It all began when Hans and I made a trip to southern Alabama and Florida in the middle of August.
You read it right. August.
Who, you ask, would be stupid enough to go to Alabama and Florida in the middle of August?
The same idiots who would go to Boston, Massachusetts in January, that's who.
Hans and Laura.
I'm a typical snow bird, in that until I met Hans, I managed to get to Florida a couple of times in my life, and then it was only during peak, tourist season.
Well, it came about that Hans needed to head south to take care of some family business and he thought it would be fun to turn it into a long weekend, and asked me to accompany him.
I was packed before he finished asking.
For those of you who've never been there in the summer; the south is HOT.
The next time someone tells me to go to hell, I can tell them I've been there and back!
Much to Hans' relief, he finished up his business quickly and we headed off to 'Hooks' (or 'Hyooks' as the locals pronounce it) for barbeque. 'You can smell our butts for miles', Hooks' sign proudly proclaims and it's true. The only way they could have been improved upon would have been with beer.
We sat at a beach bar one night, and one would think that beach bar would be equated with breezes, but not here. There was no breeze and so much sweat poured off of Hans that I feared he would melt on the spot. Watching people run around in blue jeans, suffocated me.
But our biggest mission (and we decided to accept it) was something that we were to find, and bring back to Hans' Baby Brother.
Baby Brother is twelve years younger than Hans and now lives in Toronto. When Baby Brother was about 14, and Hans was well on his own, Hans' father moved his family to Alabama.
Apparently, there was some obscure muffin mix that Baby Brother grew to love, and it could only be found in the deep south.
It certainly can't be found in Canada is what we'd been told.
Too much of our time was spent zipping around Alabama in pursuit of the elusive, muffin mix.
I asked many times, just what was the name of this gourmet mix.
Hans couldn't remember, but he'd know it when he saw it.
"I know it's at the Piggly Wiggly! I just know it!"
But we couldn't find a Piggly Wiggly.
Apparently, Piggly Wiggly had been bought out and was no more.
I found that to be sad. I would love to shop at a Piggly Wiggly. It's got to be more fun than WalMart (Well maybe not, you really haven't lived until you've shopped at my WalMart, in which a hideous cross section of America, shops).
Finally we stumbled upon a store that we could tell, (thanks to the peeling, left over name underneath) had at one time been an infamous Piggly Wiggly, and in we went.
Eureka! In no time at all Hans found the elusive muffin mix and began to wildly pile boxes of them into his little 'used to be a Piggly Wiggly' basket.
"Wait a minute!" I grabbed his arm. "Number one, this can't possibly be the muffin mix that Baby Brother wants and second of all, how the hell are we getting this home! We only do carry on luggage and we don't have enough room for all these boxes."
As quickly as I yanked boxes of mix out of Hans' basket, he frantically put them right back in.
"Hans! Stop it! This is cheap old Jiffy Muffin Mix and you can get this stuff anywhere!"
"No you can't, Baby Brother says you can only get this in the south and I promised him I'd bring some back!"
"Well, Baby Brother may be smart (And believe me he is!), but he doesn't know squat about muffin mix!"
Hans let me put the Jiffy Muffin Mix back on the shelf and I pretended that I didn't notice him smuggle a couple of them back into his basket (he would just have to find space in his luggage).
A couple of months later we took the smuggled muffin mix to Baby Brother, who was thrilled and honored to get them.
And then one day while wandering through Walmart (and I kept a firm hold on Hans who has been known to wander) I stumbled across this.
Yes, it's Jiffy Muffin Mix! Not in the deep south but right here in the frigid north!
Hans nearly fainted.
He immediately took a picture with his cell phone so he could send it to Baby Brother.
Jiffy Muffin Mix: 3 for a $1.00
Full length, Good Will leather coat: $45.00
Nicole Mallalieu purse made by Laura: $10.00
The look on people's faces at Walmart when Hans took this picture: Priceless
Y'all come back now, hear!