I'm just done with a round of speaking on the winter lit circuit down South and it was the coldest book tour I've ever gone on. Sleet, ice, snow - all far south. It was snowing on the lowcountry and barrier islands of Florida last weekend. On all our southern panels, the southern writers are wearing eighteen layers of sweaters and mufflers and gloves, and have strained, "how is this happening?" expressions. We couldn't quite wrap our heads around persistent ice in Dixie. You know, I grew up Pentecostal and never saw anyone drink so much as a beer till I married Wendel. At the Southern Festival of Books, Jack Daniels was a sponsor. They kindly slipped a sample of the company product in the goody bag, making for the single night on the road that I was finally warm. I found Pepsi to use as mixer and sometime that night, tucked away in little hotel in downtown Nashville, called daddy for some reason (or maybe he called me.) I asked him, "Daddy? How come you railed on whiskey. It is a most innocent concoction. It is liquid fruitcake." He admitted as much. He has gotten a lot less fire-breathing with age. Forty years too late to do me much good, emotionally speaking, but still.