There's no way around it, we're beach people. No matter how many days/nights I camp at Mt Rainer or backpack through the Russian Wilderness I'll always be the tan little boy who's favorite food is seafood. No matter how many times I listen to my Grateful Dead records, I always find myself reaching for the early Jimmy Buffett records. Its as much a part of me as candle making.
This Christmas was a strange one. It was 79 degrees yesterday with 90% humidity in the beautiful coastal town of Fairhope, Ala. It was our first Christmas day without my twin brother Josh, who celebrated with his beautiful wife and her family. Our dinner table was damn near empty but the tradition was as full as ever. Every year that I can remember, on Christmas Eve, my grandmother starts preparing our Christmas dinner: Gumbo. Thats right, gumbo, not a roast or a Christmas ham, gumbo. Our family would call it the best gumbo we have ever eaten and I will always agree. Until my grandfather died in 2004, my grandparents lived on the 4th floor of a condo in Orange Beach. We would spend weeks and weeks out of the year on the beach and some of my favorite weeks were the holidays. It was cold out then and no one was on the beach, except for us. My favorite memories are from these years and I could not be more thankful to have grown up in and on the beach.
This morning we sat around the table and drank coffee (then moved on the Bloody Mary's but more on that later) and talked about everything from family history to moonshiners to the cultural tension in Memphis Tenn. Most importantly, we talked, and I'm thankful. Around noon we moved to Bloody Mary's and tried to plan the rest of the day but here I am writing a blog post and sipping my drink. Our family traditions may look very very different from yours, they may have less gumbo and Bloody Mary's, hell they may have more! Nonetheless, these are special days. Wherever you are this holiday, have one for me and I'll for you. Only 364 days until Christmas.
Here's an easy recipe to get into the Coastal Alabama holiday spirit.. Did I mention it was super easy
- Charleston Bloody Mary Mix
- Titos Vodka or Cazadores Tequila for a Bloody Maria (my favorite)
- Wickles Pickled Okra
- Two Green Olives