It’s late. I‘m cutting through Lower Alabama on my way home. I’m the only vehicle on the road. I pass barns that barely stand upright. Hayfields soft enough to sleep in.
Behold, the country at night.
Headlights in the other lane. I turn my brights off. It’s the polite thing to do. It’s how I was raised.
The man keeps his brights on full-blast. They blind me. I flash. He flashes back, but keeps his high-beams on.
God bless you, too, pal.
I flip on the radio because my truck is old. I don’t have a working CD player. Anyway, I’m crazy about radios. I inherited this crazy from my parents, who always had a song playing. It’s just how I was raised.
“...NO, YOU LISTEN TO ME, SIR! YOU LISTEN TO ME CAREFULLY, BECAUSE I WANT YOU TO LISTEN TO ME...”
A preacher screams, “...All liars shall have thy part in the Lake of Fire...”
There’s a billboard in the distance, lit from the bottom.
“Wind Creek Casino, Atmore.” The sign shows happy people playing slot machines. Platters of Lobster Thermidor.
I’ve been to Wind Creek. It’s nice, but there are no tables, only computer games. If they had roulette tables, I’d renew my wedding vows there.
I’m passing Red Level. Not a porchlight for miles. Nothing but sleeping people. These are rural folk. I too, come from rural people. To stay up late is indulgent.
It’s just how we’re brought up.
1. Early to bed.
2. Always offer to do the dishes.
3. Always let supper guests slurp the tomato water in the bottom of the plate.
More static. Heavy metal music. Static. Rap music. Whatever happened to tender songs?
I drive past mobile homes, peppering the long acres near River Falls—I have a soft-spot for trailers. After…