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Victory Lap: Humor: where your small-town heart is

Melancholy mornings call for gloomy tunes, in my opinion, so I jammed Joy Division along the foggy aurora ride out to Amesville, Ohio.

In search of some palatable pedal petrol, I dodged doggy deposits left and right while riding the stone roads that carried me safely to Kasler’s Country Kitchen — home of the “Jack Sub,” equipped with ground beef, salami, ham, banana peppers and cheese.

However, I can’t blame only the weather and Ian Curtis for my less than ecstatic mood at the outset of my journey; some credit is due to late nights Uptown the previous Friday and Saturday.

At this point, I’ve earned my Court Street stripes, I really should have known better, don’t ya think?

This ride, I wanted to get a feel for the small town — a real one, not the one depicted by the middle-aged “students” who attended West Canaan High School in “Varsity Blues.”

The type of place where the streets are named after people everyone knows, a place where people can live without cell phone service and bi-hourly trysts with Facebook (blushes, I’m guilty too).

Immediately after we walked into Kasler’s, Mary, who was knitting and enjoying a cup of coffee, greeted us. I assume she was somewhat surprised by our presence — probably doesn’t see too many cyclists infiltrate her hometown haunt.

I got the feeling she was Kasler’s resident matriarch, so I decided to sit with her.

Mary looked so at home in what later she would later call “my seat” that I immediately knew she was a born and bred Ames-villain. It was perfect, but then again, my biking brother Brad and I were probably the only two outsiders in the restaurant.

People, often students, talk as if any place outside the city of Athens is a deliverance-esque wasteland not fit for their haughty sensibilities; Mary would beg to differ.

She is content with her life in Amesville, which boasts about its 184 residents (more before the floods of ‘97 and ‘98, plaques outside Kasler’s mark the water levels).

Mary’s entire life has been spent within Athens County; she has left only once in more than 80 years. In fact, above the door inside Kasler’s, you can find a picture of her as a young tike back in the 1930s.

When I asked her what is the best part about spending her entire life in a small town, Mary simply replied, “That it is home.”

To me, the best thing small towns offer is their unparalleled sense of humor. There seems to be a quick-witted funny bone in most small-town residents.

When I asked our server when Kasler’s was first opened, she slyly replied, “Honey, do I look that old?”

Later, while we were eating, I overheard a woman telling the end of a joke exclaiming, “I carry a gun ‘cause I can’t carry a cop.” Now that’s funny no matter where you’re from.

On the ride home, the sun penetrated the sky and beat us toward Athens as well as cooked the stench from cow crap.

But, luckily for me, I love the smell of manure in the morning. Smells like ... victory (tips hat to Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore).

Thank God your prayers were answered and the sun came out.

In fact, you can call me Monsignor Lobster-Arms for the rest of the week.

Brian Bors is a senior studying social work and a columnist for The Post. Sunscreen donations? Email him at

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