I'm not sure if any of you have heard lately, but there's this guy Brett Favre. Used to play quarterback for the Green Bay Packers. You remember him, right? Number 4? I know it's been a while, he's the dude who threw the crucial pick in overtime of the NFC Championship Game and then a couple months later retired -- wait, sorry .... "retired" ... there, had to put quotes around it ---from the game in a tearful press conference. Coming back to you now? Now I know this sounds crazy, but according to published reports, he is rethinking his decision to walk away. Favre has dismissed those reports as "rumor". Are you sure you haven't heard this? I mean, it has been mentioned on a couple of websites sporadically (and by couple I mean thousands, and by sporadically, I mean every 4 minutes).
Why do I bring up Brett Favre? Well, the second leg of my trip on Saturday took me into the great state of Mississippi. The itinerary I had carved out had me heading up Interstate 59 toward Hattiesburg. However, I took a second to scour the atlas and noticed that I could go a few minutes out of my way and take some back roads to get to Hattiesburg and go right through Kiln, MS -- hometown of BRETT FAVRE! I could put my neophyte journalistic skills to use and try and find out right from the horse's mouth if indeed Brett Favre was coming back! YEEEESSS!
So the audible was called and I took State Road 603 to Kiln (population 2,040). Upon pulling into town, I passed Mojo's Bar and ___LL ... well, I think it's actually supposed to be "GRILL". All that was on the sign was two L's. Check it out....
And then pulled into this gas station. The __T_O. More missing letters.
This gas station was right across the street from the _H___ _I_______ ___ ___H. (To be fair, you can actually make out the letters on this one. Barely.)
I'd like to say that there is an establishment in Kiln that has all of its letters on its sign, but these are the only three buildings I could find in Kiln. So driving through Kiln and trying to ascertain the name of a business was essentially like playing a giant game of hangman. Or perhaps a game of redneck "Wheel of Fortune" (or as they call it in Kiln, "hangman wit' prizes!") I mean, I know that reading will probably not fall into any Mississippian's top 1000 list of leisure time activities, but can you at least appear to make an effort and replace the letters on your signs? If you're not sure which letters are needed to fill out the word "GRILL" just call someone in any of the other 49 states. You know ... those other states that are all ahead of you in public education, Mississippi?
Anyway, I digress. Distraught that I could only find three commercial establishments in Kiln, I decided to pull into the __T_O and see where downtown Kiln was located. I went inside and the young man working behind the counter looked like a miniature version of Eric Devendorf (Syracuse guard, pictured at left), which is ironic because the actual version of Eric Devendorf will probably be the weekday cashier in that gas station sometime in 2011. Working under the assumptions that (a) Brett Favre is the only Kiln native to ever actually escape Kiln and (b) Mini-Devo actually knows his way around his hometown, I asked him how to get to the center of town. He proceeded to tell me that I was already there. Yes, the Mojo's/Citgo/car wash intersection is Kiln's "downtown", which means that there is a one in three chance that town hall meetings are actually held at a self-serve car wash (which is just as plausible as holding them in the gas station or Mojo's Bar & ___LL). I thought about asking Mini-Devo where they hold the town hall meetings in Kiln, but fearful that a discussion of local politics might cause his head to explode, I opted to just say "Ok, so this is all of Kiln pretty much, huh?" Mini-Devo, perhaps slightly embarrassed that this ol' city slicker was disappointed in how little Kiln had to offer, quickly pointed out that the curve in the road I had just come around was "where Brett Favre's dad died from that heart attack he had".
"ALL RIGHT!! Now we're getting somewhere!!", I thought. The aforementioned curve is pictured to the left, and I can only assume that in Kiln this is the equivalent of the north side of Elm Street in Dallas, sans the grassy knoll.
Trying to milk as much information as I could out of Mini-Devo's brief flirt with lucidity, I asked him if Brett Favre's ranch was in Kiln and how to get there. He said that it's not in Kiln but it's "that way", pointing at .. well, pointing at the cigarette rack behind him, but I think in his mind he was pointing due northeast. Ready to venture to #4's home, I asked Mini-Devo for directions. However, when the first fifteen seconds of his instructions did not include one discernable street name but did include two different animals ("take a left by the field of cows and then go right at the dead squirrel"), I decided that it probably wasn't worth it. Instead, I would just go ahead and find the nicest ranch I passed in Kiln, snap a picture, and tell all of you "there you go, that's Brett Favre's ranch".
So .... there you go, that's Brett Favre's ranch ....
In the end, I'm glad I made this side trip to Kiln. It's given me much greater insight into why Brett Favre might be pondering a change of heart regarding retirement, and maybe now I won't be so quick to criticize him. Because the fact of the matter is, unless you feel like washing your car, pumping gas, or playing darts at Mojo's, there ain't shit to do in Kiln. So c'mon back, Brett. I understand.