Thursday, January 26, 2012


(My picture, Mappsville, VA)

There are so many things that I love about the American road. Of course, you miss so much of it on the Interstate and yet, if you look closely, or know where to look, it can be found.

Still, the true culture is waiting off the highways. If you follow the state and US routes, or hit the side roads, there's a bounty waiting for you.

Like Stuckey's.

Started by a pecan farmer in Georgia, Stuckey's (so-named after its founder, WS Stuckey) grew into a restaurant/gas station/souvenir shop. It had its growth and decline, but was always prevalent during our drives to Florida, especially in the 1970's.

It was souvenir nirvana. Yummy french fries and drinks. A chance to get out and stretch. Use the rest room. Not as big or as gaudy as South of the Border, and yet, it was a kids' paradise!

And I once famously yelled for my father to stop there, nearly causing him to swerve off the road. I was about six or seven. You'd think the statute of limitations would have run out on the story, but by god no. Over 35 years later (my father's been dead for almost 23, mind you) the story lives on.

And on.

And on.

And on.

Anyway, I still get a kick out of seeing the stores. There's actually one in Connecticut, of all things, right near the Rhode Island border. There used to be one in Thornburg, VA, but it closed. So I didn't see one on I-95 until I got into North Carolina.

Yet we didn't visit one until we were on the way back, when Carrie said she wanted some Virginia peanuts. Thank you, oh Roadside Gods! There was one waiting for us, on US 13, just minutes from the Maryland border.

We walked out with our peanuts, some candy (I love me some root beer drops), and three Stuckey's T-shirts for $12. Yep, life is good!

And the story can be retold.


No comments: