God Save The Queen

Hey! I’m over here! *waves both arms over head*

Yeah, I know– long time, no write. I’m sorry, I suck, forgive me, mea culpa. I have time management issues. And moving? Is HARD, ya’ll!

Settling into the Buckle has been idyllic and lovely as well as crazy busy. The boxes… Aye yi yi, THE BOXES! Remember how I told you guys we had waaay too much crap? Well, after a massive (and successful– thank you, Michael Taylor Estate Sales!) moving sale we still have a POD that’s only about halfway unpacked and a storage unit that frankly, I’m askeered to go look at– I’m kind of delicate that way, you know. I’m prone to swoons. I guess there might be yet another sale in our future, though I don’t think I can get away with calling it an ‘estate’ sale again. I’m thinking more like, “Please Buy All Of My Leftover Crap Sale.” Marketing, people– it’s called marketing.

We continue to be delighted on a daily basis with our new/old house and our town. As I told Russ, “Yes, I realize this is the honeymoon phase, but hey– I like honeymoons! I’m going to enjoy every minute of this honeymoon!” I’m dying to share some photos with you of our progress, but the problem is that every picture I take of some new improvement (We hung paintings! We put up our chandeliers! We filled up two bookcases!) always has some big honkin’ unemptied box or stack of miscellaneous odds and ends lurking around the edges of the photo, which bums me out so much that I don’t post it. I think I’m just going to wait until I have at least ONE unobstructed shot of ONE completed thing… and hopefully that will be before Jesus returns.

Everyone has been so warm and welcoming. Russ and I have gotten in the habit of taking a stroll around town almost every night after dinner, and we are now starting to match up which people go with what house, which dog belongs to what family, and who owns that way-too-enthusiastic rooster I hear every morning when I have my coffee out on the porch. It’s so much fun to stop in and say Hi to Billy at Phillips General Store, grab a latte at the little coffee shop, and go pick up my mail at the Bell Buckle Post Office– which actually CLOSES FOR LUNCH every day, I am not even kidding. Yesterday I walked down to the town hall (located between the Cafe and an antique store) to pick up a building permit for the fence we’re putting up in our backyard.  A couple of Sundays ago we visited the Bell Buckle Methodist Church, and enjoyed the service so much– lots of friendly folks there, too. I’ve been invited to be on the Arts Council and to join a dinner club. That’s what life in the Buckle feels like– home.

So, until I’ve got some good pictures of our house to share, here’s a little taste of the town from our friend Billy Phillips, who has lived in Bell Buckle all his life. He’s giving a little tour of the General Store, and also the Bluebird Antiques and Ice Cream Parlor that his mom and dad own:

Don’t you just love it?! We sure do. In fact…

Bell Buckle has embraced us so completely, I guess it is time to make an official announcement– and I fully expect all of you to be suitably impressed, so please arrange your faces into an appropriate expression of “OH MY GOSH!!!!” Ready?

Here it is: Russ and I are going to be the King and Queen of Bell Buckle’s own RC Cola and Moon Pie Festival this year!

That’s right. You are now reading the blog of the upcoming Moon Pie Queen, who is married to yes, the RC Cola King.


Practice your curtseys, folks– I’m planning on milking this for all it’s worth.

You may hereafter refer to me as Your Royal Heinie.

(I’ll keep you updated on all the doin’s– apparently there’s a parade, WOO to the stinkin’ HOO!)

If you’ll excuse me, I have to go practice now…

22 Responses

  1. VA-Cathy

    Love, love, love!!!! I want to go to that store!!

    Missed you lots – glad you’re back!

  2. auburn60

    I’m so glad you posted the itinerary. Let me go on record as saying that I will NOT be attending the 10 mile run. :) I read that 10,000 souls attend this festival. How do 10,00 people fit in Bell Buckle? Sounds like Gaither Family Fest with fewer places to crowd into to eat. Is it wall-to-wall humanity? “Knights of the Moon Pie Round” is intriguing; is Russ eligible for entrance yet or are there residence requirements? I’ve been trying to talk my family into attending and I thought I had them at “world’s largest moon pie”…we’ll see. I’ve never spent any time in BB, just driven through there. Have you checked the weather forecast? Can’t have a good coronation with frizzy hair, y’know. And do you get to reign for the whole year? Can you conduct royal business from your front porch? So many things to consider. Do you need a lady-in-waiting? Or a jester? You know my background in medieval history. Always ready to protect and to serve. Or is that the Marines? I don’t know. I’ve never been this close to real royalty before.

  3. jonny

    Missed you too much as well lately !! Thanks for the up-dates on the moving, especially considerin’ the delicate, swoonin’ condition you have every Southern Bell, lady-like right to be in = ) Thanks also for the two videos. I’ve driven by Bell Buckle, now I know where to stop by the next time round = )

    AND, now that you are Moon Pie Royalty and all, any connections with gettin’ a Moon Pie care package off to Moon Pie lackin’ Helsinki, Finland with a nice variety of them delicious little devils ?? = D

  4. tori

    VA-Cathy: Glad to be back! And yeah, I could spend all day in Billy’s store.

    auburn60: To tell you the truth, I’ve never actually attended the Moon Pie Festival before– but the thought of 10-15,000 people descending on Bell Buckle does kind of boggle my mind! I know all of the shop owners are definitely gearing up, they are having entire pallets of Moon Pies delivered daily! And oh yes, I plan to happily reign right up until this time next year when they pry my crown and sash away from me!

    small j: I’ll have my minions get right on it. (I’ll probably get some minions along with the title, wouldn’t you think?)

  5. okdebby

    So wish we were closer; I would love to squeeze my way in to Bell Buckle for the Moon Pie Festival! Alas, we don’t head to Tennessee until Labor Day weekend. (wondering if I can talk the Hubs into a day trip to Bell Buckle . . .)

  6. jonny

    “And oh yes, I plan to happily reign right up until this time next year when they pry my crown and sash away from me!”

    Please ask Charlotte to film that for us = )

  7. Barbara M. Lloyd

    Oh dear, I am all a twitter (boy, does that sound dumb…let’s just say I’m excited for you. However, this does present a problem for me. You see, I may be able to manage to bow without falling on my head…but that curtsey…I doubt my knees would hold the weight for that and I would end up an embarassing pile at your feet, your highness. Maybe I should stay at the motel and be a Lady in Waiting.

    Let’s make a deal…let’s hug. I’m pretty good at that. Shucks, I just remembered that I can’t touch you.

    Well, I know you will be delightfully happy during your year-long reign. As for me, I’ll be glad when it’s over so I can get a plain ‘ole hug.

  8. Lake Neuron

    I enjoyed meeting the two of you at the cafe last week — my story’s going to run as the centerpiece of the Times-Gazette’s Sunday life and leisure section, which rolled off the presses today. (It’s the one part of the Sunday paper we print in advance.) It will be online Sunday as well.

    John Carney ( http://lakeneuron.com )

  9. Gramma Jac

    Hard to type–I’m in a full curtsy!!

    (I’m still in it–I don’t think I can get up!)


    Congrats!!!! (On the move to B.B. and the move into royalty!)

  10. bettyrwoodward

    I do so wish we were still in this part of the world then but unfortunately we will be back in England. It sounds like fun and wish I could be there. We are expecting loads of pictures! Enjoy!

  11. rachelbaker

    Your Majesty! Welcome back.

    Is it bad that I’m not entirely sure what a moon pie is?

    Bell Buckle looks and sounds wonderful. The festival? Fun and slightly bizarre!

  12. Lake Neuron

    The original Moon Pie is a marshmallow filling between two large, soft cookies, covered in chocolate, although they have various other flavors nowadays.

    In old days, Royal Crown or “RC” Cola came in a larger-size glass bottle than either Coke or Pepsi, for the same price, and Moon Pie was one of the largest snack items sold in little country stores. So laborers would combine the two for sort of a make-do, on-the-go lunch, and the two products became linked in southern culture.

    Bell Buckle had a little generic community festival on the third Saturday in June, but it wasn’t doing well, and in 1995 one of the merchants happened to hear about the Moon Pie celebrating its 75th anniversary. So the town approached Chattanooga Bakery for permission to hold a Moon Pie festival. Company officials, not expecting much, shrugged and said “sure.” But the festival became a huge success. “Fun and slightly bizarre” is a quite accurate description. :)

  13. tori

    okdebby: I wish you were closer, too! This is gonna be FUN!

    small j: Oh, there WILL be filming… whether I like it or not!

    Momma Lloyd: You definitely have a special royal dispensation that excludes you from having to curtsey– hugs will be gratefully accepted! Shoot, I may curtsey to YOU!

    Lake Neuron: Hey John! Welcome to ‘Bloomr Nation, so happy you’ve joined the conversation! And thank you for your great explanation of the wonder that is the moon pie– we have a lot of international folks around here, and they are understandably underinformed!

    Gramma Jac: Hold on– I’m coming to help you! *gathers up royal skirts and runs like the dickens in your general direction*

    bettyrwoodward: Our timing was definitely off– I would SO love to have you experience this! Though of course, you are used to a slightly different level of royal coronation…

    rachelbaker: Yep, as John said, you nailed it– “fun and slightly bizarre” says it all! (Just like Russ and I!)

  14. jonny

    Yep, thanks Mr. Lake for filling us in on things = )

  15. auburn60

    So, I spent the day (well, part of it anyway, I’m not ENTIRELY a slug) watching you tube videos of past Moon Pie festivals. Um, very informative. Mostly clogging and eating. And odd costumes. I’m thinking all it needs is a good old fashioned “dinner on the ground and gospel sangin’ ” (Yes, “sangin’ “) Maybe you and Russ can work that in someday.

  16. LindaB

    How exciting……and delicious. I’ve always liked RC Cola—-thought it tasted a little like Dr. Pepper. Does it come in diet? I don’t know about that Moon Pie thing.

    Hope your reign is a happy one! Do the little princesses get to ride in the royal carriage? And get free Moon Pies? Are they jealous or embarrassed?

    Hurry up with the pictures already——-we don’t care if there are unopened boxes cluttering the place! We can identify! Can we please see your living room? We’ll take our shoes off. Promise.

  17. butterflykissesphotography

    Welcome to BB! It’s a great little town. It gets a little crazy during Moon Pie and Webb fair, but other than that, it’s small town U.S.A…with no stoplights!

    p.s. Don’t tell anyone, but we’ve got an AWESOME July 4th music/fireworks display too! (It’s Bedford county’s best kept secret.) :)

  18. AuntGail

    Welcome to Bedford County, Taff family. Bell Buckle is an amazing little town. God Bless you in your new home.

  19. James A.

    Tori, I am really looking forward to getting to know y’all. I’m sure we’ll run in the same circle (not many circles, here in Bell Buckle!)

    My wife, Julie, and I live in the big brick house on Maple. I’m also one of the Aldermen. I’ll see you Saturday…I’m the frontman for Speakeasy. Stop and say hi.

    Welcome home!

  20. bettyrwoodward

    I hope the king and queen have an amazing coronation today! Enjoy wish I could be there.

  21. Barbara M. Lloyd

    On June 15, 2013 another page of history unfolded in the adorable little town of Bell Buckle, Tennessee. Russ and Tori Taff had barely settled in their new home before finding themselves nominated King and Queen of the R C Cola and Moon Pie Festival. Proudly, they sat on the back of a convertible, while thongs (well, there were a few visitors, too) of adoring subjects clapped and cheered. The handsome King and beautiful Queen smiled and royally waved as they passed by their people and not a drop of perspiration dared to make an appearance on that hot, humid day.

    Soon after the grand parade, there was the official coronation, where their royal crowns were placed on their heads. It was at this moment that the handsome newly crowned king performed his first honorable and exquisitely perfected duty. He caught his Queen’s already slipping crown. (oh dear…so soon)

    A little later in the day, they performed their first official duty by serving their subjects pieces of a huge moon pie baked especially for that day. They did this with grace and so much class that the waitresses at the famed Bell Buckle Cafe stared in disbelief and in hopes of picking up some valuable tricks of the trade.

    That evening the Queen whipped into perfection with her own dainty little hands a huge banana pudding…while the King literally sang for his supper nearby. You see, this was necessary because the Queen, in their move to Bell Buckle, had lost all of her pots and pans.

    As the day came to a close, family and friends of the royal family said their goodbyes…and the King and Queen took their pretty princesses back to their warm and charming palace….knowing that all was well in their kingdom, after a day filled with fun and love.

  22. bettyrwoodward

    Thanks Momma Lloyd. Glad it went well!

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