As a matter of fact, while the rest of the fam went to the Tennessee aquarium to gawk over other peoples shoulders at the sea life they could have otherwise seen just down the street from our house in Oregon, I excused myself (claiming to feel seasick), and struck out instead into the unseen, undiscovered heart of Chattanooga. Ambling ever so happily under the rusty October sun, I passed by pre-Civil War churches, houses with blue and red shutters, over train tracks that spilled off the looming slopes of Lookout Mountain like frozen streams. I saluted everyone I passed, listening for accents, weighing the nuances that made one person Tennessee and another Georgia.
By the time the family stumbled blinky-eyed out of the stuffy aquarium, I had found a wonderful restaurant called Sticky Fingers, offering barbecued chicken and ribs, cornbread and greens and beans, and hand tossed biscuits which the employees actually threw at the diners from the balcony above the main floor.
Now does that beat sand crabs and squid, or what? Honestly, what is better--a live shrimp drifting through the murky green water behind three inches of glass, or one that's sitting on your plate next to a little amber pool of Carolina honey sauce?
You tell me.