This is my little piece of Virginia in Chicago. It’s a dark smoky bar with a house band that plays kinda kitschy cover songs, including Lynyrd Skynyrd. It reminds me of home–not that I’m a Skynyrd fan. There’s not a lot to do in Virginia. I’m originally from a coal mining community that’s pretty economically depressed, so lots of people have nothing better to do than to take peanut butter and set it on the tin roof of their house in the holler–that’s the hollow if you’re not from southwest Virginia. Anyway, you set the peanut butter on the roof and let the sun heat it up a while so the oil rises to the top, and then you take a syringe and you shoot it in your arm. I have not personally done this but I have witnessed it. Essentially you’re giving yourself a minicoronary, as I understand it, and it gives people kind of a rush, I guess. I don’t know. What kind of person says, “Hey, let’s drink some beers and shoot some peanut butter oil in our arms?” It’s like a dumb award waiting to happen or the redneck friend’s famous last words, “Shoot, I kin do that.” (I can say that ’cause I’m from hillbilly territory.) I haven’t seen anything quite like that here, thank God.

–Melissa Stallard, Photographer