Cutlass had returned form his family reunion in Tennessee. Bobo invited Max and me to join them at Two Turtles, their favorite beach bar. Cutlass would tell us all about his adventure.
Max and I were surprised Bobo wanted to meet at the very bar where so recently Bobo’s embarrassing nick name was revealed by his college friend and secret crush Butterfield Fuller Schitt.
Bobo was vehement over the phone. “I’m not going to be intimidated! It’s our favorite bar and no one is going to run me out!”
Bobo invited Max and me to join them at Two Turtles, their favorite beach bar. Cutlass would tell us all about his adventure.
So be it.
We embraced Cutlass warmly at Two Turtles to welcome him back.
“All this attention for little old me?” Cutlass said. “Shucks, I’ve just been gone three days!”
“An eternity, darling!” Bobo said, putting an arm around him and glancing nervously at the entrance.
Leaning back to enjoy a sip of white wine, I asked, “So tell us. How did it go?”
“Fabulous and crazy, just as expected,” Cutlass said. “All the way up on the plane, I fantasized about the food and I wasn’t disappointed: platters of barbecued ribs, country ham, flaky biscuits, cornbread and bacon, fried pickles, and Aunt Betty’s banana cream pie. I ate more than my fair share. Back to the diet tomorrow!”
While Cutlass was telling his story, Bobo kept peering at the entrance.
Max asked, “Where was the reunion held?”
“That’s a whole story in itself! It was at Uncle Billy’s cotton farm. It’s called a farm but there are a few hundred acres and his house is a masterpiece of Southern architecture – white columns, two tall chimneys, rolling lawns and horses grazing peacefully in pastures.”
“Sounds idyllic!” Max said. “No family skeletons?”
“Well, there was that business about the whiskey after the Civil War. Great, great, great, great Uncle Billy and Jack Daniel were in competition for the best whiskey ever made. Of course, Jack Daniel was the one who became famous but Great Uncle Billy’s brew was a close second. He finally gave into Jack Daniel’s popularity and marketing skills but he made out very well for himself and the family selling cotton.
I asked, “The end of Great Uncle Billy’s involvement with whiskey?”
“Hardly the end. The recipe was passed down from family member to family member until Cousin Savannah got hold of it. She brews it herself in her barn. But being a lady she doesn’t admit she’s brewing whiskey but calls it her “little private tea.” She loves to serve it in tall glasses with a mint sprig. It looks like iced tea but it sure ain’t. We all look forward to teatime at Cousin Savannah’s. We call her Cousin Savannah but no one can put a finger on where she fits into the family genealogy. Behind her back we call her Cousin Savannah Twice Removed from Reality. That seems to fit. And of course, to go with the tea, she makes the most marvelous sweet potato biscuits!”
Max asked, reaching for the nut mix, “So, your family reunion is about eating and drinking?”
“That’s a big part of it, but there are also the relatives who insist on coming dressed as Dolly Parton. We hold a Dolly Parton look- alike contest at every reunion. Just between us,” he leaned into the table and whispered, “the Dollys are looking older.”
Bobo asked, holding up his glass, “Who was the winner this year so we can toast them?”
“Well in that case my dears, you can all raise your glasses to me! I won! And I have the photos to prove it.” He took out his camera and showed us. It wasn’t a pretty sight but far be it from us to burst his falsies.
Finally Cutlass noticed Bobo’s preoccupation with the entrance. “Darlin’, whatever is going on?” He pointed his finger at the front door. “You keep looking at the door as if your long lost cousin was going to show up.”
“Do I?” Bobo said, flushing pink. Just then the two Turtle brothers walked in. “There they are! That’s what I’ve been hoping for.”
Max shot me an “Oh, yeah, sure!” look.
Bobo waved them over. His face said, “Saved by the bell!”
He shook their hands. “I wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your bar.” They assured him it was always a pleasure to see us at their establishment.
When they left, Cutlass said, “That was real sweet of you, but you’ve told them that before.”
“Have I?” Bobo said. “You can never tell someone enough how much you appreciate them! It’s like you going to your family reunion.”
Cutlass looked at Bobo sideways.
Bobo was saved from having to spill the beans about Butterfield Fuller Schitt. Max and I would never tell. In a way, the four of us were family, too, and we were having our reunion.
Families come in all shapes and sizes. Our table happens to be a teensy family of four but it’s family nonetheless and I simply love them all to pieces!
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