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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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9 comments

  1. I know exactly which crosses you’re referring to in the Shenandoah Valley. I see them often.

    Did you take your camera on the boat ride? I’d love to see photos of the egrets and herons. I see herons around the DC area occasionally, but not egrets.


  2. Chappie: I did get a couple of photos of herons, but the boat was transportation, not sight-seeing. I’ll post them tomorrow.


  3. Glad to have you finally back in civilization. I’ve not had anybody to trade pun-ches with.


  4. If you want to see bird life go to Delaware City and take the Three Forts Tour. At Fort Delaware on Peapatch Island you’ll see all kinds of birds.

    Spring and early summer seem to be the best times, I’m told. I was there for a reenactment several years ago, and a bunch of us got booed because we’d seen the wading birds and some of us were singing, “Egrets; I’ve had a few…”

    Some people have no culture…


  5. Ric: Good to be back. Bocce!!!!

    Sarge: I get the feeling that, thanks to you and Ric, we will be heron a lot of puns.


  6. I would also love to see pictures of the birds – not that I would know what I was looking at. On our holiday travels my husband pointed out 2 bald eagles – pretty cool, and nothing I would have noticed on my own.


  7. I always liked “Jesus saves; but Gretsky gets the rebound – he shoots! he scores!!”. And yes, God-rock is truly, truly awful. The second worst radio I have ever listened to in the US.

    The worst was WHAM based out of Rochester, NY. I tuned into it as we drove through the area as my dad used to work for a radio station in the UK called WHAM and they managed to persuade DJs from each other’s station to do some jingles. It was the worst right-wing fascist nonsense I have ever heard.


  8. Kate: We were up in Maine at Acadia one time and were watching the Peregrine Falcons nesting at the Precipice. I looked strait up and asked my father in law, “What’t that bird?”

    He glanced up and, totally deadpan, said, “Oh, that’s a Bald Eagle,” and went back to looking at the nesting falcons. All the other visitors got excited, but Papa’s deadpan delivery was priceless.

    Julia: And the bad music was not even Godrock. Some was pseudo folk. Some was pseudo gospel. Some had a sickening Lawrence Welk quality that was truly nauseating.


  9. We’ve noticed around here that the acipiter hawks that usually migrate haven’t been migrating for the past couple of years. One sits on a telephone pole in the alley and goes after sparrows and buntings.

    He have several pairs of bald eagles in the area and there’s a breeding pair of goldens not far away.

    The first couple of years we were married we used to drive through North Carolina and spend a couple days with my sister who lived near Weaverville. The interstate didn’t go anywhere near there so we had to go up and down a mountain near Saluda.

    The road was a two lane switch back with hundred foot sheer drops and no guard rails. You’d come around a blind curve and see, grafitied on a rock.
    “You will soon meet Jesus, are you ready”? “Eternity may be waiting around the next bend” and sever others of that ilk.

    The one time my wife was driving and a fuel tanker stayed right on our bumper the whole way down the mountain. I admit it, the last testamony did appear to have some relevance on that trip. We could smell his brakes burning.



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