where the dollar store is the only store

We out here in southern Kentucky, western Virginia.

We out here in coal country, church country, meth country. There’s one store in town and it’s a Dollar General, Family Dollar, or Dollar Tree. Nothing is really only a dollar, either, so even that’s sort of depressing.

When we checked in Randy was using Krazy Glue to piece back together the taillight on his pickup. He’d backed into the rig in accident and wanted it to look OK enough that his wife might not notice when she got back, long enough at least for him to replace it. He had almost all the pieces, a lawn & leaf bag full of empties and a pile of butts in the grill as proof of effort. “Pick whatever’s empty and what you like and pay whenever,” he said super friendly.

Later sitting outside on this complete fluke of a warm spring day, 78° and not a cloud in the sky. The single washing machine worked but turns out the dryer didn’t, rugs were hung out in the sun to dry. Sitting in camp chairs listening to Stevie Wonder, reading and chatting. Gorgeous afternoon.

Kevin rolls up in a red golf cart on dubs. Yes, really. Fancy watch with a face the size of a small clock, thick herringbone silver bracelet with a red Type 2 med-alert charm in the middle, and a simple silver cross hanging from a chain on his neck. Black shirt tucked into khakis, brown dress shoes.

“Y’all play cornhole?” We look at each other, back to Kevin. “We’re trying to get up a game but ain’t got nobody to play.”

Later, during cornhole at Randy’s site, bought a quart of homemade moonshine from his fridge. White lightning, corn mash. Sampled amply before buying, may account for judgement. It’s in a mason jar under the dinette, guess I’ll use it for mixing when I’m feeling special sporty.

Kevin smokes menthols and only drinks on the weekends. He’s a social worker in Virginia and most of his cases are meth related. He’s had kids barbecued when their meth lab houses went kaboom. He’s been doing this long enough that he’s now taking kids from kids he once took from their folks. Kevin is a sweetheart who tries to take what positivity he can from his job, but he’s seen some shit.

Cornhole goes two rounds before the kids need something to eat. Randy and Kevin are genuinely nice human beings and we’re better for meeting them. They’re both gone when we roll out in the morning so we tape a “thank you for the hospitality” note to Randy’s door on the way out.

Rolling again.


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