I drove to Troy Alabama to see the world’s largest catfish, apparently some sort of stature or clunk of folk art, not really sure. Either way when I got into Troy I realized I did not have an address for the elusive big fish and Google was not being of any help, just teasing me with photos and leaving me to guess. Eventually I came across a forum post which told me which main road it was off of and that this same road had a giant metal cow and some other crazy things so off I went, finding the giant metal bull first. Damn thing was outside of a rodeo place and as anatomically correct as the artist could have done with his personal talent. Poor thing had a sweet doleful cow face and a set of giant tin balls to boot. Strange, I continued onward and somewhere down the road in front of a closed art gallery I found a giant metal rooster. Again it was constructed out of spare parts in a rather artful manner. Its face was cute and I stopped to take a photo. I continued on to find the catfish but had to leave that day without finding it, though I am sure I could make up another big fish story about it…
I drove on that night into Mobile where we decided to stop at a Cracker Barrel, as was suggested by someone I’d talked to before the trip. We just don’t have these places in the North and a name like Cracker Barrel, not to mention the appearance of the place is sure to make a great many of us Northerners a bit skittish. Still I walked in. A kid came up to me asking for money to buy baseball team uniforms. He was a black kid, acting very skittish himself, I am not entirely sure why. I gave him $4. I figured if he was skittish from social anxiety then I helped an awkward kid with his fundraiser, and if he was skittish because he was being put up to his first con (I was in a rather ghetto-ey area), I didn’t care either. It was only $4.
Mobile… what can I say about it… other than I learned of it so many times not in a positive light. I had only known anything about it because of all the atrocities committed in and around it in the turbulent 50’s and 60’s during the Civil Rights Movement. I expected the people here to be a little off because I know scars like that do not heal in an area overnight. Though the people here who could still remember these ungodly events are now getting old and dying off they still had children and grandchildren whom I am sure they told. Like I said, it takes time to heal. All this going through my head didn’t make me any more comfortable going into a place called Cracker Barrel. Oh well, so the black attendant was giving me the evil eye for a good five minutes as I waited, that was to be expected, right? Then again the clerk who I paid my restaurant bill to acted totally normal, maybe she just had personal issues. This place confused me and set me a bit on edge. It’s so much easier when you can just treat everyone as if they’re people and leave it at that. SIGH.
I went in and was served by a waiter with a sweet farm boy accent. He asked if I’d been to the local music festival. I told him I just got into town, pondering if this fraternizing with customers was a normal thing down here. In any event I ordered the catfish, I just had to… and I ate until I was stuffed to the gills. It was good! It was fried and another new southern food. I was happy when I left.
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