I went out to the FBO to bring the keys for the mechanic to work on the gauge. I also went on board the airplane to double-check that the brakes were released, so they wouldn't be dragged as the airplane was towed into the hangar. As I opened the door, the hinge broke. Great. I added that to the journey log. The brakes were off after all.
I waited inside the FBO for the mechanic so I could tell him he had an extra door-fixing job, too. There, I chatted with the folks at the FBO. They are friendly and probably think my accent is as funny as I think theirs are.
It's the receptionist's birthday so she has cake which she is offering to everyone so she doesn't have to bring it home. I don't quite understand how cake is a hardship, but I don't search too hard for the logic: I'm being given cake. My Cake Wrecks knowledge causes me to hope that Happy Birthday is misspelled, but it's a pretty ordinary cake. It has a photo of her with her boyfriend on it, which is odd to me unless they have the same birthday, but perhaps it was an anniversary too, or it was just a picture she really liked.
While I'm eating my cake one of the guys mentioned that he's going to go parachute jumping if the weather holds. He names an airport I haven't heard of then says it's north of Shreveport. It's in Arkansas. "Oh, across the border," i say, with recognition. He laughs, at what I've said and then I realize. "Oh yeah, I guess 'the border' would normally mean in Mexico, eh?"
He shakes his head, "No, it's exactly what someone in Texas would say. Texans think that Texas is its own country. I'm just laughing that you'd say that."
I recall then, from American TV shows featuring kidnapping and smuggling that the correct expression is "state line." In the US, countries have borders while counties and states have lines. In Canada countries and provinces have borders.
Later we go out for Texas barbeque. It's a very nondescript place, which we've been told is required for real barbeque. There's a Coca-Cola menu on the wall and specials on the chalkboard, but we don't really understand it all. I was just going to order something and see what we I got, but my co-worker is more direct.
"We're not from around here. How does this work? Is there like a meal that we can order all together?"
There is. We can get up to three meats and two sides for five dollars. There is chicken and turkey, and ribs and brisket and some other things that got lost in the list. No hamburgers or hot dogs, which are the standard barbeque items at home.
"What's brisket?" she asks me while we're talking about it. I don't know. Some kind of cow meat. Again, she is direct and asks the guys behind the counter. "What's brisket?"
The guy at the grill lifts one knee up, as if he were going to put his foot on the edge of a chair to tie his shoe. The position of the leg rounds out the shape of his butt and he slaps it with his hand. "This part of the cow."
I chose turkey, ribs and brisket with baked beans and potato salad and lemonade. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't a "wow!" experience. I expected it to be more flavourful somehow. More smokey tasting I guess. The turkey was in big strips, tasted about the same as baked Thanksgiving turkey. The ribs were probably the best, dry, not greasy, so you could flake the meat with a plastic fork. The brisket was very uniform in texture and colour. It reminded me a little of tinned corned beef, but it did taste better than that. And if you know anything about Texas you can guess that there was an amazing amount of food. I took the leftovers back to the hotel and ate some the next day, but hadn't finished it in two days when we moved on and I had to throw the rest out.