I paint at The Cottage Gallery in Laguna Beach on Wednesdays and Thursdays. I also like to watch the Discovery and History channels on TV at night. I enjoy shows like Gold Rush, The Deadliest Catch, Moonshiners, Lobstermen. and Pawn Stars. Well, the other day I was painting at the gallery when a couple came in and began looking around. I was in the middle of a wash coat and couldn't give them much attention while the paper was still wet. But after a while they came over to me and asked about some paintings. I looked up to talk with them and was immediately impressed with the man's beard. The night before, I had just watched the final episode of Moonshiners and this man with his foot-long gray beard and pony tail looked just like "Popcorn" Sutton, the most famous of all moonshiners.. His wife introduced herself as an artist and gave me her card. Part of the conversation went something like this:
Me: "Do you live nearby or just visiting?"
Them: "We're vacationing in Oceanside, but we live in Tennessee"
Me: "One of my sons went to the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. I really loved visiting that area.
Them: We also live in northeastern Tennessee, on some farmland nearly 25 miles from the closest market."
Me: "My name is Bill Hudson"
He: "My name is Fred and my wife here is Robin Ford"
Me: "Fred, I've got to tell you, I just watched this TV show last night called "Moonshiners" and you look just like a guy named Popcorn Sutton"
Fred (Laughing): "I knew Popcorn. A lot of people will say they're his cousin because he's so notorious, but I was just a friend. You know he killed himself while in prison, but I think he did it for some medical reason because he was only serving an 18 month sentence and it wasn't his first. He was always smoking, weighed less than a hundred pounds, and seemed to enjoy life, but always carried a pistol in his back pocket. He wasn't someone I'd cross."
Me: "They said on TV that he handed off his recipe to someone."
Frank: "Yeah, Hank Williams Jr. bought it and is now legally selling Popcorn's moonshine for about $30 a quart."
Robin: "Could I take a picture of the gallery?"
Me: "Only if Frank let's me take a picture of him."
Fred laughed and let me take a couple of photos. Robin gave me her artist's business card. The three of us enjoyed talking about several other things for another half hour. When I got home I went to Robin's website and was very impressed with her Batik Art. You will be too. Visit www.robinoriginal.com
A week later, I received an email from Fred and Robin. They said how they enjoyed the visit and invited me to someday let them show me "hillbilly heaven". They included the photo above.