Tag Archives: Tennessee

Boat Show

I was a bit bummed when I realised that I was missing  The London Boat Show this month. I have such fond memories of it, you see, like the time I turned up in a faux fur coat with my friend, Kate, and we pretended to be a southern oil heiress and her PA, thus gaining entry to the super yachts, where we drank free champagne all afternoon with attentive, suntanned and much younger sales reps with names like ‘Guy’ and ‘Bertrand’. Good times…

So you can imagine how thrilled I was when Aunt B told me that the Nashville Boat Show was scheduled for this very same weekend. Needless to say, I rushed on over there yesterday morning to check it out.

Now, to some extent, a boat show is a boat show is a boat show. Crowds of people wandering around looking at boats, and exhibitors trying to sell you things that relate even vaguely to nauticalia. Back in London, for example, my friends Tanya and Salty told me on Skype yesterday that they had gotten a really good deal there on a yacht rental in the Northern Aegean for their holiday this summer.

Meanwhile, back here in Nashville, I had a good chat with Gary Bachman and his lady wife, of the Hillbilly Delux guide service to striper fishing on Lake Cumberland, near Jamestown, Kentucky. [Settle down, Junior: it’s striper fishing, not stripper fishing.] I am definitely planning a girls’ day out on Lake Cumberland with these nice folks. Who needs the Mediterranean? It’s all fished out anyway.

But the biggest contrast between Nashville and London this weekend was in their respective star attractions. In London, the Show was opened by the notoriously spoilt heiress, Tamara Ecclestone. If you don’t know much about Tamara, just ask her beloved chihuaha, Duke.

In Nashville, on the other hand, our Boat Show featured Twiggy the Water Skiing Squirrel:

Actually, it turns out that there were two Twiggys at the Show, ‘Twiggy7’ and ‘Twiggy8’:

Followers of this blog in the UK are unlikely to know about Twiggy, who has been a celebrity since ‘Twiggy1’ got blown out of his nest during a hurricane in 1978, when he was just a baby. He had the good fortune to be rescued by Chuck and Lou Ann Best. I guess Chuck was kind of bored, because he decided to teach little Twiggy how to waterski. And the rest is history.

Back in England, of course, it is almost definitely illegal to teach a squirrel how to waterski and entertain thousands of delighted children:

Au contraire, mes amis Anglaise, you would apparently prefer to EAT poor little Twiggy and his little furry friends.

So with respect, I have come to the conclusion that at next year’s London Boat Show, they should fly Twiggy over to do the entertaining, and put Tamara Ecclestone in a pie.

© Copyright 2012, Southern Dysfunction

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Happy New Year?

You will have noticed that I have gone with a more political theme for 2012. Yup, it’s going to be quite a year here in the old US of A.

I spotted the Pearls of Christ Church sign while on a road trip recently with my friends Twylene (who we all call ‘Aunt B’) and Bubba. We had to stop and take a picture. The pastor seems to be having some problems explaining the difference between the Bible and politics to his congregation. The church has its own baseball field (dubbed the ‘Field of Grace’), and he has had to post the following on the perimeter fence:

OK, I’m not sure where to start with this sign. For one thing, what with being raised Episcopalian and all, I have never heard of a church where alcohol is not integral to the whole faith thing. I mean, our immediate response to any sacrament is to throw a cocktail party.

But guns and theft? Really? Do we have to post a sign about that? At a Church?

© Copyright 2012, Southern Dysfunction

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Filed under Church, Uncategorized

Merry Tennessee Christmas!

Well howdy! You will have noticed that I have been absent for some time. This is because my autumn went plumb crazy when Big Daddy sliced a golf ball in the mountains and decided it was a good idea to fetch it out of the creek, instead of using his walker and oxygen like he was ‘sposed to do. Several months later, and you will be happy to hear that he is fine, and that he and mother are moving to a deluxe apartment in the sky. No, that is not a euphemism. It’s a penthouse.

Anyway, I’m back! And I thought I would start out by sharing some photos with you that just sum up the true spirit of Christmas back here in Tennessee, where Mary and Joseph decided to skip the inn:

Where, if you have truly accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, the angels will hang out the washing and chop the firewood:

Where the wise men are very scary drag queens, who are legally entitled to bring automatic weapons as a present for a minor:

And finally, where shotgun weddings in dubious circumstances are so normal, that grandma knit Joseph a whole trousseau:

Merry Christmas, y’all!

© Copyright 2011, Southern Dysfunction

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Turkey Shoot

I hope that y’all can accept my apologies for going quiet for a few days, but it has been a busy weekend here in Nashville. Each year, the National Wild Turkey Federation holds its convention at the Opryland Hotel and Convention Center. It goes on for four days and there is a lot to absorb.

I knew I had to take Junior there. Being raised in Europe, he never learned to handle a gun and this is a big black hole in his education that I feel guilty about. Like most people, I learned to shoot a rifle at summer camp when I was eight years old. But we just did not have those opportunities in inner London when he was growing up.

Besides, as my friend Steve told me, ‘Hon, pay attention. You are single. Every straight man in the southeast is going to be there. Pull yourself together. We are all so worried about you.’

And he was so right! I am definitely going to take up hunting:

Can I have your phone number?

Junior thought they were gay dads, but I explained to him that there was no such thing in Tennessee

Not sure about the hat, but according to the box I will never have chigger bites again!

True, there were some guys I wasn’t so sure about:

I am SO OVER the Dukes of Hazzard

Can't quite put my finger on it, but the chemistry is just not there

Junior thought the whole thing was surprisingly cool. For example, did you know that you can attach an iphone directly to a gun, so that you can make a film of your hunt? Seriously!

Not everything was as easy to understand, however. Neither of us could figure out the basis for judging in the taxidermy competition. First prize this year for ‘most artistic entry’ was awarded to a religiously themed display. I mean, the bird is good-looking, but the scripture doesn’t even make sense in this particular context.

What? Is the turkey going to talk? Do magic tricks?

Both of us agreed that first prize should have been awarded to this instead:

Ok, for my overseas readers, I had better explain. It is an American college ‘football’ themed display, pitting two turkeys against one another, the orange one representing the University of Tennessee, the Crimson one, the University of Alabama. Is that clear? No? Well, basically you have a monument to the brilliant combination of hunting and competitive sports, in the medium of taxidermy.  Still not getting it? Think Turner Prize crossed with Deliverance. Better? No? No? OK, let’s just forget it.

© Copyright 2011, Southern Dysfunction

 

 

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Is it only me?

From the city that brought you Free at Last Bail Bonding, we are proud to present:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Copyright 2011, Southern Dysfunction

 

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Filed under Shopping

High on the Hog

My friend Steve rang awhile ago to tell me that, according to Garden&Gun magazine, country ham is ‘in’. ‘I swear,’ he said, ‘chefs in New York are serving it as antipasto! It’s the new prosciutto! I drove straight to Kentucky and found an old man selling country hams by the side of the road and brought one home and hung it on my back porch!’

Steve is getting into food in a big way, which accounts for his enthusiasm. He is on something called ‘the Nashville diet,’ which is a bit like Atkins, but the protein should normally be battered and fried.

A few weeks later, the ham was still hanging there, and the French bassett, Momo, had taken to spending his afternoons sitting underneath it, staring upwards with a forlorn expression. ‘I don’t know what to do next,’ Steve confessed. ‘I think it needs to cure longer, but I’m worried that it’s going to go bad.’

So when the opportunity came up last Sunday, we decided to join a hog butchering and curing workshop at the Smileys’ farm in Ridgetop, Tennessee.  The Smileys are a fixture at the Nashville Farmer’s Market, which the director is trying to make more sophisticated. I think you could fairly describe a hog slaughter as a high risk strategy to achieve that objective. When I phoned to ask about it, Troy Smiley told me that for $35 he would take us ‘from the hog to the ham’ — except that he wouldn’t shoot him in front of us because of health and safety.

Troy and his daddy, Ted, have been curing hams in Ridgetop for decades. The slaughterhouse is a small, mostly unmechanized, family operation. Troy wouldn’t let me take pictures in there, in case I had some sort of political agenda. I can see that; it was pretty full on. After he shot the hog (behind a closed door) he showed us how to drain the blood, scald him to make it easier to get the hair off, and hang him up by the tendons in his rear legs. After Troy gutted him, Ted came in and butchered him the country way, taking a hatchet to the backbone (nowadays you do it with an electric saw). He carried the hams out to the smokehouse, where he salted them and showed us the hams that are already curing.

Ted fried up the tenderloin, along with some country ham and homemade sausage for us to try. He also made a pot of beans, and the grandkids made some cornbread. Troy was right, there is a big difference between fresh, home-butchered meat and the stuff you buy in the store. And those beans were delicious. The country ham? Well it didn’t taste like prosciutto, and Ted and Troy didn’t have much idea how to make it that way. But I have to tell you, it was pretty damn good.

Troy Smiley’s White Beans and Ham
You dice up some country ham real small
and fry it good and add some cut up onions
and then you add a big can of white beans,
because that’s just as good as making them
from dried, and then you cook it all in a big
pot long enough to taste good but not so
long that it all goes mushy.

© Copyright 2011, Southern Dysfunction

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Filed under Food