Cracker Barrel is the place you most want to eat.
On one of our few nights that didn’t have any plans in place, that’s where we chose to go. Maybe it was that the weather is finally feeling “fall-ish”. Or maybe it was closer than almost anywhere else we could go. Or maybe it was because we hoped they had a fire going, just because we love them. Or maybe it was because, we, after all, are southern folks, and sometimes you just need to eat those things that remind you of your heritage.
I don’t know why Cracker Barrel is what has been appealing to DH lately, but for me, it’s something else. When I go there, in a way that doesn’t happen anywhere else, I’m transported to another time and place. We lived in Atlanta for a while--and ate at lots of the hot restaurants. I’ve been to Dixie Stampede and Medieval Times. But none of those places, despite their cost or their elaborate scenery, has been able to take me away like a meal at Cracker Barrel. At all of those other places, DH and I have still managed to talk about bills and politics and who said what or who was wearing what. We’ve counted calories and pinched pennies. But when we’re at Cracker Barrel, we don’t do those things. We talk about our dreams. We sit and linger longer than is probably acceptable. And sometimes, we even dine quietly (which if you know my husband, is unfathomable), completely at peace in the silence. Somehow, a glass of rootbeer in a frosty mug is more soul soothing than anything we might find at a hip bar. And admittedly, dining by lamplight makes everything more magical.
When I go to Cracker Barrel, I’m transported to a simpler time. A time which I haven’t known, but which I'd desperately like to see.
"Graceland" is the name of my favorite song and album. It's by Paul Simon, but more importantly, it's what "home" sounds and feels like to me. We always listened to this album as we traveled from my home in Tennessee to my parents' childhood homes in Florida. But today, it's also a pretty good snapshot of my theology. Somewhere I really believe that the Christian journey is all about a wild trip to Grace-land. As I see it, Grace-land is the place where God is waiting to meet even us–with all the baggage and brokeness that we tote with us. Grace-land is the place where we will be received with open arms, even though our attempts at “getting it right” have been miserable failures at best. But, I think, every step we take is a step on the journey to Graceland.