Cracker Barrel is quiet this time of morning. Our waitress is standard issue. Slightly older, a buck five sopping wet, cheerful face, silver hair that leans a little toward the purple side.
She looks like my granny did when I was a kid, and her smile makes me nostalgic for those simpler times. It’s a smile that says she’s exhausted, running on caffeine, but proud to be here.
I half expect the old woman to kiss me on the forehead when she greeted me, the way my Granny might have.
She opens with, “What’cha wanna drink, shug?”
Before I order, she removes her notepad and she actually touches the tip of her pencil to her tongue.
God love her. I’ll bet she still drives a Buick, too.
“Coffee, please,” my wife and I say.
“Comin’ right up, shug.”
My wife and I have been on the road for a few days. We stopped at Cracker Barrel to use the bathrooms, to eat, and to buy mountains of festive-smelling holiday decor from Cracker Barrel’s Old Country Store.
While my wife
was wandering around the general store earlier, maxing out our Amex, I bought some horehounds and ate half of the bag.
I always purchase horehounds at Cracker Barrel because they are a thing of the past, and this store is the only place in the USA where you can buy them anymore.
I’ll pause here for the young people. “What’s a horehound?” I can hear the collective youth of our nation asking since, after all, many don’t know what horehounds are. In fact, whenever some people hear such a word they start thinking it’s vulgar.
Let the record show that horehounds are candy. They are about as American as the Lone Ranger, and older than the Pharaohs.
Mankind has been using horehounds since the first century BC, shortly after the construction of the first Cracker Barrel. Alexander the…