Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Courtly Stuff & Statue Beheadings

This column was originally published in the Smith Mountain Eagle on July 11, 2007.

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 it is too doggone hot to do much of anything, but for some reason we have a steady stream of male customers wanting manicures now that my manicurist Honey Sue Sweetwater has started wearing her bikini to work so she can go straight to Slick Water Lake after she gets off. Now lessee what we got in the mail. Most of it seems to be of a courtly nature.

Dear Ida B. I was in downtown Rock Bottom the other day and weren’t nary a soul on the street. I walked past the courthouse and happened to look in the window. The place was packed with old codgers just setting there and watching a trial. What is going on? Was there a big case that I didn’t hear about?—Visitor

Dear Visitor: Not much happens in Rock Bottom to warrant a big case. We don’t have much criminal activity here on account nobody has anything worth stealing, so most criminals go to bigger cities to commit their crimes. What we do have in the courthouse is air conditioning and comfortable chairs, so a lot of locals wander in to partake of those amenities after they’ve gotten a manicure from Honey Sue Sweetwater here at Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop. Plus they get entertained by finding out who is passing bad checks, who shop-lifted, who trespassed and how, and who is involved in domestic disturbances. Watching trials is better than watching reruns on TV, and you are likely to know or be kin to the folks involved. Shortly after court is dismissed, news of who is guilty and what they’re guilty of hits the streets. Soon all this gossip makes its way to Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop where we improve on it considerably.

My dee-vorce lawyer, Maycomb Philmore Payne, says he is now being asked for his autograph pretty regularly by some of his fans in the courtroom, so he is thinking about having little legal action figures made up to sell during court recesses.

Commonwealth Attorney Noll Prost has given some thought to charging admission to some of the more spectacular trials, but figured if he charged the spectators for watching, he might have to pay the accused for appearing. Consequently, it is still free to watch court cases in air-conditioned comfort, so that is why it is popular with a lot of Rock Bottomites. Also many wives lock the old codgers out during the day so they don’t get underfoot, and they have to go somewhere until their wives let them back in.

If you’d like to watch the proceedings, you’d best get there early for a good seat. They go fast on hot days.

Dear Ida B. Regarding the previous letter, does the Rock Bottom court have anybody like that TV Judge Judy. She is really hot!—Court-Watcher

Dear Old Codger: The Rock Bottom judge, the honorable Thoreau D’Booke Adam, is not exactly what you’d call hot except when the air conditioning at the courthouse goes on the fritz. In fact, many who have been found guilty by him say he is kinda cold-hearted where mercy is concerned. Since he is getting up in years, possibly his replacement will be hotter.
Ms. A. Judy Kater is a young up-and-coming defense attorney who might move up to a judgmental post when Judge Adam retires or expires, whichever comes first. She is about the only other official in court who might be considered hot on a fairly regular basis. However, her defensive clients are mostly the ones who are charged with writing bad checks, and when she gets them off, they pay her by check. Then she has to get a warrant against them when their checks bounce, they hire her again, they pay her by check—well, you can see how she stays busy but doesn’t make much money in the legal field. Therefore, she sometimes models for the Rock Bottom House of Polyester up at the mall to make a little extra money and to get her courtroom attire at a good discount. The week she was modeling swimwear in court, there was standing room only in the courtroom and not just when the bailiff said, “All rise.”

Dear Ida B. In the town where I live, some feller run his truck into the statue of our generic Confederate hero and demolished it. Has anything like that ever happened in Rock Bottom?—Rocky Mounty

Dear R.M. As a matter of fact, it has. Just last week, a mule kicked the statue of the Unknown Confederate Camp-Follower and knocked off most of her skirt. At first a lot of folks were indignant, but then they realized two important things: (1) the repairs would cost money and (2) the Unknown Confederate Camp-Follower did her best work without her skirt. Thus, they figured they could live with the damage.

For those of y’all who ain’t heard about the Unknown Confederate Camp-Follower, she was the gal who entertained General Hooker and his troops so well that he forgot about invading Rock Bottom, so all of the deserters who had been hiding were saved. Since Rock Bottom didn’t have any other Civil War heroes to speak of, unless you count General C. U. Later who was bitten by an alligator while hiding in a swamp (the “C.U. Later/Alligator” skirmish), 19th century Rock Bottomites decided to honor someone who had done something to benefit them.

Well, that’s it for this go-round. Remember, you get what you pay for, talk is cheap, and my advice is free.
Blatant commercial for one of my buddies: If y'all need some fine handcrafted purses, check this out.

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.