Waffle House

This country is a thrill ride. No shit — the roar of Macks and Peterbilts down Route 81 south through Maryland, Virginia, red diodes bleeding into the night. My wife and I just returned from a road trip: New York to North Carolina.

Sailing on traffic thermals along Virginia 220 toward Rocky Mount, Martinsville — shear hillsides, split Blue Ridge mounts, ghost cabins, Jesus on the AM, breakfast in Waffle House, eggs, grits, hash browns scattered and smothered.

Brings to mind a poem I wrote in Florida:


In the shrill light
against the black pearl glass
across the shimmering counter
large globe hanging

bearded rail of a man
hung over country eggs

waitress in Christmas nails
flatchested, hardscrabble

“My momma and my sister
had nary any polish remover
so I scratched off the Santa
and the Christmas Tree”

man faces window
onyx oblivion
and Denny’s neon
in the West Florida night

Also calls to mind the paintings of Jeffrey L. Neumann – motels, bars, eateries. Take a wild ride through his Web site, where you’ll see roadside America at its best. Pictured here is “Lota Burger” (oil, 38” x 72”), a real gem.

"Lota Burger," an oil painting by Jeffrey L. Neumann

"Lota Burger," an oil painting by Jeffrey L. Neumann

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