By Mitch Howard
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
I owe an apology to anyone that came in contact with me between the hours of 7 p.m. and 9:50 p.m. Tuesday in Prestonsburg. I was not myself due to circumstances beyond my control. I was Roseanne Barr and I really needed a Snickers.
The problem began when I ate a salad for lunch. Usually salad is what I put on top of a hamburger, not a meal in itself. Feeling a bit pudgy, I decided slip some greens into my diet. Then the day got hectic and there would be not another nibble before it was time to drive two hours to the Little League All Star game. There was no option to stop on the way with the first batter already on base before I got my camera out.
Usually this is not a problem because every game has a concession stand and Prestonsburg has a fine one. However, a quick inventory of my pockets turned up a lousy two bucks. Another thing about concession stands, two bucks gets you a cup of tap water.
Between innings I would rummage through my camera bag for loose change, food, or any spare equipment I could trade for nachos. I managed enough change to afford a plain hotdog and a drink. I also chewed the 12 loose sunflowers seeds and two pieces of antique gum scraped from the depths of the bag.
The trick now would be getting to the concession stand without missing anything important. When a game ends with an 8-7 score and bases loaded in the final at bat, everything is important.
During a pitching change I bolted to the concession stand, trying to make eye contact with no one. There was only one person in front of me. Turns out it was the Brady Bunch and none of them knew what they wanted. I retreated.
After the next inning I tried again. I arrived at the window at the exact moment as another man. “Go ahead,” I said, like an idiot. “You sure?” he said. I deferred to him. Stupid manners. Why couldn’t I have been raised in New York?
Unlike Mr. Brady, this gentleman was decisive in what he wanted. I turned to make sure I wasn’t missing any of the game. There was no gap between myself and the man ordering, but somehow this Joker with a whole batch of kids managed to cut in front of me. He must have been raised in New York. I retreated.
There would be no more dashes to the concession stand. Besides Colby Howard and Blake Vanhook smashing home runs like Babe Ruth, the game got tighter than my stomach. I decided I would stop on the way back to London so I could get whatever I wanted, a whole pizza or maybe two. So do you know what is open after 10 p.m. between Prestonsburg and Hazard? Open road is all that is open. In Hazard there was only Taco Bell. What Taco Bell would have done to my stomach at this point would be tragic. So I pressed on.
Like a climber that reaches the top of Everest, I could finally rejoice when I reached Manchester and saw the golden arches. It was a 24-hour McDonalds manned by one of the friendliest workers ever. He said he had gained 20 pounds since starting to work at McDonalds. I told him he should eat salad. Not me. I roared on down the parkway throwing back cheeseburgers like Joey Chestnut in a hotdog eating contest. I gained 20 pounds on the way home and was my sweet, cheerful self again.