So I ventured out this week, (minus the Hubs), my faithful sidekick for the first time. My destination was the Tanger Outlet Mall, just a few miles north. Here it is mid-January and I’m shopping at an outdoor mall, wearing no coat! I totally got this southern weather. It hasn’t been perfect. A few days struggled to hit 50, but most days have been sunny and ideal for this gal who detests snow but is not fond of high heat or humidity either. Never said I wasn’t fussy about my weather (or my purses, as you’ll note).
I perused the stores listed on the internet, thinking I could hit a half dozen before my remaining original knee started protesting. (The thought has crossed my mind it’s becoming clear something’s amiss with that limb, which literally makes me weak-kneed). Say what you will about knee replacement but it took me almost a year to recover. The pain however is gone, but I dread the thought of having that procedure done again, and hope something (minor) is wrong with my leg.
Tooling along on highway 59, my gaze shifts to the right. As I live and breathe, there sits a Krispy Kreme bakery/store. My very favorite. Their donuts are like eating sugared air. Five miles from where I’m hanging my hat for 60 days. Well there’s 10 snowbirding pounds I hadn’t counted on, but concessions will have to be made. I sailed right on by like a dumbass. That won’t happen again, I assure you. I will remain one strong woman, allowing myself one original glazed every time I’m in the general vicinity. Like Alabama. Did you get the part about Krispy Kreme being within walking distance from our condo? A mere hop, skip and a jump. This is some serious motivation. I could easily walk 5 miles with that little carrot dangling in front of this lame old nag.
Problem number 1. We’ve been here 2 weeks and I’ve finished my third book in the Mickey Haller (The Lincoln Lawyer. If anyone is interested I have 4 of them I’d happily give away) series. I only brought 5 books with me, so that’s not gonna cut it for 2 months. I stopped at a large bookstore because my friend Jeff suggested the Eve Duncan series and I thought I’d look for the first couple books but they didn’t have any. I could order some from Thriftbooks but not sure if I want them mailed here. I have yet to see a mailbox in town-period. I’ve been carrying a stamped card around for a week and haven’t spotted a mail box to toss it in. I guess Trump really did steal them. Maybe I’ll try and find a used bookstore in town. BTW, all city vehicles in Gulf Shores have this printed on the doors of their trucks: “Small town, big beach.” Accurate.
I finally stumble across the mall which is huge and very spread out. Knowing I can’t walk the length of it, I pick out a couple of stores that are close together and park nearby. First up is Corning Revere. Last night I wanted to make baked beans to go with our barbecued ribs and discovered there is not a casserole dish in the place. Oy vey. I’m wary of the handles of the pots in the kitchen, unsure if they were oven safe so I used a FRY PAN which had a metal handle. The store window is advertising 75% off everything, not a good sign. The store is 75% empty and going out of business, but I did find a couple of cheap, oven proof glass bowls that I won’t mind leaving when we head home.
Next up was Kors (Michael), Kate (Spade) and Coach, hoping one would have a new handbag for this fussy purse lady. The older I get, the more particular I get about my handbags. Don’t like stiff or structured, don’t want smooth leather, won’t buy a bag with 2 handles (am I the only woman who hates it when one strap falls off my frickin shoulder every other minute)? And I don’t want anything boxy. I like slouchy, like me, a hobo shaped bag, which appears to be quite unpopular of late. Not one purse in 3 stores cried, “take me home.”
There’s another bookstore advertised so I hopped in the Jeep (5 years ago I would have walked the complete length of the mall and not given it a thought. Now I look around and think, Geez, I don’t want to walk that way, there’s 6 steps. I really hate that. Getting old, not for sissies, and oftentimes I feel like a big sissie. I did not spot the bookstore but found a place called, The Fudgery. Well that looks interesting (especially since I zipped by Krispy Kreme). I walked in, all casual but I’m immediately drawn like a moth to a flame to the fudge section. I think they serve ice cream too, but my eyes only saw fudge. The glass display cabinet, home to a dozen or more varieties of fudge is now sporting a small drop of drool. I snap my mouth closed. Two clerks (bored out of their gords) slowly meander behind the counter. The clerk in charge starts by asking if she can be of help to me? Let’s just call her, BOC for boisterous, outgoing clerk.
Me: “these fudge chunks don’t look very big. Are they a quarter pound?”
BOC: “no, they’re 8 ounces, $8.99 each.”
Me: “ok, I’ll take one of the plain chocolate here with walnuts.”
BOC: “no, that’s our chocolate fudge with pecans.”
Me: “hmmm alright, how about the Rocky Road then? Does that have walnuts?”
BOC: “again, no. The Rocky Road is loaded with pecans. Welcome to the south.”
Me: “point taken and duly noted. I’ll have the chocolate with pecans please.”
I have just been given a stern lesson in the hoity-toity importance/priority of pecans in the south. I was raised on walnuts, (nutmeats, that’s what Mom called them) using them in candies and baking, except Pecan Tassies, pecan pie or frosting to top a German chocolate cake. Even with German chocolate cake, if it’s for family, I’ll use walnuts. If I’m bringing it somewhere or giving it as a gift, I use pecans.
If I had my trusty Club Aluminum Dutch oven here, my 45 year-old fudge beating spoon, my gas stove and using my great grandma Effie Berghuis’s 6 ingredient recipe, I could/would have schooled those two clerks on how a real batch of fudge should look and taste. My fudge is so much better. Way better. Way. With walnuts. Without. Or perhaps pecans…