Location: United States
Chicken n' dumplins @ Cracker Barrel
I am at the Cracker Barrel. It is packed as usual. Seems like it is the only restaurant in Nashville. Lots of old people. Hardly ever see young people here unless they are small children. Aging baby boomers and their feeble parents. An older couple sits in front of me. He is bald; she has the white hair puffed up the way old women wear it. I see a lot of old couples. How do they stand it? I would rather be alone than to be burdened with an obese 60-year-old. I hang out with young women. I go home alone but at least get to be around all that brown hair and those tight, lithe bodies for a while. I am not looking for a woman. No desire to remarry. Been divorced 27 years is like having a "D" branded on your forehead. Once you are divorced, you are divorced forever unless you remarry, which is like running back into the Twin Towers on 9/11. One set of in-laws is more than enough. One thing I notice at the Cracker Barrel is some of the fattest people in Nashville eat here. A woman just passed my table. She must weigh 400 pounds. I suppress my desire to jump up and scream, "Feed this woman! She's starving to death!" And I think of those African kids that Sally Struthers used to try to get us to send money to. Old Sally did alright! Bill Skowron died. He played first base for the Yankees in the 50s. That team is passing. Of course, Mickey Mantle died in 1995 when a liver transplant failed. Billy Martin and Hank Bauer are gone as is Roger Maris. Whitey Ford and Yogi Berra are still around. Yogi is 86. Like he said, "It ain't over till it's over." I thought about Monument Valley on the way out here. It is in southern Utah. You go north from Interstate 40. I have been around the west but never been to Monument Valley. They filmed a lot of the old westerns there. Buttes and mesas carved over millions of years by erosion. I am a city man trapped in Nashville by an addiction to music. I long for wide open spaces, to drive down I-40 to Kingman, Arizona, hang a right and roll into Las Vegas. It worked before. That's the problem! The point of diminishing returns. Still, I want to be in the desert at night looking up at the Milky Way and feeling 16. I was close to the stars as a teenager. The only stars I see in Nashville are the ones manufactured by Music Row. I dream about getting some kind of vehicle that I can sleep in, throwing my mattress in the back and driving around the west soaking up its freedom and beauty. It will work for a while. Then, what? Back to Nashville with less money? I think of Shania Twain. She ended up with old Fred. No doubt Shania is the boss, and Fred "better walk the line." When she cooks him dinner and burns it black, he better say, "mmmm I like it like that!" Shania will be at Caesar's in Vegas for two years starting in December. I saw it coming. You play Vegas when you get old. She has a wordwide fan base and should have no trouble selling out the shows. The hits are there. All you need is 20 classics, and she's got them. I look around the restaurant, Couples mirror each other. I call it birds of a feather flocking. Like attracts like. Opposites attract only briefly. Fat men are with fat women. Good looking guys are with good looking women. And so on. Damn! That chicken n' dumplins was good! So were the turnip greens! I'm coming back here!
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JIM COLYER "GIRL ALBUM"