The sun was shining and it felt warm on our skin. Charley and I had encountered very few U.G.O.s (unidentified ground objects that he tries to consume) or chicken bones (yes, I live in a community where folks really throw chicken bones on the ground) on our daily midday walk around the neighborhood. We didn’t pass anybody dealing drugs, I didn’t catch a whiff of urine from the alley…I may have even been smiling. I was really enjoying this walk.
Now, I am definitely not a fearful person. I walk through life with confidence, but I try to always be aware of my surroundings and I am far from trusting strangers. However, I had no reason to be suspicious of the car driving toward us. The driver had his window down with his arm resting on the frame. He also seemed to be enjoying this lovely day. And, because I look quite different than most individuals in my neighborhood and I may have been smiling, I was not surprised that he looked our way. I didn’t find it threatening. I was not even surprised when he stopped the car and began to speak to me. Charley was paused to sniff what most have been a particularly fragrant section of tree and he also didn’t feel threatened by this man in the car.
“Uh wahh wahh meh like yah wahh that big black dawg?”
He was smiling when he said this, so for some reason my brain didn’t register this as something with which I should be troubled. I smiled and replied, “What’s that?”
“Yew wanna walk me like your walkin’ that big black dawg?”
Hmmm…that was not what I expected to hear. I thought he was going to ask for directions or comment on Charley’s size or shiny coat. I had no expectation that someone driving down the road would pull over and ask a strange woman if she would walk him like a dog. No expectation.
Once my brain processed what he actually said (and it did take me a couple of beats), I replied, “No. No, thank you.” (I have to say thank you ’cause I’m from Texas and we are nothing if not polite.)
He shrugged. I turned away and Charley and I continued down the block as he drove away in the opposite direction. My smile actually came back as we walked on because I found the exchange more amusing than intimidating. I shook my head and thought, “This is why I enjoy so many bloody cocktails.”
So, I decided to make one. Literally. Well, with blood oranges…
This drink is inspired by the classic tequila cocktail, the Compadre, which translates to friend/partner from Spanish. So, I’m calling it the Vecina Amiga, or the Friendly Neighbor. Yeah, I am using the feminine, but it is pink.
The Vecina Amiga
Makes 1 drink
2 ounces tequila (I used silver)
1 ounce Campari
3 or 4 ounces blood orange soda (see NOTE)
lime wedge, for garnish
Shake the tequila and Campari vigorously with ice. Strain into an ice-filled highball glass. Top with blood orange soda and stir gently. Garnish with a lime wedge and serve. Maybe you can even make one for your friendly neighbor.
NOTE: I found the “gourmet” blood orange soda in a local grocery store. If you cannot find a similar product, mix equal parts of blood orange or grapefruit juice and club soda. Taste, and if it needs to be sweeter, add a splash of simple syrup.