Monday, June 02, 2008

Hands-On Religion, Romance & Tick-picking

This column was originally published in the Smith Mountain Eagle on June 27, 2007. My attempt to be timely now appears sadly out-dated. Remember when Paris Hilton was in jail? And my book has been out for nearly a year!

Howdy, Ida B. Peevish coming at you from Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop located in the heart of downtown Rock Bottom, US of A, where Rev. Al E. Looyah wants me to tell y’all that he will not be conducting services at the Rock Bottom Church of the Surging Inner Spirit for a while on account of he had to go to California to do some hands-on ministering to a little gal named Paris Hilton who is having a hard time coping with her imprisonment. Rev. Al is especially good at hands-on ministering to good-looking little gals, especially those with money. Anyhow, he says that the congregation can just play Bingo on Sunday mornings until he gets back, as long as they tithe 10% of their winnings. He is aware that most of the congregation does their most fervent praying during Bingo, especially when some good prizes are at stake. Now lessee what we got in the mail:

Dear Ida B. Now that Paris Hilton is doing time for all that wild stuff she did, what do you reckon that little accessory dog of her is doing? Are little bitty accessory dogs popular in Rock Bottom? Doggie Lady

Dear DL: I figure that little Tinkerbelle dog is celebrating. Finally he can just be a dog instead of having to wear all them little outfits and get taken to places that ain’t fit for a dog. As for Rock Bottom having little accessory dogs, the only place you will find them is at the Rock Bottom Mobile Home Park where the homeowners association rules require at least three chihuahuas per singlewide and five per doublewide. These feisty little dogs provide security because bite marks on the ankles can discourage many a would-be burglar. However, they are also accessory to a number of crimes, becuase it’s easy to get your pocket picked when you are distracted by something biting you on the ankle.

Dear Ida B. My potential fiancee and I will be at Slick Water Lake to look at condos we’re thinking of buying, and I want to pop the question to her in a romantic setting. I’m thinking of a picnic in a meadow, with wine and whatever gourmet meal travels well in a picnic hamper. As we lie in the grass, I want to propose to her. Afterwards, we will run through the tall grass together. What do you think? Where can I find a suitable meadow in the vicinity of Rock Bottom?—Romantic at Heart

Dear Lunatic at Heart: All of us down here at Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait shop are laughing about your plans. For a while, we couldn’t figure out what a meadow was because no one around here uses that term. Then we figured that it was either a hayfield or a pasture on account of the tall grass. Of course, at certain times neither will have tall grass depending on whether the hay has just been cut or the grass is all gnawed off by whatever livestock is living there. Anyhow, after we all stopped laughing at your stupidity, we decided that you need a little educating in the ways of rural America.

For one thing, tall grass ain’t romantic on account of the critters therein. Granted, picking ticks off each other can be an intimate experience y’all will not long forget, but there ain’t no easy way to get the chiggers off yourself, much less someone else. Chiggers are an irritation that keeps on irritating. I will not even get into the snake-in-the-grass problem.

Now, should you try to have the romantic moment in a cow pasture, you have an additional set of irritations. Cows are not picky where they go, and I’m not talking direction here. If you plop down in a pasture, you are likely to experience a cow pie up close and personal, and I’m not talking pastry. Also, if you do much cavorting around and running, make sure you ain’t wearing a red garment (or if you have divested yourself of garments make sure your sunburn ain’t too red). Otherwise, you might get a little more personal attention from the bull than you would like. I hope you can run fast. Trying to out-run a half-ton of angry bovine don’t exactly make for a romantic encounter, especially if you have to stop and scratch your chigger bites.

As for gourmet meals, all you can get in Rock Bottom is something deep-fried, which is likely to attract a lot of flies while you are busy popping the question. One advantage to the deep-fried food, though, is that if your intended has fat fingers, the grease can help you slide the ring on a little better.

If it’s a romantic setting you’re after, most of us down here at Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop suggest that you and your sweetie just go to the Rock Bottom Drive-In Movie Theater (which has a full service snack bar), park in the last row where you have more privacy than up-front, and wait for a dull part in the movie before you propose.

Dear Ida B. Can you suggest some good summer reading? I will be having guests arriving weekly at my Slick Water Lake home, so I need something escapist that doesn’t have a complex plot, can be read in spare moments, and can be easily replaced if my guests steal it when I’m not looking.—Lite Reader

Dear Lit Reader: You are in luck! My latest book, More Peevish Advice, is now available. It certainly meets all your criteria. In fact, More Peevish Advice will make its world debut on July 11 at 2:00 p.m. at the Daily Grind in downtown Rocky Mount. Please do not confuse Rocky Mount with Rock Bottom; one is hilly and the other ain’t. I am able to get away from Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop on account everybody is too sweaty in mid-July to want to get their hair fixed.

Well, that’s it for this go-round. Remember, you get what you pay for, talk is cheap, and my advice is free.

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