Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Summer Lovin' Week 3

"Lord of the Rings No More"

I'm not slacking. Honest. I made a very legitimate attempt at taking a couple of different photos this weekend. One was of lightning bugs. Enough said. The other was of a trip I only dare to make once - maybe twice - during the summer. To Krystal. Please don't judge.

If you live north of the Mason Dixon Line you are perhaps unfamiliar with the "wonder" that is Krystal. (Please note - it's not "Crystal" as in something pretty and sparkly. No, no. It's "Krystal" as in "we've changed the spelling to be more like a strip club.") Up North your closest equivalent would be White Castle. So you get the picture: little mystery meat burgers that you purchase by the sackful and eat late at night when your judgement is impaired. Very popular with college students and rednecks. A friend of a friend, who is a police officer and works the night shift on Saturdays, gets the majority of his DUI arrests just by observing the behavior of folks waiting in the Krystal drive-through. Like shooting fish in a barrel.

I have been known to eat at Krystal every once in a great while, but usually only in the summer. Why? Because in the summertime Krystal makes onion rings. Vidalia onion rings. But only in the summer. Why? Because Krystal is ALL ABOUT seasonal cooking with locally-grown vegetables, of course! But seriously, I have no idea why. I just know that once or twice, between June 1 and August 31, I will suffer the tragedy that is Krystal because somehow (and most of me doesn't really want to know how) these onion rings are de. lic. ious. And to top it off? A frozen Coke. Because that's just always yummy.

So late Saturday afternoon I was starving and - have I mentioned? - had been ripping out my living room ceiling all day and I thought that if ever there was a legitimate excuse to go to Krystal, this was certainly it. I scrubbed some of the black soot from my face, put on a ball cap and a giant pair of sunglasses and ran to my car hoping no neighbor would see me.

The drive-through was just as I imagined it would be. The car in front of me had a woman in the driver's seat in a tank top with a cigarette dangling from her lips as she ordered for herself and the free-range toddler who was busy trying to climb out the passenger seat window and/or breathe clean air. When it was my turn I pulled up to the speaker. The voice from inside said "Whaddayawant." I glanced at the menu and felt a small sense of panic. "Ummm," I said fearfully, "do you not have onion rings any more?" "What!?" said the voice from inside. "On-ion-Rings" I repeated. "No," they answered indignantly, as though I might as well have asked for flan.

I was crushed. But luckily - and you have no idea how luckily - I was at the Krystal on the east side. Not at the west side Krystal near my old apartment. Because at the east side Krystal you can get out of drive-through if tragedy strikes. The west side Krystal has a retaining wall around the back that creates a drive-through-point-of-no-return. And if, while you're waiting, say a fryer catches on fire, or someone passes out at the wheel before making it to the window, you are trapped like a rat with nothing to do but ponder your poor life choices.

It happened to me once and I vowed that as God as My Witness it would never happen again. A few years later it did almost happen again in a late-night, post movie race with two friends to find an open donut store via cell phone while waiting in the west side Krystal drive-through as back up. I won't bore you with the details as I'm sure you've had enough of trans-fat-related lore for one day. But, just to warn you, I might have to resort to telling it if yet another photo shoot goes awry. For now I will only say that it does have a happy ending. And that it will be titled Ode to the Krispy Kreme. See!? More interesting already.

So here's to yet another week and to the end of July. Summer's point-of-no-return, if you will. Here's hoping the rest goes by enjoyably. Or at least without incident. (And, if you happen to have your own source for vidalia onion rings, please call me...)


Katie said...

I am sorry. I cannot read because I am crying from laughing over free range toddler.

Expect me to steal this from you.

gertrude said...

Steal away! Because as I was watching them, all I could think was your line "go get mamma her spit cup." So I flipped back and forth between horror and choking back laughter for the two or three minutes I was behind them. Fun times...

Anonymous said...

Now you have to tell us the Krispy Kreme story. You DO tell stories so well. Up here in NC (the home of Krispy Kremes) the store nearest Eastern Carolina U has a sign that lights up when you can get them HOT from the oven! I avoid it at all costs these days.

We grow onions near us called Mattamuskeet Sweets which are the NC version of vidalia's--love 'em crisped up and fried crunchy. Will put them on my burger and eat more on the side...

I can send you some M Sweets to try if you'd like~

Anonymous said...

PS Love Catherine Aird's novels!