Isn't it funny that the farther you go in a particular direction, things can change drastically? Take roads, for example. They connect people via cars, buses and bicycles. They take us from point A to point B and all points in between. They connect water to mountains to desert to plains. They connect cities to suburbia. Town to town all meandering along the same road, but oh, so different.
Not more than seven miles down a highway from our town lies a completely different planet. A playground of loggers and people who still consider banana clips fashionable. A place with one (no, two) stoplights and a disporportionate number of bars to schools. A town that seems lost in some kind of time-warp and yet, has it's good points.
For us, this comes in the form of, oh boy do I even have the guts to admit this, The Elks Club! I, being culturally illiterate in these areas, have no idea if there are these types of places all over the country (probably in places like South Dakota?) or not. But it is a fascinating world. My Hubby's Aunt (whom we consider kind of a surrogate Grandmother to our kids) is a card-carrying member of this "club". She joined for the socializing (she's single and sassy) and has yet to meet the man of her dreams there. In the meantime, she likes to take our family there for $1.50 cheeseburgers on Tuesdays or $5.00 prime rib on Fridays. She always "treats" us with, in her words, "Uncle Buzzy's social security", which cracks us up because 1) they have been divorced for something like 25 years and 2) he's deceased. No, it is not funny that he's dead, but you should hear how she refers to him, it is funny. So, we go to The Elks Club.
I cannot begin to explain how different this place is (and it's only 7 miles down the road). You need to be buzzed in and all visitors must be logged in. It is kind of creepy when you think of it, like a secret society of Elks. They probably have a handshake too. The place is full of bingo-playing bikers and loggers. The ecclectic stops there. We must look ridiculous to them, as they eye us disapprovingly because we have all of our teeth (that's a little harsh, but you do get the feeling that you're out of place). It doesn't matter to us though, there are burgers to be eaten and it's on Uncle Buzzy! The service is fast, the food is sooooo good (even when served on styrofoam - see how backward they are?), the people watching is great and the drinks are super-cheap. I am not kidding, $3.75 for 1 Diet Coke, 1 Coors Light (bottle) and 1 Screwdriver. That's cheap. The bathrooms are even clean and fresh-smelling. Our kids are a little ansy, this being a restaurant and all, but nobody cares because the folks at the table next to us have kids who are engaging in a burping contest.
It is heaven, encapsulated in a strange, strange, secret-card-carrying building where the video poker never ends and the ponytails are down to THERE! A place where the women need Rogaine and the men need a good shave. Where people don't care about politics (what are those?) and they let the good times roll (who wouldn't with drinks that cheap?). A place where the volunteer cooks use way too much grease and your cholesterol just took a spike upward. The funniest thing is, this place is just down the road, not far from our town (which is little and has it's quirks too), not far from the interstate and not far from a few big urban areas that magically, a little further down the road, become big cities! Isn't it funny what is just down the road?