20 March 2020
our car broke down in tennessee. somewhere between nashville and chattanooga around midnight. just whimpered along the shoulder of the highway and sputtered to a stop. I swore the night never felt so deep and dark and ominous than in that particular moment. isn't that always the way? flying down the highway in the middle of the night feels like magic until your car dies and you suddenly come so close to the unknown you can practically feel it slide across your skin.
a fireworks store as big as a warehouse with monster floodlights to match but of course, it was closed. in a pre-cell phone era, there was nothing else to do but walk. towards an exit we thought we remembered passing a few miles back, along the soft, narrow shoulder of a major highway in the middle of what will always be remembered as the most lightless night.
three miles felt like three hundred years. every semi passed with a violence that nearly lifted me off my feet and for an hour we walked like this, wincing at every passing truck and shuffling and swearing and praying until we reached the exit and finally, our salvation: the old roy acuff country inn.
I almost cried when I saw that giant neon cowboy boot.