“We came to Redbud filled with hopes and dreams of a better life. And basically, we’ve seen those hopes and dreams crushed and battered before our very eyes.”
Andy Farmer, FUNNY FARM
When my husband and I first visited the tiny town we now inhabit, we fell in love. It was a riotous love - the crumbling stone walls, cozy shops and restaurants set against a backdrop plucked out of the English countryside. When we finally decided to decamp the city and put down roots here, we had those idyllic visions of lazy country days, farm fresh food and a house full of cats, dogs and toddlers. We had hopes and dreams of a better life…and for the most part they are still intact.
The thing about small towns that nobody tells you until you’ve signed a lease or mortgaged your life away, is that ratio of unhinged residents to, well, average folks is skewed in favor of those who are totally bananas. Part of the charm, I guess. We weren’t naive to think we wouldn’t experience some form of culture shock, we just didn’t expect it in the first 12 hours of unloading the moving truck.
Exhausted from a marathon day of moving furniture and as the “morning-person” of our marriage, I sauntered down in my knickers and a tee-shirt to our new kitchen where we had wisely unpacked the espresso maker and all its accoutrements. Blinking myself awake as the caffeine hit my blood stream, I noticed a flurry of activity outside our kitchen window. At first I wrote it off as one of our neighborhood feral cats and paid it no immediate attention. That is until it stood up, a peculiar older woman with a bouffant of grey hair that would’ve made the Duchess of Devonshire* jealous.
I yelled up to my husband and just signaled out the window when he arrived. A few expletives were exchanged and he, bravely, went out to address the situation. Morning Glory**, as she will be hereafter addressed, was our neighbor. In approximately two minutes time, my husband learned that she had owned a horse farm, had a bad hip that never healed properly after surgery as well as a metal plate in her head (don’t ask), favored the f-word, and she “owned” the plot of land directly behind the house we were renting. As we would come to learn later, Morning Glory was a notorious loon and didn’t have any legal right to our plot of land. It would take an entire 12-months of politicking and prayers for her hip to break before we were able officially kick her out of our view. Even though we’ve moved, her visage still haunts us today***.
All of this is to say that moving can certainly take a toll on oneself and even stress the fortitude of one’s relationship. As such, I highly recommend that the first box you unpack is the one holding all the liquor. After all, there are certain cocktails that have made it not only acceptable but absolutely warranted to drink before noon. While we didn’t have these on hand that day, if I was forced to relive it again, I’d fry up some bacon and eggs and imbibe in this Gin-soaked cousin of the Bloody Mary, the Red Snapper.
(Recipe from Food Republic)
Makes 1 Cocktail
3 ounces Gin
6 ounces tomato juice
1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
7 or more dashes of Tabasco sauce (increase for extra kick)
3 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
2 pinches celery salt
2 pinches ground black pepper
Rim the glass with the black pepper and celery salt. Shake all other ingredients over ice and strain into a tall, ice-filled glass.
*Georgiana not Deborah, the recently departed Mitford sister.
**Named so for her resemblance to the invasive weeds she’d nurture as part of her garden design philosophy.
***Literally. We moved across the street.