My wife and I spent the last week or so traveling up the East Coast, visiting our grown children and various uncles and long-lost cousins. (We called it the "it's all relatives tour.") I plugged in my laptop a couple of times, but for the most part I was off the grid -- which I highly recommend to those of you who, like me, have become Web-addicted. There's so much to learn out there in the great wide world of real reality.
For instance, while driving through South Carolina, I heard the song "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk" for the first time. It changed my worldview and brought me up to speed on a lot of Chris Davis' jokes that had previously gone over my head. Now, I've got it goin' on like Donkey Kong. And whoo-wee,
shut my mouth.
Speaking of my mouth, I ate one the best meals of my life in a Vietnamese restaurant in Brooklyn -- run by Brazilians. It's called Mekong Badonkadonk. (No, it's not. It's just Mekong. Go there soon and order the calamari with lemon grass au beurre sauce.)
We lounged by my uncle's lush shaded pool in Greenwich, Connecticut, for a day and pretended we were characters in a John Cheever story. We took a water taxi around the Statue of Liberty, then walked past the World Trade Center site and visited Trinity Episcopal Church across the street, with its photos and memorabilia of the September 11th attacks. It was tear-provoking and inspiring and evoked the best kind of pride in being an American -- not a swaggering cowboy patriotism but rather the sense that we as a people are capable of rising to any occasion with strength and courage beyond measure.
When I returned to Memphis and plugged back into the grid, I learned that Rush Limbaugh had been busted for illegal possession of Viagra and was facing a stiff penalty and that Michael Hooks Jr. had followed in his father's indicted footsteps. And I found out that the venerable Zippin Pippin had been sold to the Honky Tonk Hall of Fame. Another piece of Memphis history gone, sold to the not-so-highest bidder. Badonkadonk.
Bruce VanWyngarden, Editor
It's deep in a November night in Memphis, and I'm awakened by rain. It's coming down hard, sounding like a million pebbles hitting the roof. The gutter I've been meaning to clean is overflowing outside the bedroom window. A flash of lightning illuminates the room, and I do what I've done since I was a boy: count the seconds 'til the thunder rolls. I get almost to 10 before I hear a distant rumble. Two miles or so. Someone else's lightning ...