I’m gobsmacked as we roll into Mexia, Texas on US Hwy 84. We’re not a block from Jim’s Krispy Fried Chicken when I spot Anna Nicole Smith walking down the side of the road. A cloud of cotton candy hair is floating above her brown shoulders, she’s wearing denim short shorts and a gingham blouse as she strides easily through the warm, spring air like a young Jayne Mansfield.
“Could it be that the whole death of Anna Nicole was just a charade so she could give up the bright lights and big city lifestyle and get back to her roots as a simple country girl who liked to sling fried chicken and swim in the nearby Brazos River”?
As we pass Anna Nicoles’ doppelganger we muse out loud over such prospects.
Anna Nicole’s untimely passing is one of the great American tragedies.
As a country boy growing up in rural Kentucky reading my sister’s Cosmopolitans and their Guess Jeans ads, I watched as Smith skyrocketed to the upper echelons of celebrity.
Once in a generation a model becomes larger than life and breathes the rarefied air accorded the few who transcend pop culture
Such was Anna Nicole Smith.
Walking into the small-ish room that holds Jim’s Krispy Fried Chicken, I carefully appraise each waitress, all of whom are sitting at tables furiously folding to go boxes as they lock and load for the evening service.
They’re a cute little pack of country gals but there does not appear to be a future Anna Nicole in the lot. I wonder how many talent scouts have visited this honey hole since the mid 80s when she ruled the roost.
Giant piles of fried chicken arc toward the ceiling and the air is thick with the succulent smell of frying fowl. I pull out my camera to see if taking a picture of the hallowed grounds is permissible but am quickly dissuaded. “The owner don’t allow that”, I’m archly informed by a manager lady.
I imagine tourists the world over have heard the same speech.
I’m completely stuffed with barbecue from Shep’s over in Palestine but I’m not sure when the next time I’ll be in Mexia will be so I get a three piece combo [under four dollars] and make my way to the parking lot.
Standing under a clarion Texas sky gnawing on a good fried chicken leg I take note of the humble surroundings.
I imagine Anna Nicole [ Nikki Hart back then] getting off work and racing out the front door for an evening of shenanigans in Mexia or the nearby big city of Waco.
It’s not hard to picture the sweet young thing squealing tires out of the parking lot with The Cult blasting out of the speakers of a Trans Am with the whole world in front of her.
312 E Milam St
The fried chicken was fine, reminiscent of HEB or any other national deli grocer chicken. But if you’re near Mexia it’s worth a visit.