by Chloe Tuttle
Every country inn really does need an old pickup truck. Ours is "Old Red" and she is part of the landscape . . . literally, because some days she wonít move.
Old Red has a 1968 Ford 390 engine in a 1979 Ford body. She has an automatic stick shift in the floor, and starts running wide open in ANY gear. Folks head for cover when they hear her rumble. She has a Holley racing carburetor and to me that just means more gasoline . . . not at all good for my eco image. But she is very recycled.
Old Red is not really road-ready yet. I am waiting for the day when she can be legally declared by the State of North Carolina as an antique. Until then we are content to wander the fields and forests on the farm in search of berries and wild grapes and picnics. Lest you think she only plays, Old Red works hard; we have limbs and yard debris that we haul to the woods. Arenít we lucky to have woods?
Of late Old Red has a new career as a photo prop. We have photographers who come to Big Mill and the farm for photo shoots, including Playboy magazine.
Even brides lean on the hood next to the Redneck Woman license tag - a joke put there by a friend of mine. It was such a hit, I left it. Mind you, nobody here is a redneck, but folks love the idea.
Grandmothers and country music stars show up in photos with the old Ford truck. Jamie Leigh had her portfolio taken here at Big Mill and now she is famous! Jamie just won the Kenny Chesney 96.9 the Kat Radio "Next Big Star" contest in Charlotte. In her original song "Summer Nights," she sings of a rusty old Ford truck. I just know itís Old Red. And Jamie opened with Kenny Chesney in his August 21st concert in Charlotte. Great going, home town Martin County girl.
Along with country stars, we also have Old Red with our favorite British Barrister. Anthony makes his home part time here in Eastern North Carolina and he now has his own pickup truck with dual exhausts. What will the chaps at his club in London think?
I had a request from a couple of upstate New York guests, Nicholas and Sandi, who wanted a ride to the creek on Old Red. So off we went . . . in the rain, in the dark, knowing we might have to walk home. We love an adventure! I love my truck.
For more wonderful stories and photos of the North Carolina coastal plain, visit Chloe's Big Mill B&B blog.
Bio of Chloe:
Chloe was born in the house that is now Big Mill Bed & Breakfast. Growing up on this country farm was idyllic: playing with her nephew Barney (two days her junior), climbing trees, swimming in the lake, riding mules, catching fireflies on hot summer nights and fishing in the creek that powered the Big Mill was, and still is, a piece of Heaven. The barns are still there, the fish still bite, the country store is the same . . . the fireflies still fascinate.
Before returning to Big Mill as an innkeeper, Chloe was a cook aboard a private sailboat for seven years, sailing from Maine to Guadeloupe, and primarily in the Bahamas. Now, she's been an innkeeper for 17 years -- and still loves it!
Check out her Big Mill blog. You'll find great recipes and assorted fascinating info about Big Mill B&B.
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