When me and Mrs. Basset first moved to Tennessee my sugar was about right, so we really loved driving down a block from our house and spending lunch through dinner at Lester’s Gobs o’ Chicken and Ribs. The hamnoodle hamaroni went down reeel good with their sassafras and peanut butter shake. That was before Lester was forced to admit blacks and closed the place down, drove home in his Tundra Moss Gray Studebaker Avanti, shut the garage door and tried to gas himself- but his employees had sugared his gas tank and the engine cut out.

It was already getting hard to find good help.

Lester walked with his shotgun the whole half-block to the dealership to register a complaint and the police handcuffed him and he wound up in the bughouse. I used to visit him and we would eat the jello ham curry powder mold together. In those days the Nashville Home for the Delusional and Slightly Scary served buckets of whole, deep fried russet potatoes. Someone told me they put antipsychotics in the whipped butter, but I never noticed any, and I ate that delicious creamy delight by the fistful. Those were uncommonly peaceful, serene days. Sometimes I think about those times during the holidays and I get sullen and angry. I hate a Christmas tree.

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