Friday, August 24, 2012

You Know You're Not in New England When

Steele Creek Park  Bristol, TN
If you're traveling, it seems that effort should be made to appreciate the local flavor. As I'm currently sitting in Bristol, TN--a very long way away from home--these are some of the new annd different things I've experienced down here.

Peach Nehi: We've all heard of a grape nehi, except like me you probably never realized it was actually a brand of soda forever and ever. In the soda aisle, above my usual orange Sunkist soda, sat a...peach colored 12-pk labeled Peach Nehi. Huh. I like peaches. I can love them when ripe just so. So, I bought it. Awesomeness. I went back and bought more. It tastes like the candy Sour Peaches without the sour. I can't seem to figure out how to order it online. It will probably become a flavor memory of our Bristol trip. How sad.

Hot Dogs: In New York, it's pizza. In Philly, you have the cheese steak. In Boston there are beans and seafood. Each region seems to have a food that appears with regularity on menus without explanation. It's just there. Around here there's BBQ and hot dogs. In fact when I asked somebody where a good place for lunch might be, I was directed to Sonic or the market across the way that had "really good hot dogs." Let's not talk about the Mexican restaurants that appear every two blocks. Nobody mentions them. Want a hot dog? I'll stick with the BBQ myself.

Chicken Cordon Bleu: No, not something you can buy in the area. It was just my RV fancy dinner. With cream sauce. I'm sure not every trailer in the campground added cooking wine, cream and paprika to their shopping carts. It came out rather pretty. I didn't have toothpicks, so the cheese sort of joined the sauce. But well done! Yummm... We're camping next month, too. What dish will I explore?

What was added to the shopping carts (buggies! We have buggies at the Food City, not carts.)

While wandering up and down the aisles, we noticed lots of racing t-shirts. Most of them didn't belong to the shoppers, but to the employees. Talk about a town that gets into the race! Bristol has mastered the art of the "really big show." And of course this means stocking what the fans want. We added chicken, onions, orange juice, chips, ice cream, bread...our buggy looked rather like a normal shopping trip.

We turned into the beer & wine aisle, while being muscled out of the way by a rather eager trio.

"Hey! We found it. Now we're good." All performed in an accent that reminded me of Billy Bob Thorton in Slingblade. They checked out in front of us with three cases of brew and a loaf of bread.  Oddly enough, I've heard that Billy Bob gravel tone repeated a few more times in and around town.

One wonders why NASCAR fans get the labels we do.

And last but not least for the Bristol flavor, we have a sound effect. "Woo!" I can't spell it any other way. An exclamation that seems to erupt spontaneously from folks who are happy. "Woo!" We first noticed it in the stands on Wednesday night, during hot laps our section passed this sound, "Woo!" from person to person. We chocked it up to too much moonshine--which is sold on the premises. But no, last night as we are going to sleep and someone nearby was still into a killer game of rings, we'd hear it.


And usually followed by laughter.

We laugh, too. It's a happy noise. And one we will forever associate with Thunder Valley, the track built into the mountains.

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