Okay, okay, two breakfast grilled cheeses. You caught me.
I know what I like, okay?
But sometimes I like to try new things and I did that the other day and now I would like to tell you the story.
Saturday we set out on our slow road trip to the Professor House.
Shit. I guess this story actually kind of starts in high school.
If you do not know, I went to high school in Georgia in a tiny town with one stop light, a general store, a gas station and some really amazing biscuits.
The name of the town is Social Circle and it was named after a bunch of drunk people sitting around a fire and exclaiming, “Oh wow y’all have such a social circle going on right here!”
Or that’s what I remember from the plaque on the well smack in the middle of main street explaining the legend.
It was an interesting place to grow up, especially since most of my classmates had lived there for entire generations.
So I really tried to hide my weird. But I don’t think it worked that well, because I am very weird and it takes a lot to “control” it.
I had a small core group of friends through my high school experience: Glenda & Becky.
Glenda moved to Florida right near the beginning of the pandemic and we reconnected online and I’m so thrilled we got to do this. It was like no time at all had passed since we last spoke.
Becky was the principal’s daughter and lives here in Michigan, so I hope we get a similar chance at reconnection.
I had some other acquaintances in school, but none (aside from Billy but he was pre-Social Circle)(also, I got along with teachers pretty good) that I felt comfortable being wholly myself around.
Even whatever boyfriend I had at the time, because I had learned that you absolutely COULD NOT be yourself if you wanted to have a boyfriend and having a boyfriend was the most important thing. Yoof.
So what I’m saying is I didn’t connect with a lot of people in high school.
When I moved away I didn’t keep in touch with many of them, and the ones that I did keep in touch with I had very panic-related unhealthy expectations involved and we don’t really talk anymore because of that. I was not in a healthy brain space at that time. For a long time, honestly.
But I’m working on it.
And, thanks to social media, I’ve reconnected with a few folks from High School that I know will be lifelong friends.
One of these people is named Christy and she manages a restaurant in Georgia which is on the way to visit Mickey’s family. So we made it a “must stop” every time we visit.
Before we visited her restaurant, however, Christy met Mickey and I at Universal some years ago right after we reconnected, where we met her fabulously talented wife and mother-in-law, who is always a bundle of fun.
We showed them The Wizarding World (and broke wizard law, of course… that’s still one of my favorite things to do) and spent a lot of time talking about how strange it was to grow up in Social Circle as a not straight or “normal” person.
It was really enlightening to learn about her experience coming out in small town Georgia and for me to, in turn, share my experience of being someone who gave birth while still in High School.
I guess we had the talks that real friends are supposed to have. It felt really good, so we just keep doing it whenever we’re in each other’s states.
And the food? The food has been incredible every single time we’ve eaten there.
The menu is never the same, focusing on fresh seasonal flavors and the beer list is out of control.
One time, she even had me and Tori (and Mickey’s dad) up to the restaurant to broadcast Pretty Little Pints LIVE from their Beerfest, where I learned that Mickey’s dad was way better at chugging than me.
So when we were planning our pilgrimage to the Professor House, we definitely included a stop at the 1910 Public House.
I messaged Christy to give her a heads up that we’d be swinging by and she said, “Yay! I’ll buy you a shot of Pappy to celebrate y’all’s big life change.”
And, yes, I was a little excited.
When we arrived, we sat at the bar, because that is my favorite spot even if I’m not long form drinking anymore, and Christy said these words to us:
“You don’t have to stick to the Pappy, you can have whatever you want!”
So I took that as a way to not spend as much and my eyes start scanning the row of sparkling amber bottles.
There is one – no, TWO – bottles named “Boss Hog”. I had to get that.
I mean, there was no question in my mind. It was from one of my favorite episodes of television ever. I can recite this thing backwards and forwards and quote it multiple times per week.
So, Mickey could have the Pappy. I wanted the Boss Hog.
Also, for those of you who aren’t dorks like me that fetishize certain drinks and foods and things, Pappy Van Winkle is pretty famous in the brown liquor world for being “the best” in its category.
We had tried it once before after a very fun holiday party thrown by my friend’s boss in Downtown Orlando.
It is yummy.
But you know what? Boss Hog was somehow better.
And that is when my tongue started to get worried.
See? One of the reasons I even considered something non-Pappy is because I thought, for sure, that was the most expensive bottle present and I’d be “giving them a break” on this already very generous gesture.
Then lunch happened and I forgot all about it.
Yes I ordered pot roast. It’s fucking delicious and those carrots were perfection.
When the check came, Christy said to show it to us so we can tip our server, but not to let us pay for our meal, because she was taking care of it as part of our new home celebration.
My Pig (Boss Hog) was twice as expensive as the Pappy and I FELT SO BAD.
Like, I visually and audibly reacted. But it was okay, we all had a big laugh about it.
And, now we are so looking forward to Christy and crew coming to visit us in Detroit so we can DO IT UP! I’m already making a mental list of all the cool things we get to share with them.
I was just saying this to someone earlier today, but, gosh, I wish I knew this is how friendships were supposed to be.
The next morning we woke up to meet Mickey’s sister at Georgia staple (and Jacki favorite) Waffle House for breakfast.
We hadn’t seen each other since before the pandemic and, man, y’all, kids grow so fast.
Our niece had turned from a little firecracker into a mid-sized (but still smol) firecracker and she is SO FULL OF PERSONALITY.
When she first saw us, she aggressively gave us a gift she put together for us, consisting of a piece of original art, candy and stickers. After graciously accepting this amazing gift, I awkwardly presented her with a gift of her own, a book about unicorns.
And, I’m thinkin’ she’s a real big fan of unicorns cause she was dressed head to toe in their regalia.
When we sit down to eat, 4/5 of us do not need menus. I never do at a Waffle House. Day or night, drunk or sober, child or adult, my order has never changed.
Two grilled cheeses, hashbrowns scattered, smothered and covered and a full sugar cherry coke.
Always full sugar at Waffle House, because they pump the cherry in and it’s the literal best.
I’m never embarrassed to order sandwiches for breakfast at Waffle House, because they just accept you as is there. I love it so much. In fact, right after I placed my order, our waitress told me she had a grilled cheese for breakfast that day too!
Our breakfast was fabulous, particularly because the closest Waffle House to the Professor House is over an hour away, but also partially because it is neat to hear about how Mickey’s sister’s life is slowly connecting more and more with mine.
When I first met her, we hit it off immediately and, upon returning home, I friend requested her on Facebook, where I noticed we already had one mutual friend!
That friend was Jill, from my very close knit middle school (pre-Social Circle) friend group. Jill’s was the only house I ever felt comfortable sleeping over at. All the others would result in a call to my parents to come pick me up before the night was over.
Jill went to college with Mickey’s sister and they remained friends.
BUT THAT’S NOT ALL.
So, Christy, who we visited the previous day, graduated the same year as my other friend Audrey, who used to make incredible bacon jam and Mountain Dew jelly and is now raising some amazing kids.
Audrey’s kids are all up in the theater in Social Circle, which Christy and I were talking about at lunch. WE didn’t have anything that cool when we lived there.
I mean, we performed our talent shows on shoved together cafeteria tables in the gym and our musicals with the tables and chairs pushed against the wall in the library.
An actual theater in Social Circle is a luxury.
But that’s not the point.
The point is one of Audrey’s kids was recently cast in a play that Mickey’s sister is producing.
What a small world it is.
And even weirder is the play itself is Snoopy related… “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown“.
Everything truly is connected.