As some of you know, I’m in Mississippi for a few weeks while my mother recovers from knee surgery. I haven’t spent such a long stretch of time here since I moved away at the age of 21. I love my life in Denver, but there is a reason I continue to write stories set in Mississippi. No other place provides such interesting material. Here are just a few interesting things I’ve discovered or re-discovered in the past couple of weeks.
Boiled peanuts are delicious. I have always loved them. You cannot get them in Colorado or in most places outside the South, but here they are sold in vats on the side of the road or in the local grocery store or at the farmers market. When my father was alive he cooked up huge batches on the back porch and stored them in the freezer. I keep buying them by the large scoopful with a plan to eat some now and have some later. There are never any left for later.
- My mother, who rarely takes an aspirin and is already scaling back on pain medication from her recent surgery, used to take an over-the-counter medication called Paregoric to deal with aches and pains. She often swallowed a spoonful in the morning before driving us to school. Spoiler alert: Paregoric is morphine.
- We may have mob connections in a far branch of the family. The less said about that, the better.
- My aunt does not care for salmon or asparagus and she eats almost everything else in slow, careful teaspoonfuls. Except ice cream. Ice cream she eats with gusto.
- My mother gives her cats more treats each day than most cats get in a month. This is the same woman who wouldn’t allow her own daughter to eat olives out of the jar because they were too expensive and not for snacking.
- It is nearly impossible to go somewhere and not run into someone you know. So far I’ve randomly crossed paths with the mother of a friend I’ve known since first grade, my high school chemistry teacher, three cousins and an aunt, and an old college friend.
- Whenever my high school friends get together they will attract some drunk dude talking about the virtues of Jesus and how women ought to be put on a pedestal except for his soon-to-be ex-wife, who is a bitch.
- Drunk dudes in Mississippi believe God and karma are the same thing, or maybe that God dispenses karma. Also that I am beautiful even when I am foolishly trying to explain that God and karma aren’t part of the same belief system.
- My friends think it’s hysterical when I try to explain things to drunk dudes.
I’m here for another week and a half. Who knows what will happen next?