Yea Tho’ I Drive Through the Valley of Christians . . . .29 December, 2008
(((Wife)), (((Boy))), (((Girl))) and I had a wonderful (for the most part) holiday with (((Wife)))’s family down in Florida. We drove down Monday night into Tuesday morning, spent the 24th at the Magic Kingdom (with a fantastic meal at the Crystal Palace restaurant), enjoyed Christmas day at the in-laws, visited Epcot on Friday, and had a huge meal at the Cheesecake Factory and went for a boat ride on Saturday and drove home on Sunday. The drive down and back is an easy one: I-81 to I-77 to I-26 to I-95 to I-4 (and the reverse for the trip home) and just under 1,100 miles (about 18 hours (including stops for meals)). Here are a few observations from our trip:
A Dozen Crosses: My vote for one of the prettiest valleys in the country is the Shenandoah/Cumberland valleys of Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia. The rolling farmland, mountains, creeks, rivers and forests are beautiful no matter what time of year. Of course, it is also a valley infested with right-wing Christians.
Just South of Winchester, at the end of a long straight-away, someone has erected three crosses on a hill (complete with, of course, spotlights). Travelling southbound, one has the impression that they are on the highway itself. As they came into view, (((Wife))) bursts out with: “I’m on a highway to hell!” by AC/DC. I cracked up.
Between Harrisburg and Roanoke, I counted a dozen crosses (or sets of crosses) along the highway. When will the evangelicals discover subtlety?
One Bizarre Pickup: While driving up the long grade to Fancy Gap on I-77, I passed a beat-to-snot pickup truck (colour? Candy Apple Primer) with Arkansas plates. On the side, painted in German Fraktur: “Abner’s Church of Reason.” I really need to travel with my camera in my lap.
Eleven Fascist Fishes: On one trip between DeBary and Orland0, I counted eleven Christian Fascist Fishies just on SUVs. I didn’t even count the ones on sedans, wagons, vans, etc. On the positive side, though, I saw a magnificent Lamborghini and one of the new Lotuses (in lime green). We were in a minivan. They were passing us.
A Hundred-and-One Bumper Stickers: Bumber stickers seem to be in full force down central Florida way. I lost count of the “Jesus Saves” stickers (I wonder what interest rate he got?). I did see “Real Men Love Jesus” (I thought that the conservative churches frowned upon homosexuality in any form). I also say many, many, many Palin stickers on cars (including some with 2012) and just a few McCain stickers. I also saw a couple of McCain/Palin stickers which had McCain crossed out. The best one, though, was this: “Vote Republican: Palin and Voldemort: 2012”. The ‘life’ stickers were nauseatingly prevalent. And on one car, it was accompanied by a sticker with a silhouette of Osama bin Laden in the cross hairs of a sniper scope.
Nine Herons and/or Egrets: The day we went for a boat ride, I spotted nine herons: A Great Blue, a Tricolor, two African Cattle Egrets, two Snowy Egrets, a Little Blue, and two American Egrets. Beautiful.
Multi-Million Dollar Churches: I guess the God business must be quite profitable. There are a couple of mega-churches along I-4 which must have come in around $3,000,000 or $4,000,000. I understand that they are not supposed to hide their light under a bushel, but when did Protestant sects get into the late-medieval/early modern Catholic-style monument building (to which both Calvin and Luther pointed as an example of what was wrong with the Catholics)?
Tomorrow I will post some of the photos (including a hideously bad pseudo-reconstruction of an Argentinosaurus).
Addendum: (I remembered this during dinner) While cruising through the Bible Belt, I found myself scanning the radio (we do have a CD player in the minivan, but I sometimes like the radio, too). I lighted upon many (many!) religious stations. One thing that struck me was how bad the music is. Not only are the lyrics attrociously bad, but the music itself — melody, chord structure and progression, instrumentation — is just plain bad. It’s like listening to a 6th grade band playing Bach. It grates.
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