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Claremont, North Carolina (Don't Go There) Part 1

One can discover the genuine roots of a town by walking its streets at night.

But in the morning, the sun shines. A light breeze that doesn't smell like death blows through the parking lot of Wilma's Barbecue Restaurant. It smells like nothing. Although it's early in the morning, the lot is full. Citizens will break their fast only at Wilma's. A cartoon pig on a sign benevolently looks down at the lot. This pig is gleaming happy and does not hold the knife and fork displayed by the Cannibalistic Barbecue Sign Pigs across the Southeast. This pig was drawn just before they told him the True Meaning of a Pig's Life.

Eggs and sausage and bacon and pancakes and delicious pan fried potatoes are eaten while laughter strikes around the dining room like vitamin C lightning. Nobody vomits. Laughter encouraged by coffee, but not addicted to it.

If the owner sees the scarecrow hanging from the ceiling fan, he should start playing poker.

Citizens walk in and citizens walk out. What a beautiful day. What a beautiful restaurant. What a beautiful town. Breakfast may be over at 9, but different parts of the surprised pig are served well after the horizon digests the sun.

But the night in Claremont treats the day like a favored but mentally-handicapped child. When it's bedtime, it's off to slumber for day in the dark folds of night to slobber in a pillow and dream about raindrops on the stove.

Wilma's is closed. Interstate 40 roars like the rush of blood in the ear.

In the darkness, it's time to walk.

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