I’m fixin to tell you something, and I hope you will listen. If you doubt, for one second, that we live in the greatest country in the world, then two things need to happen:
- You need your ass kicked, thoroughly.
- You need to visit Gatlinburg, TN.
Amanda and I spent this past week/weekend kickin around Gatlinburg, and I gotta tell you….I never..I didn’t..I had no idea.
I had absolutely no idea that the heart of the United States beat smack dab in the middle of Gatlinburg, TN. I never really paid much attention in school, and certainly don’t know much about history, but I really must have missed a lot. I know that when Christopher Columbus visited the Hard Rock while riding the Wildflower, accompanied by El Nino and the Ave Maria, he was looking for sugar. What I didn’t know was that he hopped up on a Mercury bass boat and rode that thing up the Little Pigeon River and found everything he was looking for, and then some.
Good God almighty, I have never seen so much…much-ness. Gatlinburg is like the Las Vegas of sugar, fair food, mini-golf, mom jeans, and jorts, all rolled up into one drag strip. How in the world can a city allow that many business licenses to sell tee-shirts and hats? If you were blindfolded, spun around three times, and let loose to run in any direction, there would be an 87% chance that you face-plant into a vat of taffy. That stuff is everywhere. Where there is not taffy, there is fudge. And if vendor does not have the means to make taffy or fudge, they put sugar, right there on a stick. It’s delightful.
For those of us who are watching our weight and trying to maintain our boyish figures, they have fair food coming out the butt. There are corn dogs, funnel cakes, Italian Sausages, cheese steaks, turkey legs, and mystery meat fried with bread-ish stuff enveloping it. It is really a beautiful sight.
And the pancake houses, they have 478 pancake houses between Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, TN. One for every 100 people. They have about 14 Shoney’s, and even got an Arby’s with the big hat for a sign. It’s divine.
They had a car show going on in Pigeon Forge, so you know what that means. It means there were folks who wanted to sit on their ass and look at cars. As Americans, we love to sit, and there was no shortage of sitting to be had along the main drag in Pigeon Forge. There was exactly 10 more lawn chairs lined up along the Parkway than there were people in attendance of the UT game at Bristol on that Saturday night. I have never seen people sit with such intensity, and I can sit like an all-star. It’s wonderful.
They have miniature golf and race tracks gloriously decorated with shit that makes absolutely zero sense. It’s perfect. I don’t know whose idea it was to spend $20k on a mini golf course, but drop an extra $50k on the fake airplane and volcano, but it appears to have worked. The same could be said for the big ass gorilla. And if we gonna talk about the big ass gorilla, we gotta talk about the big ass chickens. What percentage of your budget do you allocate for big ass chickens and gorillas on your mini-golf business plan, and what banker gives that the “ok”? It’s magical.
There is EVERY kind of person from EVERY walk of life. There are fat people, skinny people, skinny people with fat people, white people, black people, Asian people, Indians, and Mexicans. There are English speaking people, and people speaking foreigner. There are young kids, old folks, classy folks, and rednecks. Gay couples, straight couples, angry couples, and lovebirds. There are those enjoying themselves, and those who don’t know how. There are people who are finding themselves, and people who are lost. There are people who are searching, and those who don’t know there is anything to find. It’s a melting pot of diversity and a recipe of perfection.
Gatlinburg is America. It’s as American as America, and you can’t ask for anything more. You can buy what you want, eat what you want, sit where you want, and do what you choose. You can love whatever, whomever, and however you wish. You can pierce what you want, ink what you want, and wear what you want, and not have to ask for anyone’s permission. You can walk in any store and be seated at any table. You are free to hate whomever you please, and judge however you judge. You can be just as fascinated with all the city has to offer, or you can scowl at everything that you find disagreeable. You can make good decisions or bad decisions, and only you have to deal with the consequences. You can enjoy yourself or hate yourself all the same. It’s a paradise of people and a smorgasbord of “things”. It is the essence of freedom and splendor of life. It is a place to experience leisure, frustration, anger, or fun. I love to live in a world with such freedom, such diversity, and such depth. I love to live in a world with big ass gorillas, taffy, race cars, and tee shirts.
I don’t know if Elvis and Jesus ever left or plan to return, but if I’m looking for either, I know where to start.
Peace, love and all things Beef related,