Monday, May 31, 2010

Hello, Mr. President

Josh and I met the President.

Ok, the former President Carter. We weren't allowed to tell him where we were from, or speak to him. Or shake his hand, unless he initiated first, but we did get a picture. And Mrs. Carter put her arm around around me. I think she liked me.

We decided to make the trek to Plains, GA where President Carter teaches Sunday School at Maranatha Baptist Church. It's a tiny little church. The bulletin listed attendance like this: Members-26, Guests - 228.

We pulled into the church.

Me: Oh! Look, they have someone to greet us in the parking lot.

Josh: Uh, that's the secret service with a bomb sniffing dog.

Me: Oh.

First experience with secret service. Hopefully, not my last.

But in case you are worried we were bored in little ole Plains, have no fear. The small town had lots to keep us busy.

We got to our Super 8 hotel to check in and asked for a recommendation of a local place to eat dinner. Our conversation went like this:

Me: What's a good local place to eat?

Receptionist: Oh, the Ruby Tuesday's is great!

Me: Oh, well...we were looking for more of a local, hometown place.

Receptionist: I said Ruby Tuesday's! Everyone goes there.

(Josh steps in)

Josh: Well, we mean more like something we couldn't get anywhere else. Something we could only get here in Plains.

Receptionist: Oh. Well. I don't know what you mean. Do you have La Hacienda? That's real good. Or! I know! You can go to Forsyth! But it'll set you back about $200 for the two of you.

Ash: Uh, ok, thanks. We'll find something.

Before dinner we decided to stop at the Suds Bucket laundromat to do our laundry because of water rationing in Nashville due to the flood.

We made a friend. I don't know her name, but I like to think of her as the Laundry Nazi. I'll admit, at first I was afraid of her when I saw her yell at some poor guy who used too much soap and created a sudsy mess in 'her' washer. But she took a quick liking to us foreigners and came over to chat.

You know, sometimes it's hard to start a conversation with a complete stranger, but she really had a gift for easing into small talk. I believe her first words to us were 'You know, OJ Simpson isn't guilty.' What do you say to that? It's OK, I didn't have to respond. As soon as I looked at her in acknowledgement, she launched into her account of the case and all the evidence that was purely circumstantial.

From there, she segued to her son who died in 1985 because he was 2 and needed a liver transplant. And did you know that in Europe they cut livers in half so two people can use one liver? They don't do that in the US though. Josh is checking into this whole liver theory. I'll keep you posted. I felt really bad for her.

Until she went into her story about meeting Martin Luther King JR and being a part of the Civil Rights Movement, and being locked up for 3 weeks, with no food or bathroom. Then she remembered it was actually 45 days. And she was only 12 when it happened. And she's actually honored in a museum in Birmingham, and have we been there? Yes, I tell her, actually I have. Then she asks when i was there and says she was inducted after that, so of course I wouldn't have seen it.

Oh, and she also survived a flood like the Nashville flood we had just survived, AND a horrible tornado. We're good friends; me and the Laundry Nazi. She's praying for me. She told me she would when I left.

By the time we were done folding and listening, it was 9 pm.

We went to Ruby Tuesday's for dinner.

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