How to Repel Flies (Maybe)

Mother and I were cruising around Jackson scoping out yard sales and looking for something for me to shoot. Out on 34 west of town, we saw a sign on a small BBQ stand that said Fresh Strawberry Pie. We pulled in to sample it  The joint doesn’t have a name out front, but Google Maps show it as Cook’s Bar-B-Q & Catering at 1931 West Jackson Blvd.

Right next to the order window was a note that said not to compare them with the guys at the north end of town. That would be Wib’s, a Steinhoff favorite for five generations. They implied that Cook’s actually puts meat on their sandwiches and that they are cheaper. Well, a challenge like that has to be checked out.

On the plus side, the sandwiches DID have a fair amount of meat on them and they were cheaper than Wib’s. On the con side, at least for me, the pork was shredded, not sliced, and it was “wet.” It had more the taste and feel of a Sloppy Joe than what I would call a good barbecue sandwich. The sauce was nowhere as good as Wib’s and the meat wasn’t as tasty as Hamburger Express in Cape. Barbecue is a highly personal choice, so some folks may prefer it.

The strawberry pie, on the other hand was excellent. Good crust and made with fresh strawberries.

Why are those bags of water hanging there?

But, that’s not the reason I’m writing this. When we looked up, we saw a Ziploc plastic bag, obviously freshly filled with water hanging over our heads. Inside the bag were several pennies. The bags were tacked to the overhang with heavy upholstery tacks. When our server slid open the screen-covered window to hand us our order, I said, “I bet I’m not the first person to ask this, but what’s with the plastic bags of water?”

Not wanting to engage in a lengthy conversation, she said, “It’s for the flies,” closing the window before I could observe, “Must be working, then. ‘Cause there’s plenty of them.”

While we were sitting at the outdoor table eating our pie and shooing off the occasional fly, a fellow walked by who elaborated on the bags. “They’re supposed to keep the flies away. It’s got something to do with the way the fly’s eyes work.”

When I mentioned that there still seemed to be a lot of the winged creatures flying around, he said that he had just put the bags up. The one over our heads was the first one to go up, he explained, and he said he could already see an improvement on our end of the seating area. I was going to take his word for it.

Mother was intrigued by the idea

Mother kept coming up with all of the places she could put up the bags and wondering if shiny pennies would work better than run-of-the-mill pocket pennies. Should you put them over the door to keep the flies out or do you put them on the inside to run them away? If you did both, would the ones entering and the ones exiting have head-on collisions, killing them all? Weighing all of the possibilities kept her occupied the rest of the afternoon.

I did a quick Google search and found that one of my favorite debunking sites, Snopes, had addressed this issue and found it —WHAT?!?!?—“Undetermined. ” You’ll have to read their conclusions for yourself. It’ll be good practice for you to know how to find them to check out your own hoax questions.

I should have shot them the first time

Anyway, after kicking myself for not taking a picture of the magic bags, Mother and I saddled up the pony and drove back over to Jackson. After standing around for several minutes waiting for someone to open the magic screened serving window so I could tell them what I was doing, I got tired of waiting, shot my photos and left. I didn’t REALLY need another piece of that strawberry pie. I DID ask another customer if she had heard of the concept and she said, “My mother has them hanging in her garage.”

We ended up at Mario’s Pasta House where our lasagna was good as always, served promptly by friendly and attentive wait staff. (I started to type “weight staff,” thinking, obviously, of the size of the portions.)

Catfish Kitchen in Draffenville

On my final leg back to Cape, I was starting to get hungry. I knew I’d get home later than Wife Lila and Mother would want to wait (not even taking into consideration that I’d pick up a tired bike tourist), so I started thinking about what I wanted. Since I was on I-24 in the vicinity of Paducah, I pulled up the GPS waypoint for the Catfish Kitchen, which is near Draffenville, which is near Benton, Ky, which isn’t near much of anything.

The actual address is 136 Teal Run, about a mile south of Draffenville, Ky., off US 641. Just follow the cars. They’re open Wednesday through Saturday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., and on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Google the restaurant and there are plenty of maps showing you the location.

Be prepared to wait

Since the folks had a trailer on Kentucky lake not far away, I’ve eaten a lot of catfish, frog legs, white beans and hushpuppies there. The only catfish around Cape that comes close to it is at Sandy’s Place at the airport on Friday night.

Because it is popular, long waits are common. That’s not such a bad thing, though. Behind the restaurant is a small lake full of fish, turtles and waterfowl. Kids and adults alike love to toss bread and hushpuppies into the water and see the size of the fish that snatch them up.

Ducks, turtles, fish and bugs

I found photos going back to 2002 without much searching. These ducks were floating around in October of that year.

Comfortable waiting room

If the weather’s not conducive to hanging around the lake or wandering outside looking at antique farm equipment, there’s a comfortable waiting room. There are plenty of toys and games to keep the kids from getting too squirmy. If they get too much out of hand, you can always feed them to the bear.

Meet Uncle Ezra

The service is fast and the servers are great about checking to see if you want refills of the unlimited white beans, hushpuppies, slaw and drinks. Mother and I took Wife Lila’s brother, John Perry over there once. They must have had to harvest another field of beans to handle his requests for refills. (I made sure to take him a half-pint of them when I left the other night.)

The inside of the restaurant is decorated with a whimsy. There’s plenty to look at while you’re waiting. The first time I saw Uncle Ezra, I thought he was real.

Antique farm machinery

You can wander around scoping out the antique farm machinery dotting the road. They have a PA system loud enough to hear your party being called, so don’t worry about losing your place in line.

Photo gallery of Catfish Kitchen

Here’s a collection of photos I’ve taken of the Catfish Kitchen over the years. Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the left or right side to move through the gallery.

Last Wimpy’s Bites the Dust

Generations of Cape Girardeans came of age at Wimpy’s. For most of us it was the grocery store / hamburger joint at the corner of Cape Rock and Kingshighway shown here in this 1966 time exposure. You can see more Wimpy’s photos over the ages and read some interesting comments at my Feb. 8, 2010, posting.

The first Wimpy’s opened in 1942 on the west side of North Kingshighway, near the entrance to Arena Park. Fred and Ethel Lewis ran the establishment while their sons, Freeman and Frank were in the service in World War II.

The youngest brother, Billie (Bill) joined the family business when it moved to the Cape Rock location in 1947. It was a teenage hangout until 1972, when the property was sold to a bank in 1973.

Wimpy’s Skyway Restaurant opened at the Cape Airport in 1960, expanded from 12 to 25 seats in 1961, then closed in 1967.

Moved to 506 S. Kingshighway

Bill opened a new Wimpy’s at 506 S. Kingshighway after the Cape Rock location closed. He catered to the breakfast and lunch crowd.

In the late 90s, Gary and Diane Garner, shown above, had a car lot on Morgan Oak. They heard rumors that a new bridge was going to be built. “OK, we’re done,” he said they thought.

They happened to hear that the woman who owned the Wimpy’s building wanted to sell it after the restaurant closed in 1997, so they moved Gary’s Car and Truck Sales there. I shot this photo Oct. 26, 2009, and didn’t think about running it until Ray Boren (Class of 55) posted a photo and note to a Central newsletter showing that the building had been torn down.

I searched through The Missourian for a story, but couldn’t find anything that would tell what the land will be used for.

All we have left are memories

With the razing of the last Wimpy’s, looks like all we have left will be memories of seven-cent hamburgers, cherry Cokes and endless loops between Wimpy’s and Pfisters.

Lewis Brothers’ obituaries