Sunday, January 17, 2016

In Memoriam of a West Virginian Pizza Hut

Danville, Kentucky -- Folks, it pains me to say that a place near and dear to my heart -- a Pizza Hut near my Aunt Jodie-May's cabin in Marmet, West Virginia -- has gone the way of the Southern Democrat, or Ben Carson's scholarship to West Point. While that legendary pizzeria's ovens may never heat cheesy-bread again, an eternal flame of love for this fine establishment -- hotter than any WingStreet product -- burns in my heart like a buffalo-sauce induced ulcer. As I rolled into Marmet eager for some fresh pizza pie, I spent the better part of an afternoon crying in the parking lot when I discovered this wonderful restaurant had closed; the once proud exterior now shuttered and abandoned.

Why is this beloved institution of Marmet going out of business? West Virginia is where Obama's War on Coal and Obama's War on Fair Trade intersect. Some would say this Pizza Hut was getting gouged by the recent emergence of competitors like Little Caesars and CiCi's. But I place the blame squarely on Washington's shoulders. With Obama's TPP set to kick-in in the coming months, resulting in the dumping of cheap products from backwater communist hell-holes like Vietnam and Japan, investment capital is flying out of Marmet faster than frat-boys are running out of Chipotle restaurants across our great nation.

Located in rural Appalachia, in the shadows of great imposing mountains which will soon be stripped via mountaintop removal coal mining, lay one of the finest pizza joints I will ever know. Every day for 40 years, my Uncle Cletus descended into the pitch black depths of the West Virginia coal mines. He took nothing down there with him but a flashlight, a pick-axe, and a burning desire to emerge to the surface once more so that he could head to that Pizza Hut and order a P'Zone®.

All Hail the P'Zone®
While Uncle Cletus toiled away in the mines, my Aunt Jodie-May would nervously wait for him, loyally sitting in her favorite rocking chair. As she sat on her front porch, biting her nails and inhaling NO2 gas which would waft down from the mountains in dirty orange plumes, the promise of breadsticks and the salad bar gave her the strength to persevere through the day.

Some of my sweetest memories happened at this Pizza Hut. My Aunt and Uncle's 15th anniversary dinner in '93. In 1995, I met my future third wife while in line for the lunch buffet. Folks, this was a great 'Za Hut. Their kind employees were willing to turn a blind eye when I brought flasks full of Jameson into their fine establishment, to help wash down the thousands of calories of cheesy-bread I would eat in the span of about 10 minutes.

A typical trip to the Pizza Hut buffet.
The dessert pizza remains an unparalleled triumph of culinary excellence.

Pizza Hut taught my family about the value of hard work. The BOOK IT! program gives bright young American kids everywhere free 'za in exchange for these children meeting a monthly reading goal. It was a win-win: I got to introduce my children to Rand's Atlas Shrugged and The Conscience of a Conservative by Barry Goldwater, and my kids got to introduce themselves to the fantastic Tuscani Creamy Chicken Alfredo in massive heaping quantities. 

Marmet's Pizza Hut, and the blue-collar family values it represents, are yet another casualty of self-destructive free trade policies. America has not yet learned the lessons of NAFTA, SKFTA, CFTA, and PFTA. For the sake of my Aunt Jodie May and the good people of coal country, we need to.