I am surprised by the memories from childhood that can lie dormant for years and be recalled with instant clarity by a smell, a taste, or some other small nudge. I couldn’t have been more that 10 years old when we took a family vacation to the Tennessee mountains. I have always had a recollection of this trip and certain sights, such as Fall Creek Falls State Park, but I couldn’t tell you where we stayed or for how long. I also vaguely remember an endless ride in the back of my aunt and uncle’s then state-of-the-art Chrysler minivan.
Driving through central Tennessee along Interstate 40, I saw one sign that I recognized immediately. According to said signage, the next exit would deliver me to a local restaurant called the “Bean Pot.” Now to two ten-year old boys who had been jammed in the back seat of a minivan for 16 hours, there are very few things in life as deeply satisfying as restaurant called “Bean Pot” for all the obvious reasons why 10-year old boys laugh at anything hinting at flatulence.
So, there I was, approaching the twenty-odd years later, hurtling down a major east-west interstate corridor, laughing manically at a long ago fart joke. Some things never change. Thank God.