College Bound Culture Shock

Parents Weekend = Culture Shock.

Where have I been? Recovering from college kid's parent's weekend, that's where. Virgin voyage for parents weekend to see #1 left me exhausted. And wicked behind in the paying work world, so blog got shelved so bills could get paid. But I'm back, and here to announce a first: this trip left me shocked.

Colon hydrotherapy for college bound.
Even for me, the period mom. The sex talk, letter writing, condom distributing, nose-ring wearing, foul mouth cussin', Miller Lite drinking, mom type you keep your kids far away from. I was shocked, almost, but not quite, speechless. Speechless is quite hard for me.

Not at the fungus growing on the open peanut butter jar by the hairballs and $770 orthodontic retainers. Not by the smell of the dorm which was, um, alive. Not by the co-ed bathrooms. But seriously? If we had co-ed bathrooms back in the days of SUNY Oswego, I wouldn't have pooped until Thanksgiving. Not a chance.

And it wasn't the college boy in a dress, not gay, just prefers skirts. Nor the colon hydrotherapy and ear candling. W.T.F. Nor the interpretive dance. Or bearded peoples and hair which was everywhere. Or vegan donuts. Or lack of bathing and apparent shortage of deodorant. Or tofu-egg scramble. Or the fact that my kid doesn't drink beer or coffee. And takes calc II as an elective. For fun.

Apparently our little vegan apple fell very far from the tree.

No, my culture shock didn't come on campus. It came on the longest highway in the universe, Interstate 80, through the center of PA, near nowhere in particular. No. Where. Where road kill is so abundant I can't for the life of me comprehend deer stands I see looming high in barren trees. What exactly are they shooting? Everything is already dead on the side of the road. EVERYTHING.

But, desperate to pee, Rather Attractive husband spots something on the horizon. Cracker Barrel. And the angels sang.
Clean, working bathroom were just the beginning.
I ask you, have you ever experienced the Cracker Barrel Country Store? Am I the last to know about this Mecca?

Almost Heaven, Western Pennsylvania

John Denver's Greatest Hits. I know EVERY WORD and not embarrassed to say so. Cracker Barrel has this country boy and a whole lot more. 

Candy Canes as big as my thigh. Prince Charming costumes, 70% off. Gold lamé smoking jackets. Nativity salt and pepper shakers.

Almost as big as my ass. Almost.
Penn State anything. Cow chess sets. Turkey baster feather boas. Authentic sugar plums. Dancing Christmas trees in bikinis. Taffy. Of course, taffy. Every holiday sweater known to QVC, except live, in person. With matching onesies for baby and Mr. Roger ensembles for dad.

I've discovered the North Pole. This is where my entire family, both sides, gets my Christmas gifts. This was like Stormville Flea Market, but no pickles. WAIT! Pickles! And relish and jams and maple syrup candies. Who buys those?

Plastic pretend dead goldfish. Like the real ones don't die fast enough. Look Mom! No flushing necessary! They're almost lifelike in their death. So frickin' weird.

Almost lifelike. But dead.
I had to be dragged out of there. They had John Denver for christsake! A sing-a-long machine where I could prove to my kids I knew all the words. Which I do, don't test me. Pop rocks and slipper socks with stickies on the bottom shaped like bear claws. Slinkys: fun for a girl and a boy!
Rather Attractive husband had had enough. He yanked me out of there so we could continue our 10,000 mile trek to freaky college town. But not before I made him try on this very handsome Prince Charming suit and promise next time we can stay for lunch. Did you know they serve food there?
Red velvet cape and crown!


  1. Luv CB!!! Had Cracker Barrel lunch last week, prior to hitting the outlet mall. Bought a few candies from our childhood - zotz - my friend and I weren't as amused as we were when we were kids with these fizzy candies.

  2. I love the Cracker Barrel store. You have to love a store that sells train whistles...lol. By the way, they have really great pies too. On another note, now I am so not looking forward to my kids going to college...ugh.

  3. Train whistles? That would have made the trip pure hell. Train whistles sold in roadside stand for desperate parents a ga-zillion miles from home. Throw this mamma from the moving van please.

  4. OMG! Absolutely hysterical. Love Cracker Barrel. Used to live near SUNY Oswego and now live in Pennsylvania. I am very familar with I-80, deer stands and road kill!

  5. hey litlbear - always love an upstater! I know you know what I'm talking about! thx for comment!

  6. A great place for stocking stuffers...

  7. I should have known you were a John Denver fan. If you ever want to have a sing-a long call me, and yeah, CB rocks.

  8. That store is family fun for all ages! Yes, "mecca" is the word!

    Paula McKinney

  9. It's the ONLY place in the whole world where I can still buy my dad those licorice black pipes and mayjanes (the candies). Love it, but don't care for the "down home" cookin' too much gravy, ugh.

  10. scanman: HEARD all about that gravy! friend says his heart stent came with Cracker Barrel logo!