A Girl Named Richard
The reason I moved to Dallas in the first place was due to the inexplicable love of a very fine woman indeed; an internationally in-demand scientist, in fact. She, like me a Brit, got offered two jobs in one day, one in Seattle and one in Dallas. We chose Dallas because we were tired of rain, it would be cheaper and we frankly couldn't imagine how many people there would be in Seattle using Apple products in a Starbucks. Those people are not people who appeal to us. She keeps my feet on the ground despite the fame, fortune and women that have come my way as a result of writing a food column for a locally based alternative weekly newspaper. Nicknamed Richard because her real name was misheard in Sonny Bryan's and the server referred to her as "Richard" throughout, she is far funnier than I am, laughs at all of her own jokes and takes great delight in trolling me in every aspect of my life. She is also the best person I have ever met.
Read the full story: An Englishman in BBQ Sauce: an Ex-Pat Learns to Love Texas
Unfortunately, for the second BBQ visit in a row she is misheard at a crucial moment and ends up with turkey, which apparently sounds like "pork rib" in a strong Welsh accent. Yes, we have a mongrel British marriage. Yes, we're much more comfortable with it than our families are. No, it falls apart during sporting events.
Think about my wife delaying the purchase of meat by overloading her plate with corn. It's not something I find attractive about her, love her though I do.
Eventually, because she's of the opinion that she's really very amusing, she starts to force-feed it to me like I'm 2 years old, saying "here comes the aeroplane" to the sheer naked confusion of the three older Texas gentlemen across from me. I give in, largely because I am aware of her sheer tenacity in situations like this and the idea of a further 30 minutes of fending off fork-aeroplanes does not appeal to me.
My wife, a fellow Brit who is much funnier than me, has adapted Shakespeare to express our true love, as a family, for the Waffle House. Please picture this as a dramatic soliloquy delivered by Kenneth Branagh in front of a roaring fireplace, in the dead of night.
Shall I compare thee to Wendy's?
Thou art more tasty and more laureate.
Wendy's serves no hash browns with ham and cheese
The breakfast there is quick to terminate.
Sometimes too hot Texas heavens do shine
Or the metroplex is wrought with harsh wind;
And every restaurant shutter doth decline,
All dinner plans, once made, are then rescind;
But thy tenacity shall never fade,
Nor lose possession of that grill thou ow'st,
The destitute seek comfort in thy shade,
When eternal needs in man's hearts do grow'st.
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives waffles to thee.
THE SECRET CHAIN RESTAURANT AND FAST-FOOD SHAME OF AN ENGLISHMAN, AUGUST 21
Richard, who was taking notes, had apparently decided to write some sort of Captain Scott's log as we were going around ("Weather excellent. Mild thirst.") but abandoned this as soon as we saw her favourite event, pig racing. All that's written in her notes at this point is "PIG FUCKING RACES!" and a heart. What a girl. AN ENGLISHMAN PROVIDES OUR FINAL WORD ON THE STATE FAIR, OCTOBER 23
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