Hell Is Real

Steve's party boat on Dale Hollow Lake
Steve’s party boat on Dale Hollow Lake

I kept thinking these were little pies laid out on the seats of Steve’s party boat. Click photo for enlargement.

Dale Hollow Lake was created by the Tennessee Valley Authority when they bought up land and dammed two rivers that had cut through the hills so they could harness the water to generate electricity. The state owns the shotgun shell littered shoreline and the giant lake they created when they flooded the valley. I remember learning about this project in Geography class and now here we were floating on the lake in a party boat. As you can see from the map the lake is huge with hundreds of miles of shoreline and countless coves. On Labor Day weekend most coves were filled with rented party boats but we did manage to find a few to hang out in. We must have seen over a thousand boats here and not one was a sail boat. Four wheel pickup trucks, big power boats, party boats, jet skis and ATVs continue the TVA style assault on the landscape. The Shell station where we first called Steve from is a hub for refilling their toys and it’s the busiest place in town.

We bought some pasta at one of the marinas and had it with Peggi’s homemade tomato sauce for dinner. Steve cleaned up and asked if we wanted to go to a local honky tonk called “Bear’s Place”. It has been about ten years since we were in a smoke filled bar and this place was surly the smokiest of them all. Bear runs it from a seat at the bar. His two sons tend bar and keep the patrons in line. The age group was 20 to 70 and it seemed their relationships were all in play. It was like going to a teen dance. Steve had only been here six times but he knew quite a few of the women. Couples were hooking up and heading out the door as we drank one Bud Light after another. Our eyes hurt from the smoke but feasted on it all.

This county and the surrounding ones prohibit the sale of alcohol. The bar serves only wine and beer and it closes at midnight. It can’t even open on Sunday by law. Bear’s Place is one big open space with a pool table to the left and a DJ and dance floor to the right. The music is loud as hell and it sounded great. The lady DJ played cuts from cds, one at a time. No segues. And the music ranged from shitkicking country to Joan Jett with hip hop in-between. She always had a crowd on the floor but the urban tracks worked best for her. A guy standing nearby wore a motorcycle t-shirt with a picture of a woman with large breasts, a souvenir from an event called “Choppers ‘n Floppers.” Not everyone had a full set of teeth but people were genuinely nice and we closed the place.

We were hoping to get some down home breakfast food at the Dixie Cafe on Sunday morning but they don’t even open until ten because everyone was at church. We got there near noon and watched the place fill up with church goers. We overheard one woman say’ “We went to two services today. We let the spirit in twice!” We tried ordering breakfast and waitress said they don’t do breakfast on Sunday. She recommended a BLT as the closest thing to breakfast.

I love the homemade billboards you see down south. Most of them are put up by religious fanatics. We saw a few with the ten commandments on them and one that read, “Warning! Jesus Is Coming. Are You Ready?” My favorite read, “Hell Is Real”.

More photos from Tennessee


5 Replies to “Hell Is Real”

  1. yeah pork chops and gravy, and on Saturday night they have bluegrass or folk music but no alcohol allowed, brad fox called Paul’s blog condescending

  2. I just wish we run into Jessie Walton out on Dale Hollow Lake. It wasn’t until we got home that we read the Dale Hollow’s Lake Times News where the editor, Jesse Walton, announced that he would be giving away FREE tickets to the Creation Museum to the first THREE boaters who found him out on the lake on Labor Day Weekend. That would have been something to get all condescending about.

  3. that creation museum is scary stuff, i smell conspiracy after cking out their website. thay have a lot of jobs open. some of them require you to believe in the aig( an engllish non profit which oversees the creation museum)statement of faith, which has some scary syntax such as(Only limited biological changes (including mutational deterioration) have occurred naturally within each kind since Creation.) what the hell does that mean? any mutation is inherently evil i guess. what is the exact realionship between jessie walton and aig. hmmmmmmm? you know these people were in charge of the government for 8 years.

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