I spent a good part of a day last week running around northern Alabama and the length of Tennessee, seeking the kind of sustenance you can only find if you’re a local or a committed chowhound.

Snake eyes.

Due to a poor combination of timing and errant directions from teenage barbecue joint workers, I ended up at a Hardee’s where I reflected on my youth in Appalachia and the life of poor decisions that had inexorably led me to a fast food meal-all while thunderheads raced toward me from the West. No sooner had I made my way back onto I-65 than the skies opened up so I began to plot a course toward refuge. There were a bevy of quick marts on the first exit but only one had a giant Indian statue beckoning me, nay, compelling me, into his business.

Roadside attractions like this used to be common in the South. Wig Wam motels, Indian chief themed tobacconists, rural train rides where the passengers would be attacked by braves on pony back-the American Indians were constantly being utilized as marketing gimmicks to get people to pull off the roadway and buy a pack of smokes or a coonskin cap for little Ray Ray.

Anytime I’m in a quick mart in a rural town I always carefully peruse the snacks section. At the anonymous convenience store with the Indian statue, I found some plain jane packaged dried fruit pies with the only labeling being “Reba” stamped on the side of the wax paper.

The big Indian did his job and that dried apricot pie? I Rolled toward Kentucky wondering if Reba was a married woman and what the story was behind her nascent pie business.

previous Austin Daily Photos: http://www.scrumptiouschef.com/food/Austin-Daily-Photo

Did RL Reeves Jr really write a column about a fast food meal in the American South? http://www.scrumptiouschef.com/food/2012/5/27/Austin-Daily-Photo-RL-Reeves-Jr-Ventures-Into-A-Hardees-In-White-House-Tennessee?adminview=true

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