After I got old enough to drive in Mississippi, where I grew up, one of the places we liked to go was across the river to Delta, Louisiana, where the land looks even flatter than ours and you could get 64 ounces of frozen daiquiri handed to you, in your car, through a drive-thru window. For us it was over the river, into the alcohol.
The place in the clip below is fancier than the one we went to – I think that’s because it’s in New Orleans – but you’ll get the point.
Today, that same dispenser of sin has developed into having a good-sized building and a sit-down menu. But back in the day, selling drive-thru daiquiris was exactly half the business. They didn’t advertise the other half so much. You never heard about it on the radio. You could spend your life wheeling through and never know about it.But one day, for reasons lost to the mists of swamp juice (actual name of a drink there), we parked and went inside, where we found a thriving shop for live bait: crickets, minnows, night crawlers, whatever you needed. It smelled like a bait shop, the exact mix of fuel oil and dirt, and it sounded like one, with the tanks bubbling and the crickets singing. It was staffed by two people, both older women, the same two who served the drinks. Which meant that all along, the hand passing over a cup the size of a popcorn bucket was the same hand dishing out worms. It was the same hand.
In a way, that’s just so wonderful, people making a living in a manner that made sense for their own time and hometown. In another way, now that we’re all thinking about Mitt Romney selling sweet campaign promises and also bait for conservative white voters to hit and liberals to get mad about, I keep remembering our old daiquiri hut and the day we figured out it was the same hand.