Have you ever met someone and thought to yourself, "Wow, now HE'S a character!"? I've been following the Bourbon Trail in Kentucky with my husband, a writer friend, and her husband this weekend, and we've met our share of the characters along the way.
Take our innkeeper at the B&B in Louisville. A small, prim man with a Colonel Sanders goatee, he was clearly uncomfortable in the role of host. It was a bit of a challenge to get him to serve us orange juice, because he didn't think we'd indicated it on our breakfast card the night before (we did). And then, probably because he had read in Hosting a B&B for Dummies that you should tell stories to your guests, he told us a tale about visiting a Dairy Queen on his honeymoon with his wife in Arizona, and his extreme surprise at this thing called a Blizzard! With Snickers or any old kind of candy mixed in! His Puritanical mind, he said, couldn't quite accept such excess. We were not quite sure what the point of his story was.
Later, in Frankfort, we found Rick's White Light Diner, which we soon found had been featured in the Food Network show "Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives." (The food, by the way, excellent! I recommend the pulled pork BBQ sandwich and the coleslaw.) Rick, a bearded old hippie, cheerfully greets everyone in his tiny diner and dispenses his political philosophy (far left) in colorful and often profane language.
Two characters, one day, both ideal fodder for writers. Can you imagine a conversation between these two? Write it down, see where it takes you. They may just become characters in your next short story or novel. (Thanks, Alice, for the idea!)
The Bourbon Trail, in case you're wondering, is just a collection of distilleries in the region in between Louisville and Lexington. Many of the distilleries offer tours and tastings--we visited Buffalo Trace and Makers Mark, both well worth the trip. More about the tours when I can post some photos.