Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Independence Lunch

I had this plan today that, rather than sitting in my apartment reading, playing video games, and watching the “Twilight Zone” marathon on the Sci Fi Channel I was going to get out of the house for a little while. Every morning on my way to work I drive past this trail called the Greenway, and I see all these signs for it as it winds along the river, so I thought I’d go out, walk along the Greenway with my camera, and then go to lunch somewhere. I got my book, camera, and phone and got on the road.

Unfortunately I was unable to figure out where to park to get on the Greenway.

I looked online, and it said to park at Volunteer Landing. I’ve seen the sign for that, so I figured I could just drive down and be fine. Approaching, I saw a nice big sign that said parking was on the next left, so I took the left, but saw nothing that resembled parking. Determined not to give up, I circled back around and tried again, but still couldn’t find parking at the next left, so instead I got off at the sign for Volunteer Landing itself, but all the parking there was labeled for one of the restaurants.

Frustrated after almost an hour in the car trying to find a parking lot that needs better signage, I decided to just go downtown to Market Square and get lunch instead. Last time I was on Market Square, for the Dogwood Festival of the Arts, I didn’t notice the Women’s Suffrage Memorial, but there seems to be one now:

suffrage memorial

I guess seeing it and taking a picture fulfills my duty to celebrate Independence Day.

One of the things I like about Market Square is the wall of graffiti at one end. There is a block of boarded up buildings, and local artists started painting and drawing on the wood over the windows. When I first moved here, there was a lot of it, and it was very pretty to walk along and look at, like an outdoor gallery.

sharpee church

sad boy

When I went past there a few months ago, though, all of that was painted over in flat black. I guess the flat black didn’t last very long, because when I went up today it was painted over in dark crimson, and the local artists were doing their best to protest:

I quit! handprints

angry bunny

mailbox collage

While I really like the mailboxes one, this sad little vampire boy was my favorite:

vampire boy

It was painted by the same person who did the sad mandolin boy up above that I really liked. I kind of wish I knew how to find that person and that they painted on a smaller, more portable medium other than plywood, because I would actually buy a piece of that.

After I looked at the protest art and was asked for change I went to the Market Square Soup Kitchen for lunch. Last time I went there Nancy and I forgot to leave a tip on our table when we were done, and were both mortified, but no one seemed to remember that when I came in today. Settling in with my book, I ordered my favorite Southern classic sandwich, the Fried Bologna:

fried bologna sandwich

You might be thinking that it’s just a grilled cheese with bologna on it, but it’s completely different. The bologna is fried alone, and then put on untoasted bread with the mayo (and, of course, it’s real mayo; this is the South, after all) and cheese, and the hot bologna mixing with the cold mayonnaise is wonderful. If you’re not grossed out and want to try it at home, get your bologna cut thick at the deli, or else it will curl and wrinkle and be hard to evenly fry.

For dessert I had the coconut cake, which was decorated special for the holiday:

independent coconut cake

When I was done there was one little star stuck to the tines of my fork, and I was going to take a picture, but figured no one would believe I didn’t stage it.

On the way back to the parking garage I saw a really cool antique awning, but couldn’t get a really good picture of it without standing in the street. I tried anyway, but cars kept coming, so this is the best I could do:


All in all, it was a nice couple of hours downtown.

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