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Friday, July 21, 2006

HAPPINESS IN A BOTTLE

As I ponder oil shortages, gas price increases, global warming and the Middle Eastern war, I am painfully reminded life isn't always tranquil. Years ago it became apparent to me when one takes the path less traveled we often come upon a fork in the road. One direction leads to further pandemonium and the other leads one to a place where they don't serve ice water.

Sure this sounds a bit sarcastic but I have put on enough miles on life's highway to know the bluebird of happiness can easily become road kill in the twinkling of an eye. Still, a little dusting off and a warm smile and few kind words from a friend can easily set you back on the right turnpike.

Over the past few weeks the chemo made me feel like a an ol' horse that had been rode hard and thrown out to pasture. Al Gore's detestable global warming has me all tuckered out and for a while I thought life had bottomed out.

A week ago last Wednesday, as the Good Ship Reality was heading for a crash landing, I became a crazed woman bent on self destruction. My apartment had become a sanctuary for clutter, so finding a desired book among the pile of hundreds of other books became a futile search, so I arose from my chair and with the mighty cane in hand threw every book I owned onto the bed, forcing me to rethink the whole universe and its order.

As often is the case when a person sets out on a project you soon become distracted by an object that holds memories of some sort and such was the case when I found a small book that had been long forgotten. When this book first came into my life I was at a friends house trying to yard sale my collection of what nots. I had recently been diagnosed with MS, closed my restaurant and was beginning to really understand the meaning of fatigue.

As I reclined on their hammock, not seeing a customer for hours, I drifted off to sleep with dreadful thoughts of packing 99.2% of the junk I brought to this stupid yard sale. Soon my friend woke me up from my nightmare by throwing a book at me entitled "14,000 To Make You Happy."

Now you must understand multiple choices drives me into fits of anxiety. The best thing you can do is take me to a cafe where there is a sign above the grill stating "Only 3 things served–hamburgs, fries and drinks." Menus that read like novels short circuit the decision making part of my brain.

14,000 Things To Make You Happy depressed me, but valiantly I opened to a random page, closed my eyes and pointed to what would soon make me utterly joyful. My finger landed on Tabasco Sauce, not gold nor silver, not sunny skies, good friends or sweet corn, but Tabasco Sauce.

Tabasco Sauce should be immortalized. Eggs are not worth the bother of eating without the hot sauce. So why did the little bottle of pepper juice make me happy? I pondered that question on my 25 mile journey back home, returning with all the junk I hauled to my friends yard sale.

My Scandinavian upbringing recalled a time when a product called Hot Ketchup was about as fiery of a substance one should attempt to consume. Swedish cookbooks only had one hot thing in them and that was a loaf of rye bread straight from the oven.

Strangely enough when I moved to Minnesota as a young naive woman I discovered feisty Mexican food. True, Minnesota is a long way from the Rio Grande, but that is not what this chronicle is about. It's Tabasco Sauce!

So what is it about Tabasco Sauce that makes me so darn happy? Well simply enough thoughts of hot sauce and eggs makes me think of Huevos Rancheros, something you won't find on the menu at Cracker Barrel, but you sure will out west.

Breakfast back home in the wild west meant three things, sitting with friends at the restaurant over strong coffee, hot sauce and eggs on a tortilla or biscuits and gravy. The local cafe was more important than city hall in several ways.

There on a stool with a worn Formica counter, politics were discussed, horse stories swapped and crops planned. Fancy decor never made the food taste better so pretty decorations was not a priority. What was important was biscuits. If the owner couldn't make good biscuits and gravy the townspeople generally took the law into their own hands.

After following the Cowboy Poet Circuit around for a length of time, trying to emulate their style, I realized the need to find my own voice. Most cowboy poets were folks who had been bucked off the horse one time to many and I didn't feel the need to pay those dues. Besides, for some strange reason I felt God calling me back east and what good is a cowgirl poet back here in the rust belt.

Still I loved those days out west. It was the cowboy way that got me involved in storytelling and that is not such a bad thing. Food, coffee and real people–gosh I sure miss it.

So pass the Tabasco Sauce, pour me a good cup of strong coffee and a plate of Huevos Rancherous and forget the other 13,999 other reasons to be happy

8 comments:

Nylecoj said...

Glad to see you back Ms. RW. If you ever have the chance to head on back west I'll take you to our cafe.
I am afraid the choices have gotten a little varied though, at least three flavoars of hot sauce on every table.

camojack said...

I definitely like hot sauce, in fact I'm a bit of a legend in some circles for my tolerance to hot stuff, but Tabasco™ has too much vinegar in it...not that I've got anything against vinegar in it's proper place, but hot sauce ain't it. YMMV.

Good to see you posting again, though...

The trotting Possum said...

Welcome back, and a stirring good rumination against the global warming!

Did you know that the McIlhenny who founded the Tabasco dynasty served as a Marine on Guadalcanal? Thanks to Alabama's Bill Bennett, a.k.a. W.E.B. Griffin, for that tasty piece of trivia.

As "jungle juice", Tabasco was a lifesaver in Vietnam. You poured the contents of the little C-rat bottle into your MRE, then heated the meal by carrying it in your armpit for a few clicks in the 100° heat. It wasn't gourmet cooking with a crock pot, but Tabasco, like beer, is the universal solvent.

It's good to see you raging against Dylan Thomas's dying of the light. The world needs more rage, and less surrender. Generous doses of hot sauce help, too. Tabasco cures MS and cancer, y'know...

Ms. RightWing, Ink said...

Thanks all for your return. I hope to do a better job keeping the doors open.

It is rather funny but one day I was watching The Little Rascals in the Yum, yum, eatem' up clip where the Wild Man from Borneo had a bottle of Tabasco he gulped down. The label on the bottle was exactly the same after all these years.

Tabasco is made in New Orleans (like Oreck vaccums cleaners) so after the fall of the mighty city on the bayou I ran out and bought a whole handful of bottles in fear of a shortage.

I also kept a bottle on the tables of my cafe though few used it, but I could not imagine a cafe without Tobasco

JAINPHX said...

Ms. RW I think i"m the mirror image.Started out in Detroit,with bland food,moved to Arizona where bland food can't be found.I hope when your Chemo is done that the good lord Heals your body to go along with your fertil mind.

Hankmeister said...

Yoo hoo, Ms Rightwing, whars ya frens Aunt Sarah and Uncle Willy. When they drop in for a visit here, please let us know at Scrappleface.

Godspeed dear lady. I'll try to visit here more.

Ms. RightWing, Ink said...

Hankmeister
I'm sorry I have neglected my Arkansas friends. I will e-mail them soon and see what they are up to.

Kajun said...

I wondered why, as hurricane Rita approached Avery Island Louisiana last year, you bought all the Louisiana Hot Sauce.

Now I know.