November 18, 2006

Hi from Fairhope, Alabama

I’m with the Fairhope Posse (my beloved group of insane Southerny writers I have a huge collective crush on) at a lit-fest thing called Southern Writer’s Reading, I’m staying out at Joe Formichella and Suzanne Hudson’s place on the river. (I should put a FAIRHOPE POSSE link category in my links sections so you can easily find my hosts’ books and Tommy Franklin books and Beth Ann Fennelly books and Sonny Brewer books and Frank Turner Hollon books. I RESOLVE TO DO SO!)

It’s called Waterhole Branch. They have 7 acres and a fat yard dog who LEEEEEEEEEANS against your legs when you pet him and art on every wall and Fosters in the fridge. I don’t think they realize this yet, but I am not leaving. Ever. They let every cat who wants to stay have a bowl and a bed, and I feel like I prolly can too.

Karen Abbott and I drove down yesterday and managed to make a 5 hour drive last 8 through sheer small-animal-scurry-brain distractedness. We’d pull off to get gas, notice a bookstore and go to sign my store stock, notice a MOE’S and go see if they had Pellagrino (they did) notice a World Market and ague about whether it was a GROCERY store or a FURNITURE store, and go see, and it is actually some sort of WEIRD crafty looking place that has a few groceries AND a few furnitures. Win-Win.

Then we’d get back in the car and get on the highway and realize we hadn’t gotten gas. Luckily, the MONSTROUS Pellagrino meant we had to stop soon to pee, and while we FORGOT to pee, we did get GAS…on and on like that.

We had no breakfast before we left, and while on the road we ate:

½ a Bagel (tasted like a monkey. An OLD monkey. And old angry SALTY bad stale monkey who may have been dead a while. I don’t we even finished our halves.)
½ a small bag of Smartpop
A Sample Cube of gingerbread at a coffee place where we forgot to get coffee (but we DID pee)

By the time we got to Fairhope, LATE, I was so hungry and sick of the car I was ready to torch it and walk just to be doing something different. We parked by the Honey Baked Ham Café. We went in and they had a sandwich menu, but we eschewed it and asked if we could just get big hunks of HAM to chew at like carnivorous wildebeests.

We bought a mini ham platter and DRAGGED it outside as I think we were unwilling to do the kind eating we were about to do in PUBLIC. We went stumping across the road like a pair of ham-cannibal quasimodos and holed up in the car. We ripped into the packaging and fell to, snapping at the ham and gulping at it and maybe there was even a modicum of slavering, and AS GOD IS MY WITNESS, when I turned on the car to get the heater going while we ate our half pound of meat with a side of more meat, that old MC Hammer song was on the radio…

Can’t touch this!
I go around the world
From London to L.A.
It’s Hammer go Hammer, blah blah Hammer la Hammer
And the rest can blah blah something
Can’t touch this!

And then Karen looked up with half a chewed pig in her mouth and sang “HAM TIME!”

I almost choked to death.

I made Cherry Smashes (MAKER’S MARK FTW!) and Joe had all the things I had forgotten to get but needed to make them and he said

And I said. YOU, JOE! YOU!
And he said, No. Lie. Frank Turner Hollon is your daddy.

Dude, he is right.

The only bad thing: Stinkin’ Frank has ripped his spine open in some terrible way and he is all GLOSSY with barbiturates and can’t stay up late. Or move. Or be upright. Other than that, this weekend is just about perfect.

Posted by joshilyn at November 18, 2006 10:35 AM

Ripped his SPINE open? Gah! A little notice please... He'll be okay, though?

Indulge me- this is for Aimee... "Tore her face open on a lube rack? If MY mom tore her face open on a lube rack I SURE as hell wouldn't be TALKING about it!!"

Posted by: Laura at November 18, 2006 10:55 AM

I know only two people who could make stuck in a car for 8 hours interesting. And you have just proved it again.

Now I could have told you what World's Market is (for those of you who make Kahlua - World's Market has the best, nicest, pliable Vanilla Bean and those placemats you've been looking for - Crackers for Christmas - and crystal.)

But what is a Cherry Smash? :)

Posted by: Cele at November 18, 2006 11:05 AM

OK, now THAT story made me spit coffee through my nose.

Didn't Frank Turner Hollon write THE GOD FILE? Joss, did you really get to MEET the man?

That was an incredible book. I mean, I-N-C-R-E-D-I-B-L-E.


Posted by: Martha O'Connor at November 18, 2006 12:57 PM

Isn't it unfortunate that someone has to rip their spine open in order to be glossy with barbituates? And what happened to the poor guy?

Sounds like a delightful weekend. I'm about to have like 50 or 60 people come to my house to sign and play instruments and drink beer. So I have to vacuum. So they can all track in dirt and leaves and then I can vacuum again tomorrow. While I'm hungover.

Posted by: Edgy Mama at November 18, 2006 2:28 PM

I love World Market. With an insane passion unrivalled by most chain-type stores (except maybe Target). Where else can you get a case of equally delicious global microbrews and adorable little glasses with bees on them? And super-yummy European chocolate and cute stationery? ALL IN THE SAME STORE? Nowhere else. World Market rules.

Posted by: JenA at November 18, 2006 6:23 PM

I just bet, there's alot of laughing til you pee your pants going on down there.
Life ain't fair!

Posted by: Desi at November 18, 2006 10:48 PM

What the heck is a Cherry Smasher?

Posted by: Heather Cook at November 18, 2006 11:18 PM

Hee! Thanks Laura. And oh my lord, I definitely sprained something laughing at "Ham Time!"

Posted by: Aimee at November 19, 2006 10:57 AM

I think I need to move to the South. Y'all have too much fun down there! If you could just get rid of the humidity. And the heat. And those damn lovebugs that smash all over your car with super adhesive glue and never come off. And the humidity. And the hurricanes. Did I mention the humidity? Yeah. Hmmmm. Maybe not. Maybe I'll just come visit once in awhile. When it's not hot. Or humid. After hurricane season. And I'll just rent a car because who cares about the paint job on a rental anyway, right?! *grin*

Is it bad that I don't know who any of those people are and I STILL want to come and hang out with y'all? My life is so sad....

Posted by: Sheri at November 19, 2006 2:42 PM

Wow. Hmmm. And all I did was go to EM's house and sing and drink beer and track in leaves.

Wait? Why did I come home?

Posted by: Autumn at November 19, 2006 5:24 PM

Ham Time!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh my gosh that made me laugh. Perfect way to start a Monday morning!

Posted by: Keetha at November 20, 2006 10:17 AM

there's something about that part of Alabama/Florida. Jimmy Buffet wrote about it in a way that makes me wish I grew up there.

I will be spending Thanksgiving on Perdido Key, so close, so close.

World Market rocks, but I wish I had a Whole Foods too.

Posted by: Bob at November 20, 2006 10:49 AM

Cherry Smash, with due regards to Douglas Adams:

The Cherry Smash: A singularly remarkable drink which has the same effect as soaking a small dense brick in cherry juice for about an hour, afterwhich it is used to pound your brain flat on a pastry board. It would normally hurt like heck, but your so distracted by the "what is that peculiar after taste" that you generally overlook the pain and have several, in rapid succession.

Posted by: Mr. Husband at November 20, 2006 2:27 PM

don't forget to tell everyone about the shoeburning this saturday. even if you're going to stiff us -- that's right, he said stiff -- doesn't mean some of your minions won't make the trek. trust me children,
someone's daddy...

Posted by: Joe at November 21, 2006 7:55 PM