Ken Jennings has a lot going for him. He’s the highest-winning game show contestant in history, for one. Added to that is the fact that he has the longest Jeopardy! winning streak ever and has guest-hosted the show. In fact, many think he should take over hosting full-time in the upcoming season. On top of that, Jennings is an all-around trivia genius and prolific author. He’s also pretty funny. His Twitter feed is full of rib-tickling anecdotes and one-liners. However, Jennings isn’t a southerner. Bless his heart.
In fact, in a recent tweet, Ken Jennings shows just how lacking his knowledge of the South really is. In that tweet, he referenced Stuckey’s. At one time, the teal-roofed gas stations were a southern institution. You could pull into one of their many locations and get everything you needed and a few things you didn’t. For instance, Stuckey’s carried things like pecan candies, blankets, local souvenirs, and toys to entertain the kiddos.
Today, you can find many of the same things in these long-running stores. However, the hard part is finding a Stuckey’s that is still in operation. Right now, there are only about 70 of them across the nation. So, Ken Jennings’ latest joke misses the mark a little bit. On the other hand, if he could go back in time a couple of decades, this joke would have killed. Nobody lands every joke every time, though. Ken is still funnier than most folks on the platform.
Today, Ken Jennings’ latest joke only lands for those of us in the know about the greatness that was once Stuckey’s.
So, What in the “You Ain’t From ‘Round Here Are You?” Is Ken Jennings Talking About?
Ken Jennings is referencing a nearly-defunct travel stop chain called Stuckey’s. Outside of its pecan confections and kitschy souvenirs, the chain was best known for its locations’ unique look. Their stores used to have high-pitched rooves that were painted a striking teal color. This helped them stand out on the road. If you saw that teal roof, you knew you were in for a treat.
Ken Jennings may be a little behind the times when it comes to roadside stores. However, it seems like he knows his stuff when it comes to downhome divination. Since the early days of the United States, folks have looked to several things to tell the future or gain some insight into what’s going on in the world. Reading tea leaves (but probably not teal eaves) is among one of the most popular forms of doing this. In Appalachia, we call it granny magic.
On the other hand, maybe Ken Jennings read the tea leaves for the future of Stuckey’s. The new CEO of the company, who is the granddaughter of the company’s founder, is working to bring the chain back from the brink of death. She is looking to expand the chain using modern methods. At the same time, she wants to return Stuckey’s to its original aesthetic, according to an interview with Thumbwind.