I had the opportunity to take a break from moving Mother and Big Daddy recently, when an old friend from England came to Nashville for a visit with her fourteen year old son in March. He had never been to the South before, and the last time she was here it was for my wedding in 1987, where she tried to make a big impression with my other English girlfriends by singing the Internationale and wearing vintage clothes from Portobello Road.
That sort of behaviour scores so low on the Southern spectrum of eccentricity, however, that I am afraid that their presence was hardly even recognised. For a start, there really was not a single person in this part of the United States during the Cold War who had ever heard the Internationale. My aunt told everybody that it was the theme tune from our sorority back at the London School of Economics. Which, come to think of it, wasn’t actually very far from the truth…
Anywho, the point I am trying to make is that I spent alot of time thinking about how to fit in a big Southern cultural experience into a long weekend. And it occured to me that of course I needed to take them fishing with the Hillbilly Deluxe Striper Fishing Tours on Lake Cumberland, in Kentucky. On the first day, that is. And I thought that it wouldn’t be a problem to recruit friends to join us on such an awesome adventure. After all, we all know how scenic and cultural that drive from Nashville to Kentucky can be!
But I want you to know, it really wasn’t that straightforward at all. All my snotty liberal Democrat friends just made up dumb excuses: ‘Sorry Harriet, but I am committed to seeing that new Iranian film at the local independent film theatre and then we are going to eat sushi’; ‘Oh I would love to, but there is a fundraiser this weekend for Somalian child soldiers at that new art gallery with a silent auction and Emmylou Harris is supposed to be there.’ You know the kind of thing I mean.
It was a completely different story when I called up my Republican girlfriends though. Even though none of them could make it, largely because they can afford health care and are therefore always having unnecessary surgical procedures, the conversation was, like: ‘Striper fishin’? Well hell yeah! I am gettin’ a lump taken out the day before but if I am well enough I’ll have the doctor put it in a jar and we can use it as bait!’
It was revelatory, let me tell you. And for the first time in my whole life, I found myself on the Republican side. Because, as you can see from the picture, fishing is fun!
Even Blanche got into it (please take notice of the Bass Pro life jacket). She wasn’t sure at first, but by the end of the morning, she was reeling ’em in like a pro: