Dear Ida B. Is anything of a cultural nature happening in Rock Bottom?—High-Toned
Hi, Tony: As a matter of fact, we have a Rock Bottom literary event on the horizon. Upson Downer’s new inspirational memoir, Life’s a Downer, will be hot off the press soon. Not the printing press. His book was actually published last year, but—as he was trucking the thousand copies home from the printer—a storm came up and soaked all the boxes in the back of his open pick-up where they have remained damp ever since. Luckily Stanley “Spot” Lifter, owner of Rock Bottom Dry Cleaners, who rarely gets any business because folks just throw their clothes into their washing machine and hope for the best, has an industrial-type pressing machine and promises to iron out all the damp, wrinkled pages in time for Upson’s reading and signing at the Rock Bottom Livestock Market sometime before Christmas. We are not able to give an exact date for this event on account some buyers have not yet picked up their cows. Keep in mind that previous book readings and signings have not gone over too well in Rock Bottom because if an author reads the book to them, folks figure out they don’t need to buy it since they’ve already heard the good parts. Also, signing is not a very exciting spectator sport. Most Rock Bottomites like events with some action, preferably events that involved hollering, fighting, shooting, racing, and betting—none of which are likely to happen at book-signings. Even worse, spectators ain’t likely to buy bait or get their hair done beforehand, so it doesn’t profit us here at Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop either.
Dear Ida B. I will be hosting a dinner party during the holidays. Could you give me some suggestions to make the event less stressful? I’m attending a series of dinner parties before I give mine, and I don’t know when I’ll find time to prepare.—Still Getting Over Thanksgiving
Dear Get-Over-It: Don’t try to recycle your Thanksgiving leftovers, even though the green mold on the turkey will certainly give your dinner a festive look. If you haven’t fed your Thanksgiving leftovers to your dawg, now is the time to do so. If you don’t have a dawg, you ought to get one. Dawgs are invaluable to help with clean-up when you spill stuff, and they help persuade your guests not to overstay their welcome. Also, if anybody gives you a fruitcake as a hostess gift, the dawg can take care of it. Just in case you ain’t been previously warned, never eat a gift fruitcake. Some have been passed around through various Rock Bottom/Slick Water Lake homes for years. If you are attending a bunch of other dinner parties, you’re in luck. Just carry a large handbag with a bunch of plastic containers inside. When nobody is looking, just scrape some of whatever’s being served into your containers. When you get home, combine the contents of all your containers into a casserole and put plenty of grated cheese on top. If it’s dessert, again mix everything together and smother the result in whipped cream. If anybody asks what you’re serving, just say it’s a secret family recipe. Before your dinner party, be sure to stop in at Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop for a whole new look. If your guests are busy admiring how good you look, they won’t pay much attention to what you’re serving.
Dear Ida B. What can you suggest in the way of a door decoration that embodies the holiday spirit?—Needs Help
Dear Needy: You can’t go wrong with one of our red worm wreaths from Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop. It’s simple yet elegant. When it’s too cold to go fishing, we sometimes have an overstock of red worms that tend to take over the bait tank, so a couple of years ago, my manicurist, Honey Sue Sweetwater, got the idea of duct-taping them to a wreath, tucking a few evergreens behind them, and hanging them up. Those wriggly worms add an interactive effect that is so popular in decorations nowadays, but they don’t do annoying things like singing whenever anyone walks by. Plus, if Santa brings anybody in your household a new fishing pole, they can always go fishing with the worms who survive the holidays. (Note: Do not hang the wreath in direct sunlight, and be sure to moisten occasionally.) If you got a lot of grabby grandkids who are always tearing up your decorations and popping them in their mouths, a red worm wreath is a sure-fire cure for that. (You can coax the remaining worms to just lean over a little and no one will notice a few are missing.)
Well, that’s it for this go-round. Remember, you get what you pay for, talk is cheap, and my advice is free. Y’all have a Merry Christmas, here?