Welcome to tête–à–tête Thursday with the eclectic and enigmatic Erin O'Donnell Reynolds, the proprietress of Fox House Vintage, which will celebrating its Grand Opening this Saturday.
The Bourbonista: So, tell me, how does one become a vendor of vintage?
Erin: I was diagnosed with compulsive shopping disorder when I was 15. It's not a joke, it's a real disease and I have it. Thankfully, about 5 years ago, one of my friends introduced my to the wonders of thrifting, so my disease is not also a credit card problem. A few years after that I used my compulsive shopping to open a magical thrift kingdom, called Fox House Vintage. And now, my life is perfect. In your face, compulsive shopping disorder!
The Bourbonista: I have a problem with online shopping. Particularly, drunk eBaying. I once bought a dress intended for a Barbie doll thinking it was an actual evening gown in my size. It was very disappointing. So, tell me more about you. This time, at least one word must begin with the letter “X” and none can begin with the letter “S.”
Erin: Xanax makes me puke. I'm obsessed with organization, but I think it's a minor control issue. I love going to therapy, because narcissism is accepted. I will go for a month and not brush my hair. I think I'm good at quite a few things, but have yet to master anything.
The Bourbonista: If you were a circus performer, what would you be and why?
Erin: I'd be the seal with the ball on his nose. They make weird noises and are under the circus radar. I love a good seal.
The Bourbonista: I am a fan of the pinnepeds, too. Especially walruses. It seems, if you were having a bad day, wallowing with a walrus would make it all better. What would you do if you won the lottery?
Erin: I'd call my accountant, cry a little over the taxes and then never buy a ticket again.
The Bourbonista: I'd buy a walrus. If you were on death row…don’t act like you don’t know who you killed to get there…what would be your last supper?
Erin: My last supper would be a Lucie Meyers (of the A La Lucie phenomenon) catered smorgasbord. I would eat anything she made.
The Bourbonista: Smorgasbord...smorgasbord...that word makes my mouth itch. Seriously, I have to scratch my tongue, now. Weird. So, describe yourself in three words all beginning with the letter “B.”
Erin: Beguiling, Blithe, Blunt.
The Bourbonista: Blunt is one of my favorite qualities in a person. Screw PC, and give me some CHT--cold, hard truth. If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
Erin: "Land of the Freak" by King Khan & The Shrines.
The Bourbonista: Oh yeah, good groove. Give a shout out to the deaf girls. Now, write a short “Thank You” letter to your future self for all the cool shit you’ve done twenty years from now.
Erin: Dear 49 Year-Old Erin,
Thank you for never going to jail.
Love, 29 Year-Old Erin
The Bourbonista: Miraculously, if I can avoid the slammer for three more years, I'll be able to write myself that letter too. Finally, If you were a booze, which would you be and who would you want to drink you?
Erin: I'd be bourbon so my family could finally benefit from having me as a member.
Don't Miss the Grand Opening of the new Fox House Vintage located at 123 W Sixth Street. Al's Block Party will be happening right next door. This Saturday, May 24th. All day food and fun, deals and drinks!
We crossed the bridge and stepped onto the wobbling walkway that lead to Royalty’s Fishing Camp. Splinters and renegade spikes plagued each step.
“They should call this Tetanus Way,” I said.
“Actually, they call it Durham Row. For years, it’s been occupied by members of the Durham family. Old Man Durham, his son and then their sons and some uncles and cousins. I swear there were so many Durhams that you couldn’t swing your dick around without hitting one.”
“I’ve seen your dick. There must have been a bunch.” I flicked the crotch of his shorts for emphasis.
“Are any of them still here?”
“Yeah, I think Bobby Gene is.”
As if on cue, a voice with a tenor twang cut through the warm June air, “Well, bless my soul and call me Etta James, is that Frank Rose?”
The question came from a man sitting on the front of a small houseboat with white wicker patio furniture and a rainbow flag waving in the breeze. Tied next to it was a deck with an array of terracotta pots in all sizes and shapes sprouting with herbs, vegetables, and flowers. Bobby Gene was a tall man of about sixty with a hawkish nose and close-cropped, gray goatee. His blue eyes sparkled with welcome and wisdom, but most of all mischief. He wore swim trunks and a matching polo shirt, both the color of lemon curd.
“I’ll be damned.” He stood, put his hands on his hips, and took a longer look. “It sure is Frank ‘Flaming Ankles’ Rose.”
Frank stuck out one foot to show off a ring of yellow-orange flames that shot up from his calves. “Hell, yeah, dude. I’m back.”
“Get your ass over here.”
Frank took off across the walkway. His dog, Rufus ambled after.
“Let’s go say ‘hello,’ baby,” he called back over his shoulder.
“Come on, Grizzle, let’s go.” I reached down expecting Doc to be at my side. He was what some referred to as a Velcro pet and never strayed more than two or three feet from me. “Doc…Doc Grizzly…Doc Grizzly?”
I looked back. He was flattened out halfway across the bridge like a giant, fur starfish.
“Doc, come. Come on, Grizzly, you can do it.” I tried to sound calm and comforting.
He whined and inched forward, then pancaked out again.
In the end, the only way to get him to proceed was by getting down on my hands and knees and crawling with him along the pier.
Bobby Gene and Frank took turns seeing who could laugh louder.
When we finally arrived at Bobby Gene’s floating abode, Frank was reclining on a chaise lounge and Rufus was pacing the edge of the slip, barking at the water in anticipation of a swim. Bobby Gene had moved to his garden and was fussing with a tomato plant.
“Man,” Frank said, looking around. “Everything has changed since I was here last.”
“Everything but the people. Same old queers.”
“So, Don and Darryl are still here?”
“Yeah, they’ll never leave.”
“Who exactly are this Don and Darryl?” I asked, and perched on an Igloo cooler.
“They’re a couple. They’ve been together since the seventies and have had a boat here since the early eighties. I think they might have met at The Bar back when it was Johnny Angels,” Frank explained. “They’re not your typical homosexuals. They both love Nascar and bass fishing—“
“And, Bonanza reruns,” Bobby Gene jumped in.
“So, does Michael still have that boat?” Frank asked, gesturing to an impeccably kept white Stardust Cruiser with orange trim and ornate tapestry curtains visible through the front sliding glass doors. As an aside to me, he added, “He’s gay, too. He used to date my friend Jamie.”
“Really? He’s gay, too?”
“Gayer than a Key West tea party.” Bobby Gene moved to a pot of cilantro and began picking off the stems that had already begun to flower. “The seeds produce coriander. It’s a wonderful spice. I use it in a lot of my Indian and Thai dishes.”
“Who else is down here, now?” Frank inquired.
“The two boats next to Michael are owned by these really, pleasant lesbian couples.”
“Cool. This dock needed some skillet lickers.”
“Skillet lickers?” Bobby Gene asked, obviously unfamiliar with the term.
I leapt into the conversation. “Why would you refer to a vagina as a skillet? It makes no sense. Plus, it’s just downright offensive.”
“Honey, have you met Frank? His middle name is offensive.” Bobby Gene waltzed over to a container overflowing with dill.
He pulled a sprig and held it beneath his nose giving him the appearance of having a bushy, green mustache. He breathed in deeply, savoring the scent. “Mmmmmm…”
He handed it to me. I rubbed it between my hands so it would release its oils. The fragrance of freshness wafted up.
“Dill is the secret ingredient in my deviled eggs. It’s also heavenly in fried potatoes. Have you ever tried it?” Bobby Gene asked, then added, “It is damn tasty.”
I took on my most lascivious voice and pumped my eyebrows. “Tasty enough to make you want to lick the skillet?”
“Honey,” he said with a snap, “ain’t nothing that tasty.”
I know our relationship has not been a close one for a very long time. I realized we have only seen each other three times in the last twenty-five years. I’m not entirely certain why this is, but it is not your fault. After the pain and difficulty of my childhood, I just wanted to leave it all behind and, unfortunately, I think that in the process I left you behind as well. The physical distance between us made it hard to reconnect. When you add in our very different views on the world and religion and right and wrong, it felt impossible. But with all of that being said, I just wanted to take this letter to thank you.
Thank you for nurturing my love of words and buying me all the books I could read. That reading led to my becoming a writer. Thank you for the multitude of opportunities you gave me growing up in the form of dance, piano, riding, gymnastics and other lessons. Thank you for always taking an interest in my education and making sure I had the supplies and support I needed to learn and complete all my school projects like: my wonderful costumes for “I Love to Read” Day and plays; art supplies for poster and pumpkin decorating contests; and gifts for favorite teachers. Thank you for pushing me to be better and believing that I could accomplish great things. Thank you for taking time to drive me to my many activities even when they were miles away from Mt. Sterling. Thank you for putting together scrapbooks and saving my memories. Thank you for getting me involved in Girl Scouts and sending me to summer camps where I gained independence, met new people, and learned new skills. Thank you for always attending my pageants, performances, and programs.
Thank you for dressing me up and putting me on the church bus every Sunday. The faith I found in Sunday school as a child is still with me. And though my spirituality is not traditional, my relationship with God is strong and alive. Thank you for the research and hours you spent helping me fill out college applications, scholarship forms, and financial aid so I could attend a university. Thank you for making certain I always had stylish, clean clothes and a comfortable bedroom. Thank you for the beautiful birthday cakes you had decorated for me each year. Thank you for exposing me to music and filling our house with your song. Thank you for making me use good grammar and not use “at” to end a sentence. Most of all, thank you for loving me even when I was difficult and distant.
In closing, I just want to say that although we don’t speak often, you are in my thoughts and prayers. And I will always love you and be ever so grateful for all of the things you did back then to make my life as wonderful as it is now. I hope each day of the rest of your life is filled with peace, prosperity, health, and joy. Happy Mother's Day.
Welcome to Tête-à-Tête Thursday with songtress extraordinaire, Beth Walker, who along with her band, the Blind Corn Liquor Pickers, will be hosting the inaugural Moonshiner's Ball music festival at Homegrown Hideaways in Berea, KY. The band's goal is to have "a party for all our incredible fans. Moonshiner's Ball is about having everyone we love out in one field, camping under the same sky, dancing in the same dirt, sipping from the same jar."
Bourbonista: Let's get started, if you could be any animal on the planet, including those of the cryptozoological variety, what would you be?
Beth: I would be my dog Leroy Brown who is a Rhodesian Ridgeback/Pit mix. He lives an extremely good life with lots of love and treats, and he is also a completely badass that nobody fucks with.
Bourbonista: Yeah, my dog, Doc Grizzly has it pretty damn good too...he just eats, sleeps, and plays. Wait, if you added drinking and writing, I already kind of live his life. What is the best thing you ever ate?
Beth: My fish tacos are the best thing I've ever eaten. I'm lucky that I eat them whenever I get the urge. You have to come to dinner some time and I will make them for you!
Bourbonista: I would love to come to your place and eat your fish taco...that came out all wrong. What six people, they can either be alive or dead or a combination, would you invite to your perfect dinner party?
Beth: This one is too tough to answer. I would probably stick to the same people I have over almost every week for dinner, because I love them and they make me comfortable. Really "cool" people make me nervous.
Bourbonista: Thanks, ask me over and then tell me you don't invite "cool" people because they make you nervous. Guess I know who's not cool, now. If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
Beth: "Whiskey River" by Willie Nelson fits me pretty well.
Bourbonista: Yeah, you and I could drift down that one together with giant straws. Or, I've got a float for two with a cooler in the middle that would be perfect. Better yet, why don't you write your own version called "Bourbon Lake." You can film the video at the boat...yes? Come on, say yes? Describe yourself in three words all beginning with the letter “B.”
Beth: Beautiful, Blue-Eyed, Brunette?
Bourbonista: I don't know about Brunette, but I think Brilliant fits the bill...and Bold...Bohemian...and...Bawdy. You are all the good B's. What would you do if you won the lottery?
Beth: Buy a farm with a swimming hole and probably travel a lot!
Bourbonista: Skinny dipping! Write a short “Thank You” letter to your future self for all the cool shit you’ve done twenty years from now.
Beth: Dear Beth, I'm just thankful that your liver still works. Carry on. Love, Beth
Bourbonista: I'm banking on the fact that they'll have those liver-growing rats available in pet stores by then. If you were a booze, which would you be and who would you want to drink you?
Beth: This answer is clearly bourbon, and I'm not at all picky about the brand. I would love for everyone to enjoy the buzz I offer!
Bourbonista: Well, I can't wait until next weekend to be part of that buzz. Moonshiner's Ball is going to be fan-fucking-tabulous! I will see you there with bells on. Bells and a caftan...and nothing else.
ABOUT MOONSHINER'S BALL:
Picture yourself kicking back on the soft grass on a warm, sunny May afternoon, low-rolling hills all around you. Old friends and new camping together under a clear Appalachian sky, throwing frisbee, splashing in the creek, ranting and raving into large powered speakers, imbibing freely, huddling over massive bonfires, catching up on old times and scheming up new ones.
These great bands will perform:
J.D. Wilkes & The Dirt Daubers
Bawn in the Mash
Coralee & the Townies
Solid Rock'it Boosters
Tribe Called Lex featuring Sheisty Khrist
The Ronnie King Band
and your host, of course, The Blind Corn Liquor Pickers
And these great writers will read:
Eric Scott Sutherland
You can bring your own food or booze, although there will be food trucks rolling in to serve you.
Gate price is $65 per person, regardless of how long you stay, and it includes camping for both nights. For the moment, you can still buy tickets online for the discounted price of $50 per person, but this won't last long.
Sharing All I KNOW about the fine art of voluptuating. here's to living the lush life.