Aunt Eunice’s Country Kitchen

Yesterday morning I woke up bright and early & bright eyed and bushy tailed, loaded myself onto my bicycle, and headed out to complete what has been nearly a religious ritual for more than ten years. At 6:00 a.m., even in the dog days of ninety-nine degree summer heat, the air is still cool and fresh, and sauntering over to Aunt Eunice’s Country Kitchen for breakfast is a pleasant and refreshing respite.

Aunt Eunice and her Country Kitchen cooking have always been a delightful and delectable experience, and today I knew I could count on the same down home food and attention that always has been the Kitchen’s hallmark. Still, this morning would be different. This time I was an officially qualified candidate for Mayor of Huntsville.

For so many years, every week, I have sat down in one of them big ole lonely booths where I could only listen to the tales of the campaign trail, babe kissing, hand shaking, big money, big power, and fortune and fame. This time, my own credentials for the “liars table” were finally valid. And so I marched right in and sat myself down there where other notorious and fabled leaders, kings, and emperors have through the years begun their daily exercise of public enchantment. This is still where they work their magic. A little bit voodoo, and a little bit authority, and a little bit charm. And the people follow.

I guess I could have in the past claimed my place at he fabled liars table as a fisherman. But, somehow fishing has always seem a little too personal. I have always found fishing to be an experience of reverence and humility. And so to come in and boast about the twelve pound bass I had caught just last summer seemed to me to be just a little sacrilegious. Instead, I had thought it better to just simply let my loyal friends and compadres honor my trophy catch by word of mouth amoung themselves.

Now there I was, and I thought to myself, “now here I am, lets try one on ‘em and see how far I can go with it.” I says, “Hello, my name is Loretta Spencer and I’m running for Mayor of Huntsville.” The couple in the booth next to me looked up in a sort of a deadpan stare as if to say without saying a word, be quiet we’re having breakfast. Oh well. I glanced up at Eunice knowing that surely I must have worked my charms on her. She just glared back at me sorta like Aunt Bee sometimes does at Opee on Mayberry, and says, “you havin’ coffee?”

And I says “yes, ok, ok. All right, I’m not really Loretta, but I really am running for Mayor.” About this time another fella who had been keenly following the situation sits up straight in his seat and looks over my way and says he’s running for sheriff.

Well of course as you can rightly imagine, I had the window broke out and was halfway through it, when he had chased me down and grabbed me by the ankles and now was pulling me back in. All the while I’m thinking to myself that sheriff Joe has done already deputized this character and he’s about to shoot me before I can get away. About the time he got me pulled back through to the inside, and there I was plopped all out in the floor, he goes, “what I said is that I’m running FROM the Sheriff.” I took a deep breath and sighed with relief. And I says back at him, “…oh, uh, well I guess we’re in cahoots then.” He didn’t say what he was running for, so I didn’t ask. He still looked a little shifty and so maybe he might still be the sort of character to keep a little distance from.

And there I was again. “Aunt Eunice,” I says to her, “I’m really sorry about breaking that window.” She didn’t say nothing about it, but directly she eased off into the kitchen and before I knowed it here she comes back with a can of Crisco lard in her hands. She still didn’t say nothing, and I knew what she meant. So I reached up and yanked down the clothe curtains from around the window, then reached in the lard can and got a big handful, and then commenced to grease up them curtains real good. When they was real slick and oily all over, I tacked ‘em up covering the window and the broken glass using the stapler that usually sits on the counter next to the cash register. Then she says to me, “You owe me a nickel for the staples.” Aunt Eunice has always been funny like that. It kinda reminded me of nailing the head of a catfish to a tree trunk in the woods right before you skin it down. It worked just right, and looked right smart too. Most of the other visiting scoundrels would barely be able to see that the broke out window was in need of repair.

Aunt Eunice cast me another glance that looked a little more relaxed, and so I sat there a little more subdued from the humility of the experience and begun to quietly sup my coffee.

As hard as I tried, I just couldn’t think up no good lies. I sat and stared, looked out the other window, and stared and sat, and stared back at the kitchen. Nothin. Well, I didn’t know what to do then, so I just eased on out tellin’ Eunice not to let on which direction I was headed. I sure didn’t want Loretta trackin’ me down and hollering who do I think I am.

Back on my bicycle I loaded up, and off I went. The air was still pretty pleasant, the sweat on my brow dried up pretty quick, and at least I had finally made my attempt to be amoung the great and mighty at the liars table. Either way, I have throwed my hat in the ring as a candidate for Huntsville Mayor. Well, you know they say honesty is the best policy anyhow. And truth be knowed I guess that’s right. So, if you see me in there tellin’ a story next time, don’t let it hinder you none from casting your vote in my direction on August 22, 2000.

Cause, I really am running for Mayor.


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©2000, 2013 – Jim Casey
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