LITTLE ROCK & CLARKSDALE
A NICE LITTLE MEAL FROM A ROADSIDE JOINT
Finally, I leave the highway to take small national roads. I stop to have breakfast in the middle of the countryside, in this little town straight from a Coen Brothers’movie. In what looks like the only store that hasn’t gone out of business yet, a small black grandma serves her customers and offers a variety store/restaurant/gas station at once. She has homemade “cookies”. These kinds of buns where the flour is mixed with lard, a Southern specialty. She sells them in the form of egg and ham sandwiches.
The place is tiny and dated, but fans clearly come from afar for the experience and the specialties.
She places me on a single table covered with waxed canvas set aside for guests who insist on sitting to eat. As dessert, I devour a homemade fruit pie made by another grandmother. It’s fried, and it’s good.
There is an unoccupied camouflage hunting truck parked outside. Rusty old car carcasses are finishing their days in the tall grass. Old tires are piled outside unused gas stations that have been recycled in residential homes. Some little old men arched under baseball caps pass by like ghosts. There are still old signs full of hope: “Business for sale”. Vegetation has taken over, and the price has been “reduced”.
AN AMERICA IN DECLINE
As I get in Little Rock (I would later learn its not so glorious past during the civil rights era), I stop to grab a bite to eat in a place that is reinventing itself as a western picture. Everything is fake, but it boasts itself as “local” and “authentic”. The only thing that seems to me as true is the omnipresent TV in all public places, the same channels in loop: CNN, or worse, Fox News. The news of the day fills the media space-time with an abundance of details with such force that it obscures all other topics. At the time of this trip, what everyone is talking about is George Zimmerman’s trial for his alleged murder of Trayvon Martin, a black teenager.
SOUVENIRS FROM CLARKSDALE
At the edge of Clarksdale, after a memorable evening, I notice the casinos along the road with huge parking lots that are packed. These attract more people than a few legendary small town juke joints now mythical.
KATHY & FAMILY