Anticipating Gatlinburg, I readied for hard core historic…for plaques about battles and declarations, bronze memorials to the fallen. Maybe a diorama, a restaurant with waiters and waitresses in period costume. I imagined a library with sepia maps and an Information Center with CD tours for rent.
So I felt a right prat when I found Gatlinburg packed with people buying sugar and carbs--candy, taffy, ice-cream, corn dogs, burgers, whiskey, moonshine—from stores shaped like castles and pirates and prisons. I smiled at the balconied “Vape” stores, restaurants selling burgers, pizza, ribs, Chinese buffet. It had stores where you could pose as characters from the Wild West, where you could have your initials put on anything, where you could buy your girlfriend a sexy nightie, your dog a biker jacket, your son a Confederate poster for his bedroom.
You couldn’t buy real things…like kettles or matches or six-packs of Pepsi. There were no banks or Realtors, no chiropodists. No library. No book store. There were no African Americans or Asians or Latinos.
Gatlinburg won’t be pulling at me this week, tempting me away from my work. Small mercies.