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Candy Lane is in my ears and my eyes

I have an online friend I’ll call “Candy.” We “met” about seven or so years ago, and have remained moderately close ever since. We actually only met in person once, though.

I’ve kept up our acquaintance through some rather major points in her life. We chatted through her dating and marriage to her husband, the birth of her fourth and fifth children, and her move from urban/suburban Massachusetts to East Bum, Maine (as she calls it.) It’s been an interesting ride.

Candy can be a bit earthy at times. I recall her talking about the birth of #5. Candy had Caesareans for all her children. Doctors tend to discourage multiple Caesareans, and get extremely antsy after the second. They strongly disapprove of #3, and start sweating and calling lawyers at #4.

Before the birth, Candy told the doctors that she hadn’t been expecting #5, and there was NO WAY IN HELL there would be a #6. “While you’ve got me open, go in there and do whatever you need to to make sure of that. Cut it, tie it, burn it, staple it, glue it, weld it, do whatever you need to, just GET IT DONE.”

During the birth, Candy told me, there was a moment when she thought she smelled roasting meat.

“Is that me?”

“Yes, it is, ma’am.”

“GOOD!”

Anyway, last Sunday I finally gave in to her persistent bullying and agreed to come visit. To make a proper impression on her husband, I was told, with whom I’d only chatted with a few times, I should bring chicken wings from Hooters. Apparently the fact that I lived in a city with a Hooters fired Mr. Candy’s imagination, and a healthy helping of their famous wings would be guaranteed to a warm welcome.

I’d never actually set foot in a Hooters before. That was a mistake, I think. All I will say about the exceptionally friendly staff at the Manchester Hooters is that 1) the company isn’t likely to go broke buying material for the uniforms, and B) I sincerely hope the place is well-heated in Cow Hampshire’s famously-cold winters.

Anyway, fortified with my wings, I set out on my 90-minute drive off to Maine. I soon ventured off familiar roads and started driving along the back highways of Cow Hampshire. I started amusing myself by observing gas prices. The range seemed to be between $1.97 and $2.09. This quickly changed from amusing to depressing, so I quit that.

Along Route 125 in Lee, I nearly drove off the road. I saw something I’d heard about a couple of times, but it never really registered on me. There was a sign alongside the road, announcing “NUDIST CAMP.”

I thought about stopping, maybe taking a few touristy pictures, but I had cooling wings smelling up my car. Making note of the location for future consideration, I kept driving.

So far it had been a rather mood-enhancing trip. Between the staff at Hooters and the thoughts inspired by the road sign, I was cruising on a nice, mild buzz of testosterone that sustained me for the rest of the drive.

Finally I arrived at Chez Candy. She really DOES live in East Bum. It’s nearly as rural as I’ve ever seen, and I grew up in northern New Hampshire. My high school had a total population of slightly over 300 when I graduated, and my class had barely 60 students. It takes a LOT to impress me as far as rurality goes. Or, rather, a little. A whole lot of little.

As I got out of my car, still enjoying my buzz, I spotted a bumper sticker on the back of Candy’s minivan. “WWJD” in big letters. That’s when it returned to me: a while ago Candy told me how her family was now all born-again Christians. My earthy friend had, without losing a bit of her sauciness, was now a home-schooling born-again fundamentalist. My buzz crashed mightily.

The crash didn’t last, though. I was only there a few hours before I headed back for home, but it was three hours of good company (I met her husband, four of her five kids, her son-in-law-to-be, both her dogs, her cat, her rabbit, her three ducks, and a few of her black flies), good conversation, good food, and good relaxation. It was a wonderful afternoon, and I’m gonna have to go back up that way again.

Besides, I still remember the location of that nudist camp…

J.


Comments (5)

Heh. My first accurate impr... (Below threshold)

Heh. My first accurate impression of what the inside of Hooters was like came from a newspaper column written by a minister. He and some of his colleagues of the cloth had stopped on a long drive to get something to eat, and Hooters was the only place open.

The Rev was writing about this at a time when people who thought Hooters was a strip club or something, were trying to stop one from opening in the community served by the paper that carried his column. He thought the fuss was much ado about nothing, and said so. And I believe that restaurant is open and doing a fine business today.

A few weeks back I read how some people in -- of all places -- California were up in arms over a Hooters being planned for a shopping mall in their area.

A Bible-Belt preacher has no problem with Hooters, but laypeople in California do.

Irony. Gotta love it.

First a quick disclaimer . ... (Below threshold)
BoDiddly:

First a quick disclaimer . . . I realize the point I'll address wasn't central to your story, Jay--I truly enjoyed the read. I'm personally a huge fan of Hooters (not to mention the restaurant.)

I'm saddened that "home-schooling fundamentalist Christian" infers in today's society that the brain has been put on administrative leave. I consider myself a fairly deep-thinking individual, and I am unashamedly a Christian. I don't currently homeschool my (five) children, but I have in the past, and am considering it again, because of the emphasis put upon written and verbal communication skills--something that's seriously lacking in public school.

Now the shocker: I know society isn't to blame for its assumption that Christians are brain-dead.

The stereotype has been made true by most American Christians. So few professing Christians know anything more than "Sunday-School basics" of Christian doctrine. I truly despise the ignorance displayed by most of these "fire-insurance believers", and rest in the knowedge that the Apostles and the great Reformers would soundly kick their asses if given the opportunity.

One shouldn't put away his logical thinking skills or his capacity for human compassion in the name of Christianity, but many do. Those people have, in my opinion, vilified the world's only true religion.

BoDiddly, would it help if ... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

BoDiddly, would it help if I told you that Candy, when she's not homeschooling her kids or waitressing, teaches in a real school? That, with no degree in education, has actually INTIMIDATED a couple other teachers out of her field and into others?

I'd say more about Candy, but she's in no way a public figure (as a guest poster on a public website, I probably qualify as a "semi-public figure at least) and I'd rather not drag her into the public spotlight.

Let's also remember how often in recent years national spelling bees and geography bees have been won by home-schooled kids.

But as for your last comment about "the world's only true religion..."

BoDiddly, I've spent a lot of time verbally dismantling overbearing, smug, compulsively evangelical Jesus freaks. I fully expect I'll spend more time doing that before I die. Candy and her family ain't that type, thank heavens (the only times we've discussed the subject heavily is when I've brought it up). By that phrase you used, you give the impression you fit into that category. Do NOT think for an instant that I side with your comment.

J.


A rebuttal--Jay, I apprecia... (Below threshold)
BoDiddly:

A rebuttal--Jay, I appreciate your input, but that's exactly why I prefaced that item with "in my opinion". If I didn't believe that my religion was true, and, necessarily by its tenets, the only true religion, my belief in Christianity would be half-hearted at best, or hypocritical at worst. Do I fault others for their beliefs?--no. Do I believe they're wrong?--yes. Does that make them, in my opinion, a second-class person?--NO! I'm not at all afraid to take a stand on my beliefs, and I do this without berating or insulting others.

My post was directed not nearly so much towards those who believe otherwise as those who profess to be Christians, and yet through their ignorance become the "overbearing, smug, compulsively evangelical Jesus freaks" that you so enjoy "dismantling". Believe it or not, I enjoy this practice too, Jay, not to disprove their beliefs, but to demonstrate their need for deeper understanding, and hopefully encourage them to become part of the solution, not part of the problem.

I'm pleased that Ms. Candy ... (Below threshold)

I'm pleased that Ms. Candy has managed to find a non-obnoxious expression of her faith.

Obscured by BoDiddly's confident assertion of faith, is his criticism of superficial professors of Christianity (in this context professor doesn't mean a university teacher, but one who professes something). That's a big deal: we're not all overbearing compulsive proselytizers. If you really want to think Christianity is bogus, you can always find plenty of induhviduals who'll fit the negative stereotype. And If you want to believe Christianity is true, you'll select a corresponding sample to support that, too.

It is easy to keep a chip on one's shoulder, either expecting a prickly prig professing puritanism, or a pagan pursuing persecution. Arguments of religion often carry emotional baggage. We flinch from earlier unpleasantness and expect the next religious exchange (with someone different than us) to be unpleasant, too.




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