Lord have mercy! Is that you, Lance? Set your stuff down and come on in. Ha! Yeah, I know you said you wanted me to take you in the kitchen next, but lordy mercy, I had no idea you were planning on coming down here yourself. I’m awful glad you did though. We’ve got lots to talk about. Let’s go in the kitchen and get the coffee going and then we can sit down and talk. I know you’re tired. How long did it take you to get here? How about a little whiskey in yours? Oh, yeah. I remember the whiskey-in-a-mug. My grandma, my mother’s mother, kept whiskey as medicine. She took some for sinkin’ spells. You can wash your hands in the sink. Buddha? Oh, I don’t know why I keep him. He used to sit in the shower at the old house. My niece gave me Frog. He was supposed to go in the garden, but I like him in here. He’s funny. How long did you say it took you to get here?
Here’s a mug. If you want a bigger one, there’s a big one right there in the cabinet over the dove bowl. Yeah, that one. Oh, good grief, Lance. You’d say it’s big enough. You’re such a gentleman. You like Colombian? I get the medium roast beans. No, crazy man, not THE good CoIombian stuff. Those were the days, huh? I drink mine with lots, and I mean lots, of Bailey’s. Nah, I was lying about the whiskey. I never did drink sippin’ whiskey in my coffee.
You get the whiskey down outta’ the cabinet and I’ll grind up the beans. The cabinet over the refrigerator. You’ll have to get a steppin’ stool outta’ the laundry room. Yeah, it’s right around there. I never did drink much whiskey. I had a bad experience with some bourbon in college. I couldn’t stand the smell of the stuff for years after that. There might be some Wild Turkey in the back. I know there’s a bottle of Jack in there. Dean used to say, “There ain’t nuthin’ smooth as Jack Black”. And get down the Bailey’s too. Thanks.
Did you see Lucia over there? Of course you would know. Ah, yes, you’re right. I Promessi Sposi. I can’t remember the Italian. I can barely remember the English! I didn’t know the story until I bought Lucia years ago. I didn’t buy Renzo. I thought he was ugly. I felt kinda bad about it at the time. Ha! How silly. You know, I think I’m the only person alive who never liked Romeo and Juliet. Oh, I taught it, but I kind of brushed by it. I thought the kids ought to know who they were. Even Boy knows ’em and he’s just in the third grade. I hope they aren’t the only famous couples he finds out about. That’d be a shame.
I believe the coffee’s ready. You can pour your own. Everybody here fixes his own stuff. You take cream? Sugar? I didn’t think so. We can sit over there at the table. Here, let me shove that stuff out of the way. Do you like The Potter? I bought him a long time ago from Lafayette Ragsdale. He’s from somewhere in Tennessee, I think it was. I’m glad I bought it before he got famous. Would you reach up there and straighten it. Thanks. I always felt like a crooked hanging picture was sort of irreverent. That bothers me. Irma pays no attention when she dusts so I have to go behind her straightening pictures. Now. That’s better. I always thought that painting looked a little like Jesus or my husband.
Rita! Stop that! How many times do I have to tell you. You’re gonna’ get soap in your mouth. Go on. Get away from there. That’s a good girl. What was I saying, Lance? If I don’t watch her, she gets into everything in the kitchen.
You hungry? We could have some crackers and cream cheese. With some of my sister’s homemade jalapeno jelly. That stuff is really good. Test out the crackers. I don’t think they’re soft yet. I just opened them this morning. Get down, Anabelle! I told you we’re out of dog biscuits. See? The jars are empty. These girls think they have to get a treat every time I come in here. You not hungry yet, Lance? Okay. Let’s drink our coffee on the porch. That way, I can smoke while we talk. I better turn on the porch fan, I guess. I don’t want to smoke all over you. Grab those books on the corner if you will, please. They just came. I haven’t had a chance to look at them yet. Robert Frank. I don’t know anything about him. I saw The Americans and a book about Peru when I was looking for something else on Amazon. There’s a sleeve under there with photographs in it. I bet Portfolio is just a fancy name for a handful of photos, don’t you? Do you know anything about him?
Oh, you saw that! Yes, it was my mother’s knife. I had it put in a shadow box that opens on the back so I could take it out and hold it when I felt like it. She called it a butcherknife. One word. I don’t believe I ever heard anybody say it like that since she did. Yes, she did use it all the time. I can still see her standing at the kitchen sink cutting up a chicken or slicing a ham with it. She used it for everything. Daddy kept it razor-sharp with his whetrock. That’s what he called it. He’d sharpen it on a grinding wheel in the basement and finish it up with the whetrock. I watched him do it, but I never could. He kept telling me I was making it duller the way I was holding it. He said a dull knife would cut you quicker than a sharp knife. He said not to put a knife in hot water. Daddy was always fussing about how Your Momma could dull a knife faster than anybody he ever saw. She’d be embarrassed if she knew I put that old butcherknife in a fancy box. I don’t think she’d get it. She was not the nostalgic kind when it came to “the good old days”. To say the least.
Oh, Lord. I’ve done all the talking. Let’s go on out to the porch. You have to tell me all about your trip and what you’ve been painting and doing lately. Remind me to show you my old Delft plaque when we go back inside. It’s just so good to see you, Lance! One of these days, I’m gonna’ take you up on that offer. Yep, drink us some good ole sippin’ whiskey in a mug. If I ever get up to your place.