Major Domo Billy Bojangles, sat down and had a drink with me,Grateful Dead "Alabama Getaway"
Said "What about Alabama? It keeps a coming back to me.
Heard your plea in the courthouse, Witness box began to rock and rise,
49 sister states had Alabama in their eyes.
Alabama getaway, getaway. Alabama getaway, getaway,
Only way to please me, ya just gotta leave and walk away.
So I got to head down to Montgomery, AL, for a work meeting (Air Force Portal Content Managers Meeting at Maxwell-Gunter AFB) for a couple days this week. I was also giving a presentation about the new Air Force Website (www.af.mil), which should be launching in 3 or 4 weeks (fingers crossed). I've never been to Alabama, and most of what I know about it comes from watching "My Cousin Vinny" too many times or reading the works of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights fight. Based on "My Cousin Vinny" I can attest that there is red mud everywhere. Granted, I didn't stuck in any, but I did see it near construction sites.
Unfortunately, my time was a bit tighter than I'd like, so I never got to hit the town to see what's shakin. I did make it downtown for lunch one day and had a nice meal at Montgomery Brew Pub where I had a great beer called "Rass Kisser" or "Razz Kisser" or something like that. It was pretty tasty and I would've killed for a few more of them because it was such a nice day. Anyway, I think the tone of the trip was set when I asked a cop at the airport, "So are restaurants open late here, or should I get moving here." He smiled and in a nice drawl said, "Nawww, they close pretty early. They roll up Main St. at dark in this damn town." OK. I headed to my hotel, which was a lovely place next to the highway. My window looked out to a Waffle House, Outback Steakhouse, Lone Star Steak, a gas station, a car dealership, and a blinking billboard that kept telling me to go to a Montgomery Biscuits ball game.
I checked online to find the addresses of a few restaurants that my friend's co-worker had sent me, having been here for business recently. I was psyched to check out Jubilee Seafood, but alas, it was closed on Monday's. I continued checking to see what was around and was boggled by the huge amount of chain-type restaurants. As my indecisiveness got the better of me, I realized that it's nearly 9:00, so I headed to the Lone Steak Steakhouse next to the hotel. For shame. After dinner, I went to a gas station across the street to get some waters and snacks for the meetings. There was a lovely crackwhore holding a baby hanging out in the lot. She didn't talk to me. Inside, I saw the requisite counter full of pickled pig's feet, pickled sausages, and various jerkys. I also found a soda called Dr. Wham, which along with Grapeico, was on sale for $1.09!! Of course I had to get one (I didn't get a Grapico) and I'm happy to report that it's quite delicious. Kind of like a Dr. Pepper, as the name would imply.
My hotel (Drury Inn) has a free breakfast buffet with eggs, sausage, make-your-own Belgian waffles, and the coup de grace, biscuits and gravy. As I noshed on these treats the first day, I realized the folly of my ways, knowing that these fat- and carb-laden goodies would be my demise during the meeting. But hey, free biscuits and gravy. What do you want. Interestingly, the Drury also has a free happy hour at night with 3 free drinks per day and veggies and nachos! Sweet deal.
I got to have a nice bbq dinner at a place called Jim 'N Nick's. Gotta say, that was the highlight of my trip, aside from Dr. Wham. I opted for the meat combo, for which I picked baby back ribs, smoked hot links, collard greens, and mac n cheese. Delicious eats! Sadly, I decided not to bring my leftovers to the hotel because I figured 1) I'm not eating the ribs and sausage for breakfast, and 2) I'm not flying with them back to DC.
As I write this, I'm sitting in an un-air conditioned conference room at the JAG school at Maxwell AFB. There's a B-52 in front of the school, as well as numerous other planes near Academic Circle. As always, I like to bring it all full circle. During my trip, I've been singing "Love Shack" by the B-52s in my head. Why? because I've been driving on the Atlanta Highway, which runs through Montgomery. And today I'm greeted by a giant B-52 sitting in front of the building. Wow, between B-52s and Dr. Wham, 'Bama's been pretty good to me! Bonus full circle: "Alabama Getaway" was this week's theme, and this Friday I'm heading to Philly to see the Dead.
Update: Gotta say, overall, Maxwell was pretty decent and I have to say that the people of Alabama were super friendly everywhere I went. I'm glad to see that service and manners still count in some places. So kudos to Alabama for being a gracious host. Southern hospitality is alive and well. And flowing with gallons of sweet tea.