautiful, it’s hard to fully appreciate that, say, stunning tangle of vines on the mountainside when a murderous mutt is liable to suddenly burst out of it in full attack mode. I’ve tried kicking, growling, shouting, and pedaling hard and fast, but the most effective means of defense has proven to be pepper spray. The challenge is aiming the cannister at the canine with one hand while steering to avoid potholes and stay on the road with the other. It’s a real rush, let me tell you. If only we still had those puppies to fend off their brethren…


1 Comments so far ↓

  1. Anonymous says:

    Kate: I’ve followed you this far. Are you in Virginia yet? I’m in suspense! Debbie at Morehead

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