Le Grand Entrance
I’m a big city girl—Queens, Long Island, Manhattan, Brooklyn—those are my old stomping grounds.
So when I decided to write about a small town in Tennessee I thought I’d better do a little research. Last year my friend, Deb, took me to her hometown, Bradford, a tiny place in West Tennessee.
I had an interesting time seeing the town ( a few blocks long), meeting her “aunties,” some of whom weren’t blood-related, and experiencing a world so different from my own. (You’ll have a chance to see how well my research paid off when my May release, ONE DEADLY SIN, comes out.)
This year, Deb and I decided to return to Bradford to check out their annual festival, Doodle Soup Days. What is doodle soup, you ask? Well…it’s a tasty concoction of chicken broth, drippings, vinegar, and hot (and I mean hot) peppers. Bradford is the self-styled Doodle Soup Capital of the World, and every year the town holds a weekend celebration, complete with parade, carnival rides, and, of course, doodle soup.
When TPTB found out Deb, her sister, and I were returning to town for this yearly event, they tasked us with the vital job of Parade Judge. Needless to say, I was thrilled. I thought—maybe they’ll think I’m a famous author! Maybe they’ll want my autograph! A picture with me! I’ll meet the mayor! Get keys to the city! You get my drift…
So Deb and I drive the 2 ½ hours from Nashville to Bradford, pull in under the huge Doodle Soup Days banner hanging over Main Street, and walk to the parade grounds. I step off the curb, twist my ankle, come down on my OTHER ankle, twist it, and land splat on my hienie in front of the WHOLE TOWN.
I knew my ankles wouldn’t hold me, so I sat in the street for a few minutes while a swarm of concerned citizens peppered me with “are you all right?” as if I could know that fast. Before I could mumble “I think so,” someone called an ambulance, and it came roaring up, sirens and everything. Could it get MORE embarrassing?
How’s this? The EMT—who, of course, everyone knew—determined that what I needed was…a Band-Aid! For the cut on my foot where I’d landed on it. Oh, and a bag of ice for the massive swelling. I spent the rest of the day hobbling around, trying to keep that ice on first one, then the other ankle, and fending off the knowing looks from everyone in town, who knew without me saying so, that I was the clumsy Yankee stranger judge, who fell off the curb in front of the old Bradford Bank.