The requisite six months has passed for me to have repressed most of the memories of my last trip to the Jockey Lot. It was time for another trip with Paul, and we had new victims Brian and Greg are the newest Furman Chemistry faculty, and was high time to introduce them to the true Heart of Dixie.
The indoctrination began with an early breakfast at Gene’s. I pointed out the crucial arrangement of grits on the plate, and we discussed childhoods in various parts of the country. At some point I relayed the tale of Long Branch Pentecostal Holiness. As I talked about the dirt road, lack of plumbing and heat, and the hog farm next door, I noticed a man at the next table over taking a keen interest in my story. As I finished, he spoke up. It turns out that he attended Long Branch shortly after my father left there as pastor. This cemented another cliche of the South – that it’s a small world and everybody either knows or is related to everyone else.
We got to the Jockey Lot just as things were getting active. Our timing was perfect.. Brian and Greg marvelled at the extent of the place and variety of goods, both legal and questionable. There was one place selling DVD’s in unusual jackets of movies that were still in theaters. Most amazing to them was the fact that you could purchase enough weapons and ammo to outfit a small mercenary force.
It must have been the weather, because the place seemed even more active today. We watched as two vendors across an aisle almost came to blows over wehter or not Tony Stewart cheats. In addition to the multiple copies of The Last Supper and unlimited quantities of NASCAR memorabillia, there was a display of live reptiles, including a 100 pound rat, if the sign were to be believed. It only cost a dollar to view, and we were tempted.
I intentionally left my big camera at home. It brought out some hostile stares last time. However, I did have my little S1 with me and snapped off a few shots. Unfortunately, I had left the date imprint on, so that’s stamped on all the shots I took.
Big camera or little, I would have loved to have taken photos of some of the characters, both shoppers and merchants. I’m sure Polly Donahue would have some suggestions as to how approach them. However, I don’t think, "Let me take your picture ’cause you’re weird looking" would go over very well. I’m afraid just about any request wouuld have been interpreted as such.
We managed to escape without purchasing too much. I got a $3 paperback, and Greg picked up a remote control. We tried to get Brian to buy a "Yankee by birth, Rebel by choice" license plate, but he wouldn’t go for it. He did, however, treat us to ice cream in thanks for his deep immersion into Southern culture.