|Ugh. But the pie makes up for it.|
He's pretty much unstoppable, is what I'm trying to say. This week, though, we had a conversation I hadn't expected:
Him: "You know, I've decided it may be time for me to stop driving at night."
Me: "Great idea! You have plenty of people who can get you places."
Him: "Oh, I just mean long trips at night. I won't start out from Kansas City after dark any more. I'll still drive to town and around here."
I guess it's a start. I mean, Kansas City is only FOUR HOURS from the farm where he lives, and I gave up night-driving from there when I turned 40, but whatever. And as Husband pointed out, Dad apparently has charmed all the deer between his farm and the small town where he hangs out, so they'll wait at the side of the highway for him to go by. (That was sarcasm, in case you didn't recognize it.)
The upside of this half-hearted nod to mortality was that I had the privilege of driving Dad to a conference a couple hours from his farm last week. And the double upside was that it was day 37 of the Noah's Deluge that has been this spring. My Younger Brother the Farmer declared it too wet to plow and hopped into the back seat for the road trip.
It was lunchtime when we dropped Dad off with his fellow Rotarians so the Farmer and I went foraging and I was able to show off my guaranteed way to find the best food, no matter where you are. Here are the crucial steps of that method:
- Take out your phone.
- Google "Best pie in (town where you hope to eat)"
That's it. Unlike the treacherous Google Maps, which once deposited my family at the loading dock of Lowe's instead of at the hotel we were trying to find, Google's "Best Pie in Town" search will tell you that the best pie in Topeka is at Bradley's Corner Cafe, and the best pie in Abilene is at Joe Snuffy's. Google graciously let us know that the best pie in Hays, Kansas, was at Al's Chickenette, and the best pie tends to hang around with fabulous comfort food.
Al's Chickenette not only had the best chicken soup I've had in years (with homemade noodles swimming in a perfectly salty broth) and fried chicken that the Farmer described as the perfect ratio of coating to white meat,
it had what was undoubtedly the best pie in Hays: strawberry-rhubarb with homemade crust and sweet juices dripping into my spoon. Also, a waitress who knew that a spoon is the only way to eat pie because forks are for foods that need stabbing and not scooping.
Al's had restroom doors that were identified for hens and roosters, which may have been a twee bridge too far, but we're going to forgive that in the face of that pie.
Well done, Google, and thanks for giving up long-distance night driving, Dad. I'll make that road trip any day.