This column originally appeared in the Smith Mountain Eagle on April 30, 2008.
Howdy! Ida B. Peevish coming at you from Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop in the heart of downtown Rock Bottom US of A, where we are running our May Day Hay Day special, wherein we will give you a discount on dying your hair the same color as hay, so if you are helping bale, and you forget to wear a hat, you won’t look as if your hair is covered with hay. It’ll blend right in. Now, lessee what we got in the mail:
Dear Ida B. My wife and I went to the big city to one of them fancy grocery stores on Old Codger’s Day, wherein those of us over a certain age get a 5% discount. Now my wife is a little over the hill and a little off the scale, if you know what I mean. Anyhow, when she went to one section of the store to get some eggs, all this cackling started over the loudspeakers like the store folks was making fun that she was an old hen (which I will be the first to admit that she is). Then she went to another counter to get some milk and all this mooing come over the loudspeakers like the store folks thought she was an old cow (which I will be the first to admit that she is). What I want to know, Ida B, is how they do that. If all they got to do is press a button, how do I get a job like that? And how do I get my wife to stop being mad at me for laughing?—Mystified
Dear Mystified: Some things are best left a mystery, like why that store wants to insult porky women of a certain age and why you want a job doing that. However, to get your wife to stop being mad, I suggest you present her with a gift certificate for a complete makeover at Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop. Even if she stays mad at you, at least she will look prettier.
Dear Ida B. My husband Bubba got a job mowing yards over at Slick Water Lake where folks will pay for things like that. He said that his regular job down at the factory don’t pay enough. Anyhow, he is gone two or three evenings a week, and he always comes home hot and sweaty and tired. Sometimes he goes right to bed without saying a word. The last month or two, I have noticed that he don’t have grass on his clothes, his lawn mower is as clean as when he left with it, and he don’t seem to be using any gas in it. In fact, the last two times, it has been raining real hard when he was supposed to be mowing. Last night he came home with lipstick on his collar, which does not usually happen when doing lawn-work. Ida B., do I have a right to be suspicious? If so, what ought I to do?—At Home Wife
Dear Homey: Yes, you have the right to be suspicious. All wives do. I suggest that you tell him that you’ve decided to help with his lawn work. If you do, odds are good that he’ll inform you that he just lost the job. If he doesn’t do that, he might plan to sneak off without you, so make sure you’re waiting in his truck at least an hour before his regular departure time. If he takes off before you can get in the truck, then follow him. Be sure to take a camera because odds are good you will discover some Kodak moments, the pictures of which will help you in the dee-vorce settlement.
Dear Ida B. My husband has gone middle-age crazy, except he’s too old for that. Anyhow, now that he’s retired, he has been thinking up things that he always wanted to do. Recently, he decided that he wanted to be a pirate, so he painted his bass boat black and put a skull and crossbones flag on it and convinced some of his buddies to join him. Well, they have been cruising Slick Water Lake and boarding boats that some of them rich yankees have and robbing them. He says they can afford it and if they report him, who is gonna believe their boat was attacked by pirates in the middle of Slick Water Lake. Anyhow, what should I do with the money he has been bringing home and stuffing under the mattress?—Captain Hook’s Wife
Dear Hooker: You should take the money and spend it down here at Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop. If you let it accumulate, the next thing you know, he will spend it on a parrot which you will end up cleaning up after. Plus you will have to listen to the thing screech and holler if it doesn’t go on the boat with him.
Dear Ida B. I just found out that May 3 is “Garden Naked Day.” Does anybody celebrate it in Rock Bottom and if so, where? And are they good-lookin’ gals?—Ben Leerin
Dear Leery Old Coot: There are good reasons why folks don’t garden nekkid in Rock Bottom. Three of them are ticks, chiggers, and sunburn. A full-body sunburn is not fun on account there is no way to sit so you are comfortable. Add in some itchy, crawly critters and the misery increases. The good-lookin’ gals will either be out on Slick Water Lake or else they’ll be down here at Ida’s Salon of Beauty & Live Bait Shop so they’ll qualify to be called good-lookin’. They won’t be gardening.
Well, that’s it for another go-round. Remember, you get what you pay for, talk is cheap, and my advice is free.