Pedro says…

sausage

Had a three-hour deja vu this weekend.

I dropped Stephanie and Michelle off at my parent’s house in Fayetteville, NC, and DJ and I headed down I-95 to South Carolina.  She’s a junior, and we’re in the hunt for a college.  We need one that she can get in and that I can afford!  The second part of that equation might be the most difficult.

My parents both grew up in Florence, SC, about 90 miles south of Fayetteville, NC.  As a kid we drove there multiple times a month to visit with my grandparents.  I don’t drive that route often anymore.

The South of the Border signs hit me first, there is literally one every five or so miles starting 100 miles from this teeny tiny, cheesy little theme park.  At ten miles out “Pedro’s” sign say, You never sausage a place, and there is a giant pork sausage glued to the top of the billboard.  If you pass the “amusement park,” there is a sign that says, Back Up Amigo, You Missed It (Pedro So Sad).

I used to try to count the billboards on the way to my grandma’s house.  But there were just too many and my attention span was just too short.

At one point on the far side of Lumberton, an odor crept into the car.

“Daaad!” My eldest assumed it was me.

“No! It wasn’t me.  This smell lives here.  It’s part of I-95.”

“Well it’s a nasty part of I-95.”

“I’ve been here before and this is what mile 28 smells like.  Mmmm.”  The odor was beautiful to me.

When the South Carolina Welcome Center first opened about 5 miles past Pedro, not only could you get a clean bathroom, but they also gave out free Crush orange soda and peanuts!  Imagine that.  Now you’re lucky to get a bathroom stall that doesn’t have someone’s phone number etched on the door.

My brother and I always tried to hold our breath when we crossed the bridge over the Great Pee Dee River.  I could never do it; but I wasn’t afraid to turn blue trying.

It gets easier with grown up lungs.

There was a motel on the outskirts of Fayetteville called The Palomino.  I always wanted to stay there because it had two enormous horse statues out in the front parking lot.  I shared my desire with DJ.

“Dad.  That’s one of those odd things that you think is good to share but after it comes out of your mouth, it just makes you seem even weirder.”

I have a plethora of third and fourth cousins in South Carolina but I don’t really know any of them.  My grandmother swore my Great Uncle James died of hook worm which freaked me out immensely.  I don’t even know what a hook worm is nor how it could possible get inside your body to murder you, but the images that have gone through my mind through the years about that subject could fill a large coffee table book.

And my mom recalls as a child going to the bathroom with her younger cousin and watching in amazement as a huge worm came out of her relatives behind.  As I passed by the exit for the small town they lived in I couldn’t help but recant our family’s history with invertebrates.

These feelings and the memories they conjure up make me feel both joy and loss.  How happy I was as a child.  How wonderful those adventures with my grandparents.  How sad they aren’t here now.

I wonder what my kids will remember.

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14 Comments

  1. I visited south of the border for the first time last month during a road trip. Such an interesting little tourist spot. I even got a postcard of the “you never sausage a place” sign. Ha ha. Great family memories!

    Reply
    • Danny Tanner

       /  February 20, 2014

      i’ve never met anyone who stopped there… I’m glad to know someone did.

      Reply
  2. Well written. Loved reading that.

    Reply
  3. Egads – I’m going to pretend I didn’t read part of this story or going to the bathroom won’t be happening today, at all. Or ever.

    But what a great trip down memory lane. I remember all of the fun I had growing up with my grand parents and great grand parents. And when we are in town, driving by and seeing all of the old “landmarks”. I moved closer to my parents a few years ago just so Mr. T could have the close bond with his grandparents like I did mine.

    Reply
  4. Ah South of the Border. I always wonder how much they spend on all those billboards?

    Reply
  5. Mel Ham

     /  February 19, 2014

    did you not stop and get the dog doo doo? it’s in the gift shop next to the dirty old man’s store. It’s the one with the elevator where you can pay fifdy cents to see all of south of the border and part of Robeson County. It really is a must see. You can’t miss the dog doodie display…it’s piled up in a display close to the elevator.

    Reply
    • Danny Tanner

       /  February 20, 2014

      I thought about going up in the huge sombrero but decided against it. What are you going to see from up there? Lumberton and Dillon? Maybe Florence? Eee-gad.

      Reply
  6. I often wonder what my kids will remember when they are older. It pushes me to be intentional about making memories and spending time as a family.

    Reply
  7. Aunt Susan

     /  February 19, 2014

    oh I think we all know what kind of memories your kids will have. funny and good ones. you are a trip, and like Mel said you need to go back and stock up for next summer at the S.C. Beach!!!!

    Reply

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