I’ll have a Bojangles biscuit and a sweet tea with that COVID shot | Opinion

I recently rid my wallet of its accumulated detritus. Stretched to capacity like an angry pufferfish, the cracked leather was crying out for relief. Who still carries a wallet, you ask? A child of the ‘80s, I do. I’d carry a Trapper Keeper if I could. By my lights, accessories peaked in 1985.

One item in this decluttering exercise was removed with particular gusto: my COVID-19 vaccination card. It recalled a grim time but, as occurred to me while driving past a ubiquitous Bojangles restaurant sign on my commute to work, one not entirely without humor.

Mike Kerrigan
Mike Kerrigan

Born in 1977 in my hometown of Charlotte, Bojangles is famous throughout the South for its sweet tea, fried chicken and made-from-scratch biscuits. So famous, in fact, that as most locals know, the Queen City also has a concert venue called Bojangles Coliseum. But back to the pandemic.

Like many Americans, I received a COVID-19 vaccine some three years ago. Unlike most every other American, I did so following the intrepid example of my wife, Devin, who took one for the team and scheduled hers first. After receiving her shot, she called me at work to give me the lay of the land.

“Head to Bojangles for your vaccine,” Devin began. “Hundreds of people are gathering in the parking lot and even more once you’re inside, but you’ll move through it rather quickly. All-in, I’d say the whole thing takes just under an hour.”

“OK,” I said warily. It didn’t take Sherlock Holmes to deduce from her reportage that something didn’t add up. She’d said hundreds were queued in and around the building, which seemed a logistical impossibility. Maybe the poor bird was feeling the loopy aftereffects of her own shot.

Still, I gave my beloved the benefit of the doubt. She’d earned that over a quarter-century of marriage, plus some things, like eating chutney or listening to Toto, you just do without much forethought. “1:00 is your reservation,” Devin continued, “so you can get it done over lunch.”

Now I was really confused. The lunch part made sense, and she was characteristically thoughtful to book my session over a prandial hour. However, she’d given me a precise time for my shot, but not a precise location. That did it; I could hold my tongue no longer.

Any Bojangles?” I asked. There are, as citizens of the Carolinas know, dozens upon dozens of tasty options from which to choose. I’m glad we weren’t face-timing during this exchange. I wouldn’t have cared for the incredulous look on my wife’s fetching face as she spoke her next words to me, as if to a child.

“Bojangles Coliseum,” Devin clarified, recalling how her husband loved eating fried chicken but cared not a whit for attending concerts. “Did you really think you could do this at a drive-thru window?” Of course not. I fully expected to park, get jabbed, and walk out with a biscuit and sweet tea. It is, after all, the South.

It’s said in golf that there are no pictures on scorecards. The idea is that results matter, not how you got there. I thought of that generous sentiment and smiled as I pitched my COVID-19 vaccination card into a lock-box, forever closing a dark chapter of my life on a light note.

Mike Kerrigan is an attorney in Charlotte and a regular contributer to the Opinion pages.