PALATKA—It’s early morning in Florida. There are billions of crickets singing. I am overlooking the Saint Johns River, which cuts straight through Putnam County, and it’s hypnotizing.
If you were to ask what I am thinking about right now, I would tell you flat out: I am thinking of taco dip.
This is because I am a man. Men don’t think complex thoughts. We think painfully simple things. If you could peek inside a grown male’s head, it would shock you. You would find nothing but cobwebs, empty potato-chip bags, and Dale Earnhardt posters.
There is a bass boat out this morning. A man teaches his son to hold a rod. The kid tries to cast, but can’t get the hang of it.
Behind me is a narrow mainstreet, lined with storefronts, a bingo parlor, some gift shops, street lamps. Five or six steeples pepper the skyline.
There’s Angel’s Diner, Florida’s oldest dining railcar. Their burger is a spiritual experience on a bun. That’s not just my opinion, Billy
Graham once ate it and felt the same way.
Speaking of Billy Graham, he preached his first sermons in these parts. He was a nineteen-year-old when he was baptized and ordained here.
They say the tall skinny kid with the oiled hair could be heard shouting in the woods near Silver Lake. He would holler sermons at a specific pine stump for practice. Years later, I understand the stump finally repented.
Young Billy went on to preach in local country churches and shout to roomfuls of people who fanned themselves with paper bulletins.
It all started right here.
Just down the road is Saint Augustine, the oldest city in the United States. It’s got more history than you can shake a taco at.
Though, today Saint Augustine is more of a tourist attraction. The last time I was there, a man wearing…