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Death to All Vegans

In Lake Ozark, Missouri this weekend I learned that my grandmother recently declared, “Death to all vegans.” When reminded that we are vegetarian—although I doubt that she knows the difference—and that she was marching rather perilously into a quagmire by consigning those like us to death, she tried to recant, but by report it was a hollow explanation, like George Bush when he offered Mohamed El-Baradei time: “I only mean death to the militant ones.” Indeed I have seen the face of the militant vegan, and it is us.

We went there to meet him, who since I last wrote about this has become mom’s third fiancé and in very short order will become her third husband, and his daughter. We supped; we breakfasted; then we all went home.

We drove Missouri state highway 15 from Mexico, Missouri to Iowa. It was a fine trip that, and all the way we talked, and we watched for deer, of which we saw few, and turkey, of which we saw some, and hawks and other birds. In Paris, Missouri we saw a mural by David Loewenstein:

David Loewenstein, When I was a boy, 1999

It is painted on the side of a feed and supply store. A man standing by his John Deere tractor stared at me as I snapped the picture.

Car dealership, Memphis, Missouri In Memphis we stopped to eat at a small diner, a remarkable place. Hanging from every slat on the ceiling and stacked three deep on shelves were coffee mugs. We were eyed with suspicion the minute we walked in, however, so I dared not bring the camera. A sullen waitress took our order. I asked, “What’s the difference between ‘french fries’ and ‘American fries’?” She sighed and explained that American fries are fried potatoes but that they didn’t have any. I ordered a grilled cheese sandwich and fries. The waitress asked, “French?”

Kathy ordered a chef salad that was iceberg lettuce, shreds of carrot, a half-pound of cheddar cheese, and ham—the menu was not at all explicit on that point. I said it might be a bad idea to explain with too much detail why she was sending the salad back. “If grandma is a good compass about the way rural America feels about vegetarians,” I said, “tell them you’re Muslim, or better yet, Jewish.” So Kathy said, “I don’t eat ham.” The waitress scowled. She took the salad back to the chef, an old greasy woman in a tank top. She glared at us.

The waitress returned: “If you don’t want ham, you have to get a tossed salad.” So Kathy did. It was smaller, but it didn’t have ham. When we paid for our dinner, the old woman rang us up on the cash register. I suspect she charged us for both salads, but the whole only cost $8.00, and we were lucky to get out of there alive.

In Iowa again, we watched our car turn over 100,000 miles:

My only complaint is that the numbers didn’t align when the odometer rolled over.

At 100,001, though, everything clicked into place, finally.

About six o’clock we arrived home a little tired, but happy to be back.

(All of the photos above, and more, are also available on flickr.)



What, no southern hospitality?

Fun little read, enjoyed it. Hope that car is an import, else it’ll soon be dead with that many miles.

it’s a geo. we hope to keep it going for years to come (if it doesn’t get hit by another tornado first)...knock on wood.

Then go little Geo, go! U-S-A! U-S-A!

Well, to qualify, it’s the same car as a Corolla. So, “USA-made Japanese cars! USA-made Japanese cars!”