|by Brent Mundt|
|The Thin Red Line
When theater queens merge with NASCAR fiends at 65 mph, there's danger ahead. Here's to the truck stops and E-Z Go's of rural Delmarva, between which lie fresh fruit and vegetable stands. Speaking for the fruits, I'm scared.
Looking at a map of the mid-Atlantic, one must wonder how so many of us leave our true blue progressive and sophisticated environs of Washington, Philly, and Baltimore and make it out to Rehoboth and back every weekend unscathed.
I view the 100+ miles of homo hurdles as the Thin Red Line that connects the safe blue havens of our city apartments and our beloved "blue beach getaway"lower case Camp Rehoboth. Movie buffs will remember the Thin Red Line as the movie that depicted the marines at Guadalcanal maneuvering behind enemy lines during WWII. Getting through Denton, Maryland can be as daunting for a fellow like me who's scandalously light in the loafers. Enemy lines, indeed. "Country roads, take me home, to the place I belong"...even though this rainbow flag on the bumper is akin to waving a big red flag in front of a bull.
Why do I leap with such wild abandon? Why paint the route through the country side crimson Republican red with such a broad brush? Let's start with the bass boat cruising next to me and my sisters at 65 mph, being pulled by a pickup with a gun rack and the Ehrlich for Governor bumper sticker. We're listening to Cole Porter and they're no doubt listening to Porter Wagner. I'm guessing that once they reach the fishin' hole, there ain't no New Yorker or Vanity Fair in the tackle box. I'm sure it's Rifles R Us and Fishing Daily. We say, "You go, girl!" (to men) as often as they say, "Get 'er done!" (to burly men).
Then, making the turn on the back country roads, we count the fake windmills, faux wishing wells, the wagon wheels framing the driveways, the plastic deer, a plywood Uncle Samand nestled up next to one modest little house, a cement Virgin Mary. Then I count my three dear friends in the car. They're Mary's too. Not one a virginbut every single one a Madonna maniac. One wonders if the local Cineplex is featuring the new blockbuster Sex in the Countrywritten by...SATAN!
I doubt our buddies with the bass boat are doing what we're doing on our road trip: while they're casting bait, we're casting all of our friends in their various appropriate roles in Gone with the WindKevin is Rhett Butler and Patrick is Ashley Wilkes and Richard is Aunt Pittypat and whilst we're lost at Tara, we're pretty certain that they're having a breaking wind contest out on the bass boat.
And here's the dead giveaway it's a red line. Every four years since 2000, those Bush-Cheney yard signs popped up like stinkweed (an intentional metaphor) But, if John McCain can go on the Ellen DeGeneres show, why can't we assume that some degree of common ground could be found with the country folk? I've tried.
About five years ago, I was headed out on a Saturday morning and got to Greenwood just in time for the legendary weekend bar-b-que, so I thought I'd stop and buy a mess of $5 chickens for the gang awaiting me in the Rehoboth compound. Hungry, I decide to eat a of one at one of the picnic tables andsure enoughthe old coot from the VFW who runs the operation comes over to chat. I butch it up. (My friends have all now dropped their Letters in their laps and thrown their heads back to let out the loudest guffaws known to mankind. Rat bastards.)
OK, so I tried to butch it up. So Grandpa Bar-b-que and I spoke for about 15 minutes about his business model for the VFW charity. Since I raise money for a living, I gave him pointers on how to maximize his sponsorships. The next thing I know he follows me to my car. It was a new little Mazda hatchback and he's admiring it and asks if he can see the trunk. Well, no sooner do I click it open than I realize the entire back is filled with drag for the upcoming Halloween festivities. Too late. He's standing next to me staring at a wall to wall trunk full of chiffon and big "church hats," lending a whole new meaning to "off road accessories."
No, we are definitely not cut from the same cloth.
Back to the present, the Mary's and I pull up to the compound in time to mix cocktails and catch up with the neighbors. On Saturday morning we make gazpacho with the vegetables we purchased along the countryside. We sit down to dinner, with the breeze blowing through the housefabulous china, sumptuous wine. Looking down at all those freshly minced vegetables grown by farmers with love in their heartsnow masterfully morphed into gay gazpacho, I think to myself, "Can't we all just get along?" We could learn so much from one another. They could teach us how to ride a tractor and we could teach them multiple ways to use cucumbers.Then I remember the Bush-Cheney signs along both sides of the Thin Red Line, and recall with a smile why food processors have a pulverize button.
Brent Mundt makes a living in Washington and a life in Rehoboth Beach.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 18, No. 07 June 13, 2008