All roads lead to Knoxville — and beyond.
Here I am at Washington, D.C.’s Reagan National Airport. It is a drizzly, cool day. I am heading off to fly to Knoxville, Tennessee, on a US Air flight. I have an uneasy feeling and now I know why. The smiling ticket agent who has been processing my ticket suddenly looks up from her computer screen and tells me the bad news.
“Your flight has just been canceled,” she says.
“Do you mean it’s delayed?” asks the meek passenger.
“No, I mean it’s not going,” she says cheerily.
“When’s the next flight?” I ask.
“Ten p.m.,” she says, “but that one might not go either. Our flights have been getting canceled all day.”
Oh, great. US Air is a fascinating airline. Incredibly terrible service and incredibly high fares. Good combination. The flight attendants and ticket clerks are fine, but the people who arrange the service don’t really care a lot about us passengers.
Anyway, I called my driver, Bob Noah, who had just dropped me off. He raced back and scooped me up and off we headed on Route 66 and then down mighty highway 81 into the Shenandoah Valley toward Knoxville. What a great guy he is. No clothes, no reservation, just changes his plans on a dime for little me. What a GREAT GUY!!!
The truth is that I love being driven. I’m like a dog. I love going for rides with my human driver, in this case, Bob. Plus, the Shenandoah Valley is beautiful. Green rolling hills. Valleys. Passes. Small towns with cute little gas stations. We stopped at one in the tiny hamlet of Buchanan, which, for some odd reason, the man at the gas station pronounced “Buckhannon.” Oddly, even though it was early April, snow fell on and off, along with a cold rain. I took videos from the back seat of the scenery and sent them to my pals with my fabulous Verizon Voyager handheld phone computer miracle machine.
I slept for a really long time and soon we were in the outskirts of Knoxville. Well, not that soon. It took eight hours. But what the heck? I didn’t have to drive, so no problemo. Actually, Houston, we do have a problem. We got very lost. The directions someone had printed for Bob Noah really were poor and we wound up in some godforsaken suburb. A kindly Realtor working late in his office gave us directions to our hotel, but we couldn’t follow them. Miracle! My Verizon Voyager had a built-in navigator. I simply entered the hotel’s address and a talking woman in the phone and a tiny little map showed us the way to the hotel, block by block.
I had called the only person I know who hails from Knoxville, the beautiful Kay Kinkaid, and gotten a dinner reservation suggestion for a place called Chesapeake. Bob and I walked there in bitter cold rain and had a good meal while watching the hapless Michigan State squad get killed by the mighty Tarheels. Actually, I do know someone else near there. A lovely woman named Jennifer who lives in Maryville, a small town nearby. But I was too tired by then to call anyone. Back to my room and into a deep sleep.
NOW, THIS IS THE KIND OF DAY a man lives for. I got up, rendezvoused with Bob, got into his car, and headed off to brunch at a sparkling new Waffle House. Get this: The All-Star Breakfast served all day. Two eggs any style. Toast with butter and jam. Bacon or sausage. Potatoes or grits. Seven dollars and ninety-nine cents. Made fresh before your eyes. How can you beat it? It is perfection in a meal.
Then over a scary mountain pass where a middling snow was falling. Past a million fireworks stands and motels. Into a forest. Then down the mountain and into Williamsburg, Kentucky, and the University of the Cumberlands.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?