During our journey we drove through the Greater Guntersville area and the scenery reminded me of a different time. It reminded me of a simpler time. It reminded me of days gone by. It reminded me of a pair of shoes. Not just any pair of shoes mind you, but Reebok Ex-O-fit Hi-Tops black in color. I had a very special relationship with these shoes for about 20 years. Not the same pair of these shoes, but the same style purchased over and over again during that time frame. These wonderful shoes were very popular in the 80s when I first bought them at Tarrant Shoe Mart in downtown Tarrant City, Alabama. However, as time went by the shoes became less and less popular, and like the end of Hair Metal and the beginning of Grunge the times they were a changin' (not necessarily for the better). The lovely Reebok Ex-O-fit Hi-Tops became harder to find as the years went by, but regardless I kept searching for them. I'm not one to quit on a pair of comfortable shoes just cause they've gone out of style, and don't get me wrong I'm no trendsetter...I'm just loyal. My lovely wife continued to find these shoes for me online for years, and like clockwork every Christmas or on my Birthday I would get a brand new pair. All was going well with me and my shoes until it became painfully obvious that it was time to move on. First of all, while I was coaching football a few years ago, one of the fine young men who played for the team I was coaching approached me in a very serious manner and asked, "Coach, Why do you were those boots all the time? They look uncomfortable." This hit a nerve, and around the same time my white athletic tube socks were called in to question by another youngster. I played all this off to childish nonsense, but I would soon hit rock bottom with my shoe problem. I carried my son, Jesse, to a local shoe store to buy him a pair of shoes. The young salesman noticed my shoes, and asked, "Whoa, I haven't seen those shoes in years, Where do you find them?" All proud of myself I said, "My wife buys them for me online." He went on to say, "Yes sir, I know some Vintage shops that would pay good money for those shoes." Hold on a minute, Vintage shops...are you kidding me. This ain't no oldies station up in here. But then it hit me, maybe it is. I knew it was time to move on. I said a tearful goodbye to my shoes, but I did keep them around for yard work and stuff and I still see them every now and then. My shoes of choice now are Under Armor cross-trainers, and let me tell you they are awesome. Unbelievably comfortable, I've already gone through three pairs! Uh oh, It's happening again. By the way, I did away with the white tube socks too. I wear no-shows now. Jesse said that was the kind I needed to wear. I'm old school, what do I know?
The following things were said during our long Yard Sale adventure. These are direct quotes, and the circumstances surrounding the quotes are let's say still an issue of some contention in certain cases. Quotes from the trip:
"It's all about expectations, and I always expect you to be wrong." -Cheryl (talking to me)
"You can't lick people. You may really want to, but you just can't. That's just the way it is."- Me
"A-B-C-D-E-S-V, Double Q, X, Y, Z. Now I know my ABC's I can sing with me." -Maddie
"Barnes and Noble? Isn't that a hamburger place?" -Jesse
"The great thing about the United States of America is that if you have money or a pistol, you can find a place to stay or something to eat." -Me
There were a few more, but due to time constraints I had to reduce the list somewhat. All in all it was a fantastic voyage that I would do again...Maybe. If you plan on going you should probably leave the kids at home...Just saying.
One last thing before I go: Jesse and I had an interesting conversation at the dinner table the other night. I was giving young Jesse the what for about drugs, alcohol, tobacco, etc. I do that from time to time, because I want him to know the dangers of these kind of substances. Jesse has heard me mention an incident that happened in Blount County years ago where I got sideways with the law, and ended up in a little trouble. He asked me, "Dad, didn't you used to drink?" I said, "Yes, but I quit all that stuff years ago." He went on to say, "Was it tough in Prison?" Now, let's just say I wasn't expecting this line of questioning, and for the record I have never been in prison. Jail, yes. Prison, no. I explained to Jesse that I only spent one night a couple times in Jail way back in the day when I was stupid, but he should never be as stupid and dumb as I was. He said, "Don't worry Dad, I'm Straight Edge. I don't drink, I don't use drugs, I won't smoke, I'm better than all that." His heard me use this mantra from time to time (The Straight Edge part actually comes from CM Punk the professional wrestler, but the substance free lifestyle is legit and everyone should try it. Just sayin') This conversation went on for a while, until my wife had to mention that caffeine is technically a drug. Ok, that technicality got me. I drink coffee, and I am a fan of caffeine. Jesse, with a horrified look, locks eyes with his mother and says, "Caffeine is a drug? I've been lied to my whole life." That's my boy. Straight Edge and proud of it. To quote the above mentioned CM Punk, "I'm Straight Edge, I Don't Drink! I Don't Use Tobacco! I Don't Use Drugs! And I'm Better than You!"
Well, that's about it for this edition. I must give a word of warning to all those who want to try the World's Longest Yard Sale: "Don't take this journey lightly, and be prepared for no food, water, bathrooms, etc. etc." It is a hard core type of existence doing this kind of stuff unless you're used to it. Be careful out there people, and if you need any advice on survival, my wife Dr. Cheryl A. Perry, PhD in not only Health Education/Health Behavior but also Yard Sale Sciences, would be glad to assist. As you were.