Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Local Flavor


This morning, on my daily walk, I saw a fawn standing still as a statue on someone's front lawn. Seconds before, two grown deer had hightailed it across the street and into the woods beyond. I wonder if they ever came back to get that baby. Its spots were still new, it was that young. It never ran, but you could see it twitching just a little. 


'Well, bless your heart' is not always kindly meant down here. Sometimes it is. Context is everything with this phrase. But if you ever cross one of these southern ladies, and they look you right in face and declare, 'Well, now, bless your heart,' with unsmiling eyes (no matter what configuration their lips may be in at the time) you can pretty much bet that what they actually mean is, 'Bitch, I will CUT you if you keep that up.' I'm a-feared of those heart-blessin' southern women. As God is my witness, Miss Scahhhhlet, I will not cross 'em on purpose. 


I was recently at the post office. As is typical of bureaucratic offices, just as the rush of customers pours in during their lunch hour, to mail a package or buy stamps, all but one postal clerk leaves for their hour break. The line lengthens, as does the wait time. You can feel tempers in the room starting to unravel at the edges, almost as much as you can feel the humidity in the Virginia summer air. 

There are still 15 people in front of me, when the postal clerk calls, 'Next!', and a tiny, elderly woman with waist-length apricot-colored hair,  wearing high heels, a leopard print skirt, a sweater (I perspire just recalling this) and a beret, click-clacks her way to the counter, and hands over two packages the size of shoe boxes. Before the clerk can so much as glance at the address on the second package, the tiny woman practically launches herself over the counter and yells, 'THAT'S GOING TO FINLAND! DON'T YOU SEND IT NOWHERE ELSE!' 

The postal clerk blinks, takes a step backward, and drawls, 'Why thank you for pointing that out.' Unspoken at the end of that statement, clearly, was the obligatory 'Well bless your heart.' The tiny lady stands down, both literally and figuratively, but continues to look daggers at the clerk until her business is completed. 

A good 20 minutes later, I'm finally at the counter. My request is fairly simple, but it takes 4 trips to the back room for the clerk to sort things out. A man in a Harley-Davidson get-up, leaning on a cane, barks, 'Y'all, my tour in 'Nam didn't take this damned long.' The room erupts into laughter and one muttered, ‘Amen.’ I turn and apologize that it's my business that is holding up the line, and the woman behind me tells the veteran to hush, and then tells me to stop fussing, because I'd already done my time standing in line and have nothing to apologize for. The clerk returns, my business concludes, and I slink out of the post office trying not to laugh hysterically as I leave. 


I drove down to the local orchard to pick blueberries last week, only to arrive as an unexpected thunderstorm let loose. As I sheltered for a few minutes inside, the woman who works there told me the blueberries were pretty much over and done. It sounds like they didn't have a great crop this year. But she said blackberries are coming out gangbusters and would be ready later this week, as would peaches. I'll wait another week (at her suggestion -- she knows which variety of peach will be better for canning, and it's not quite ready to harvest), and then I'll pick enough blackberries to make 15 jars of jam, and I'll pick up my bushel and then some of gorgeous peaches, and I'll get down to the business of canning summer fruits for winter enjoyment. With a few saved by for immediate enjoyment, of course.


  1. Love this. Clever 'menu' scheme. And, you said 'amuse bouche' - winning :)

    rissa xo

  2. Thanks! I picked up that clever Frenchy talk in NYC. Haha.

    I've even been served amuses-bouches!


Mind your manners.