Thursday, November 22, 2012

Funerals, Dead Deer, and Traffic Cones ... Oh, my?

According to our trip into rural Tennessee on Saturday, the southern small town culture is even weirder than I thought it was, and I have lived in the South for essentially my entire life*. The closest I have ever come to small-town life is Murfreesboro, which owed its existence and success to having a university there**, but it wasn't really "rural." It does have a hefty does of pretentiousness, though, but I blame that on the university, as well. Also, my dad does own some land out in the middle of BFE, where the closest civilization is about thirty minutes away. Honestly, I kind of love it. Three and I spent our first anniversary out there, walking the various deer trails. I'm a hermit by nature, and now that I know that rural areas have their own special kind of insanity, I can't wait until I'm able to live in it.
I love everything about this picture. 
Take the fact that we saw a hearse with a casket in it go through the drive-thru at a fast food joint. Was this the final wish of the deceased? Did the rest of the funeral attendants know about this detour? I don't know if anyone was in the casket, of course (I'm hoping there wasn't); maybe it was just for show. Which begs the question: who would the driver be wanting to impress? Was this their form of advertising? I couldn't figure out why they just wouldn't close the little curtains so people wouldn't ask that sort of thing, but I'm guessing that he just really didn't give a shit. And that's probably closer to reality than any kind of rationalization could be. 

Then a few minutes later, this bizarrely specific theme of death continued when we saw a ridiculously long funeral motorcade pull into what we thought was a cemetery, but as we drove past the entrance ten minutes afterward (seriously, it was a loooooooong line), we saw that there was only a barn and a little house. Somehow, the line of cars was disappearing into this barn, which appeared to be closed on the other side, and I was like, "ZOMG, it's a Mary Poppins barn!" and Three was certain that a quantum pathway to a different dimension was inside. That just goes to show how differently our minds work. I guess it's not so strange to think that someone would want to be buried on their property, but personally, I'd be a little weirded out if I knew that Grandpappy Jones' body was rotting out next to the garden. And then I'd stock up on zombie-killing supplies, just in case. 
This is Grandmamma Jones, in case you were wondering.
As we puttered along our way***, I was noticing how cute and quaint the little town we were passing through was. Adorable little houses, a few trailers with silly lawn embellishments, a swing set with children playing around it, a gutted deer hanging from a tree ... I did a double-take to make sure that this wasn't a leftover Halloween display, although it had been, like, two weeks. But nope, I was right the first time: there was a dead buck, spreadeagled and innards-less, dangling from a thick branch of a tree out in the front yard.

It sent me on this flashback to before Three and I were married, and he was basically living at our house. I had just grabbed my to-go coffee and had pushed the button that opened the garage door, which slowly rose to reveal my dad, elbow deep in the belly of a deer. Three was just standing there, sipping on his own cup of steaming hot coffee and talking to my father like you do when there's a dead deer in your driveway.
This would have been my reaction if I were my dad, but I'm not. 
Both of them found my wide-eyed stare hilarious and, to be honest, I was more annoyed that the scene was playing out right in front of my damned car and I had an hour to drive to get to work. But it was not what I expected to see at 5A on a weekday.

Anyway, I tried to shrug off the idea that the three major things I'd seen on our little trek out to Nowhere were centered around dying and instead focused on the hilarity of the redneck aspects of the situation. I mean, who does that? It's not like the house didn't have any trees in the backyard that could have been used for deer hanging. Three mentioned that it could have been a decoration for Thanksgiving, although I was quick to discount that because Thanksgiving is a traditional holiday that involves 1) turkeys, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, and hams, not deer, and 2) Native Americans getting screwed over and sent to reservations because AMERICA. He wasn't sure what to do with number two, since it really had nothing to do with dead deer at least in a literal sense, so he just conceded that he was probably wrong.

I was terrified at what I would see next. Would I see someone actually in the act of killing something? Would the car we were currently driving become sentient and, in attempts to avoid us buying a new car, start trying to run over country pedestrians? Or, you know, dogs?
It's much worse to run over the cuteness that is a puppeh. And Chiquita would totally not even care, that heartless betch.
Thankfully, the next crazy thing we witnessed was a guy having a fight with a traffic cone and losing****. It was simultaneously the most hilarious and most anticlimactic event we saw that day. But at least it didn't end with the traffic cone killing the dude. I hope. 

* I lived for one year in each Savoy, IL, and Mesa, AZ and I don't really have a lot of memories of either. My most vivid memory of Illinois was when my sister and I were having a snow fight with my dad and I accused him of cheating because he was using a snow shovel against his two daughters, both of which were under six years old. I remember stories about Arizona but my only real recollection is that it was bad to go barefoot outside in the summer. 
** It also bears the distinction of being located on the geographic center of the state, which yay?
*** Yes, puttered. That's the noise that Chiquita makes when she knows we're searching for a car to replace her, okay?
**** So he kicked it over accidentally and was trying to set it back up with his foot. Well, that failed and it fell to the side. He tripped over the cone as he was trying to pick it back up and, after he set it upright, it fell over again because ... I don't know, gravity? The cone hates him?? He caught it with his foot and then tried to straighten it out, it fell down again. He tried five more times to set this cone up and each time, he failed miserably. He gave up and walked away, flipping the cone the bird. Three and I just could not stop laughing.
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