If you come to Locust Fork, Alabama, the main form of entertainment may very well be the window of my nephew's bathroom. He owns a ranch house at the top of the hill on Ray Road, and, as I discovered this morning when I went to the john for a morning constitutional, has not yet hung drapes in the bay window of the downstairs bathroom. The body length window faces the drive, and as you perch upon the porcelain throne, anybody and everybody pulling up in their pickup or hummer or four wheeler, or whatever else they might pull up in, will have a full view of you and your business. The same when you are coming out of the shower. It's a live porn site, free except for the cost of binoculars.
Jeremy has bought his young wife a new horse (Trixie), who, as we arrived yesterday, untied the latch on the gate and freed herself. We spent the better part of an hour running around the yard, trying to herd her back in the fence. The neighbor, who is a full-blooded Native American, came over with his lasso to try and help. He stood in the drive as she trotted toward him, squared his stance and said, "There's no way this horse is getting past me!" Even as the last words left his mouth, the horse trotted a little to the left and darted right past him and up the road. So much for the old ways.
We breakfasted this morning on the other end of Southern cuisine--at the Alabama burger chain called Jack's. No, not Jack in the Box, just Jack's. My mother had biscuits and gravy and I had a simple bacon biscuit. Jack's is the only place to eat in the whole town, and everybody turns up there for a pre-church meal on Sundays, and probably a post-church lunch as well. Jack's owns two stray dogs that sleep outside on the edge of the ditch. My mom says they're there everyday.
My nephew owns a rather large piece of property. In the backwoods and down a hill is a small creek that winds its way through the brush down to the Warrior River. This whole area is on the border of the old Creek territory and was the site of several battles between Red Sticks Creeks (Creeks who wanted to fight the whites) and the more conciliatory clans, with the American army popping in ever so often. I spent the day combing the creek for arrowheads, and through I found a lot of flint shards and things that looked like they might be part of something bigger, I had no luck. Still, it was a pretty day. A woodpecker followed me for a while, and somewhere down the hill, some frogs were singing (in the middle of winter?). I saw a bright blue bird once and heard a hawk cry out, and then the howling of a bunch of hunting hounds. This is the last day of hunting season (Jeremy went off this morning to try and bag a buck) so I was wary of being shot, but came home in one piece. Here is something about the South that I both loathe and love. All this open land and wood, and yet, its so hard to take care of any of it because it's either filled with hunters, on someone's property (who will run you off if they see you) or is in some other way inaccessible.
Two food tips for Birmingham. The first is Nikki's down on Finley Rd, off Interstate 65. It's classic Southern food, with everything supposedly coming from the Farmer's Market next door. I had baked chicken and tons of sides, okra and tomatoes, creamed corn, broccoli rice, lima beans, navy beans, collards, and peach cobbler. Another recommendation is Milo's, a burger joint that serves burgers that have a special sauce a lot like the sauce you find on "Islak Hamburgers" in Istanbul. But for biscuits, the best place is the gas station just south of Locust Fork. They opened up today and are warm and fluffy and buttery. Mmmm.