FOR THE LOVE OF WHATEVER YOU HOLD SACRED, DO NOT END UP IN CLEVELAND, TENNESSEE.

I ended up there as a result of needing gas on a return trip from a family vacation. It is right off of I-75, so watch out.

Sunday, noon. The place resembles a small suburb, except that right now it's a ghost town and I feel like I'm in Salem's Lot. Everything is closed, and there are no cars, not on the road, not in front of houses, not anywhere.

The gas station is closed. The sign reads: "We are worshipping Our Lord. You should be too." Fear strikes the hearts of my family and I, four people well used to fanatics and running like mad from them. We decide, as a family, to run like mad.

But we run into a problem. Attempting to get back to 75, we drive down a street and stop, lost for words. It is a still-life traffic jam reminiscent of The Stand. Every car in town, several hundred at least, is parked in and around the Church--I mean, right in the middle of the streets and everything; the assumption, I guess, being that "Nobody needs to travel while there's church going on!" We get out of our car, looking for an open path back to the freeway.

My mom, dad, brother and I all saw The Sign at once. It's a big freeway billboard, on the side of the freeway like most of them, except this one faces the town and not the passing cars. It says approximately this:

JOHNSTON'S HOLISTIC APPLIANCE REPAIR
Let Our Faith Heal Your Fridge!

We stood in amazed terror a moment more, staring helplessly in the bright sun at the stylized washing-machine with a halo on it, before screaming out of town at over eighty miles per hour. To this day, any one in my family or close circle of friends will cringe visibly if you mention Cleveland, Tennessee.



That's right, FUQ that place.

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