Lost. I checked my iPhone again still hoping for a signal. We had counted on technology for guidance on our east coast excursion, but in the backwoods of Carolina- only 45 minutes from home and barely over the county line- we were stranded up the Congo River with no civilization in sight.
“No, there’s a building up ahead. Don’t freak out, Jenny,” Greg said after admitting our plan to use the iPhone GPS as our map sucked. He was ready to stop for directions under the pretense of buying ice.
I read the sign. “Harold’s Country Club. Never heard of it, have you?”
“What kind of country club is open at seven in the morning?”
“Don’t know, but I’ll find out.” Greg pulled into the gravel lot, bypassing the gas pumps near the front door that advertised unleaded for $1.21 a gallon and opened his door. The kids sleeping in the backseat ruffled their throw blankets, but didn’t rouse.
Eyeing the bag of bananas and granola bars beside me, I whispered to Greg before he closed the door, “Get me a country ham biscuit.” Smoked and salty, country ham on a buttermilk biscuit cured depression and the common cold. It made friends out of bloodlust enemies. (If served at talks between Hamas and Israeli leaders, peace would ensue, but alas, their common disdain for pork products keeps them at war.)
The night before, I lectured the kids for an hour about our strict budget for this trip. I packed travel-friendly breakfasts and snacks to save money, eat healthier, and save time- a mother’s trifecta. Morning changed my fit and frugal intentions. Getting a family of five on the road by six a.m. coupled with a sleepless night of travel-anxiety driven images of head-on collisions, mangled bodies, child abductions, or appendix ruptures at two AM, hundreds of miles from our pediatrician, made me ravenous. After all the packing, planning and panicking, didn’t I deserve a special treat? Maybe I should get two biscuits. As I scrambled out of the car to catch Greg, he exited the country club door with a smile on his face.
“Did you get directions?”
“Yes,” he replied still grinning while pulling a bag of ice out of the cooler.
Seeing he held no food, I assumed he forgot my breakfast and walked toward their front door. “Did they have any biscuits?”
“No, but they have draft beer if you want one.”
Briefly considering his odd offer before commonsense resumed, I asked, “At seven o’clock in the morning?”
As we returned to the car without beer or biscuits, Greg explained that Harold’s Country Club was not a store. It was a bar, pool hall, dance club and restaurant that serves steak on Saturday nights and, apparently, has regulars who come in early on Friday mornings. When Greg walked in the door, the bar maid didn’t bat an eye. She grabbed a fresh glass, readied it under a tap and asked, “What can I get you?”
As we pulled out, heading in the correct direction toward I-95 North with our long-awaited east coast Taste of America Tour in front of us, all my husband could say was, “I can’t wait till we get back. We’ve gotta go there!” Greg was intrigued. Pool, music, beer AND steaks in a “country” club on a back road in South Carolina? He had found a kindred place he knew he liked before he’d really even been there.
I nodded and unwrapped a granola bar. I might have supported his enthusiasm to return if Harold’s sold country ham biscuits.