I went to Mike’s funeral today. While I was there I hooked up with DixieDennis who drove down from western Kentucky and Doc from Maingun LLC who drove in from Georgia, both of whom I’ve exchanged emails with and wanted to meet.
It was a good service as far as those things go. His survivors, interests and accomplishments were recited and two folks got up to speak, the first one a friend of Mike’s who shared some memories and spoke some very moving words and the second being David Codrea of The War in Guns and who was instrumental in breaking the Fast and Furious/Gunwalker story with Mike.
After they finished there was a word from his brother and then a short sermon and that was it. 45 minutes.
One thing I found funny was a handmade sign posted on the door and also displayed prominently inside: No Weapons allowed inside. I walked back out to my truck to grab a chew for the service and started noticing all the male mourners checking to make sure their shit was covered up before they went inside.
We did stick around and visit for a while, me and Doc spending a few minutes talking with David – a very intelligent and passionate man, then we joined Dennis in the parking lot where we shot the shit for a few more minutes, then me and Doc went back inside and prowled around in the back of the funeral home. It’s cool, they knew we were back there.
We all had about a 5 hour drive home, so we shook hands and was on the road by 3:15.
Okay, so I jumped in the truck this morning to leave for the funeral. I know Portland is in middle Tennessee and Leeds is near Birmingham in the central part of Alabama so all I gotta do is jump on 65 and it’s a straight shot down for the most part. I punch in the address on my Tom-Tom and see that the route chosen will take me right through Nashville right in the middle of the morning commute. Okay, that shit ain’t happening. What I want is a route that will plug me into 65 below Nashville so I click to alternate routes, see one that will take me on backroads towards Murfreesboro and then to 65 so I selected that one then I went on my merry way, crawling behind trucks hauling trailers of tobacco leaves and dodging potholes.
You can imagine my dismay when I looked up and saw a sign that said “Welcome to Georgia”. Fucking Georgia. I’m like a hundred miles off. What I had done was punched in Route 3 instead of Route 2. Route 3 evidently was the scenic route.
I have made no secret of the fact that I have the sense of direction of a rock, but this is the first time I have ever missed an entire state, at least while I was sober. I mean all I had to do was go due south for about 40 miles then hang a right and I would’ve hit 65 – in theory anyways. Around here you don’t go straight anywhere – the roads pretty much follow the contour of the land. I bet there ain’t a mile long stretch of straight road other than the major highways in the entire state. Sure, there were a few times I was wondering if I was headed the right direction – it was so overcast I couldn’t see the sun – but Tom-Tom assured me all was well so I kept on traveling. Saw some pretty country though.
The trip home was pretty uneventful – I did take 65 home figuring that by the time I got to Nashville the evening rush hour would be over.
Right after I cleared Birmingham the sky opened up and that shit was flat coming down. I had my wipers going lickity-split and I still couldn’t see 50 yards in front of me. I had to slow down from 80 to 70, man. On top of that, the truck was pretending it was a boat and kept trying to float on me. It rained like that off and on all the way to Nashville.
Oh shit, another sign I saw today that I got a kick out of: I stopped off in some crossroads for some barbecue and when I went to use the restroom I noticed a sign taped to the door of the ladies restroom – Natural Born Women ONLY (kiddies are okay too). I don’t know if they’d already had an issue with it or if they were just heading that shit off at the pass. They evidently don’t go for that gender identification nonsense in rural Alabama.
Below Nashville, I figured fuck it I’ll go through it instead of around it. It wasn’t that bad until I hit traffic all going to the Titans stadium for something or another. Traffic came to a stop for about 5 minutes and then started rolling again.
Other than that it was a nice boring trip home. I gotta tell you though, I’ve gotten to where I hate driving on a freeway any more. I mean, I only have to do it maybe once a month, but I had my fill of it today. I had 35 years of California freeways and now I avoid them anytime I possibly can.