Thursday, October 08, 2009

“Breakfast With George Jones”

c. 2009 Rod Ice
All rights reserved

It was an early morning in the Icehouse home office.

The aroma of breakfast sausage wafted deliciously from a cast-iron skillet on my kitchen stove. This blend of sage and meat combined perfectly with the essence of fried potatoes that lingered nearby. Below, buttermilk biscuits were baking in the oven.

Wind rustled playfully through branches of pine outside the window. My computer glowed in the gray light of dawn. Peaceful thoughts wakened with the daylight.

As I savored coffee, the symphony of flavors worked a magic spell on my senses. The new day seemed to brighten with each breath of rural cuisine.

Suddenly, my wife appeared in the doorway. She was in her most stylish pink sweatsuit.

“Working out this morning?” I said with a grin.

“Yes,” Liz answered. “But I’d rather be here. It smells like we’re staying at a southern hotel…”

My mood brightened. “I found something new at the store.”

“New?” she mused.

“That’s right,” I answered. “Down home sausage from George Jones, the Country Music legend…”

“George who?” she sputtered.

“Jones!” I exclaimed. “Hey, you’re the fan of hillbilly tunes, Miss Haybale. Don’t tell me you’ve never heard of him!”

Her reply was a blank stare.

“C’mon!” I implored. “He’s the prototype for that whole genre.”

She looked at me with suspicion in her eyes.

“Really!” I continued. “Jones is a living icon. He’s been imitated a thousand times over. He redefined what it meant to be a Country performer, in postwar terms.”

Her eyebrow raised, defiantly.

“George Jones blazed the trail for everyone that came afterward,” I proclaimed.

“What about Toby Keith?” she pleaded.

“Toby??” I said with exasperation.

“I’d rather listen to him than Tom Jones!” she snorted.

“George!” I repeated. “MISTER GEORGE JONES!”

“I never saw your Jones guy in a pickup truck commercial,” she taunted. “Toby gets those all the time.”

I sighed, loudly. “Okay. Never mind…”

“So, anyway… where did you find Tom Jones’ sausage?” she laughed. “At Walmart?”

“Not TOM Jones!” I said with a frown. “GEORGE Jones!!”

“Whatever,” she coughed.

My face reddened. “And… I found the breakfast meat at Thompson Hardware, Feed & Supply.”

“They have groceries?” she said with amazement.

“Yes,” I assured her impatiently. “About what you’d expect from a convenience store.”

Liz folded her arms. “Well, I’m so happy for you. Will this be the subject of your next newspaper column?”

I pondered for a moment. “You know, that’s a cool idea…”

“Rodneyyyyy!!” she squealed.

I bowed my head.

“That’s really what you’re working on this morning?” she said.

“Actually no,” I confessed.

She tapped her forehead. “No… let me think. Maybe another feature about pork rinds? Or UFOs? Or aliens that eat pork rinds while flying their UFOs?”

My stomach began to hurt.

“The current idea is a twist on our government’s notable ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program,” I said. “Sort of a new version of the bailout concept.”

“Another bailout rant?” she said without emotion.

“Yes,” I admitted. “But offered with a sense of humor…”

“Boring!” she complained. “I’d rather read about your breakfast sausage.”

My face tingled with embarrassment. “Please, honey, just listen and see what you think!”

Before she could argue, I began to read from the computer screen:


1. CASH FOR CLUCKERS – A farming initiative aimed at preserving America’s global dominance of poultry production.

2. CASH FOR CLIQUERS – A federal program to promote the study of small, divisive groups as a persistent social phenomenon.

3. CASH FOR CLOGGERS – Needed help for the Appalachian community. A way to preserve the region’s unique cultural heritage by spurring artistic development.

4. CASH FOR CLICKERS – Federal support for computer mouse manufacturers in the face of aggressive new touch screen systems.

5. CASH FOR CLOCKERS – Development money for new, cutting-edge timepieces. Guaranteed to place America at the forefront of new wristwatch development and digital alarm innovation.

6. CASH FOR CLICKETY-CLACKERS – A bailout for the nation’s underused railroads. With the idea of mass transit gaining popularity, this program would fund needed infrastructure repairs and expansion across America.

7. CASH FOR CLIPPERS – A bailout aimed at attracting new generations of hairstylists and barbers to the industry.

8. CASH FOR CLINGERS – Money devoted to a long-term psychological study of needy people and their emotional tendencies.

9. CASH FOR CLOSERS – A program to develop the most valued of baseball resources: a dependable closing pitcher. It would level the playing field for prospective athletes from small market areas.

10. CASH FOR CLOTHESPINS – An environmentally friendly program aimed at reviving the lost art of drying garments naturally, outdoors. A side benefit: reduction in the carbon footprint of electric dryers.

11. CASH FOR CLUBBERS – A research grant to investigate the wayward social habits of college youth. In particular, why our best and brightest students often choose to dull their prodigious intellectual capabilities with beverage alcohol.

12. CASH FOR CLYDESDALES – Aid to help strengthen the genetic prowess of this famous equestrian breed. Side benefit: corporate cooperation from Anheuser-Busch.

13. CASH FOR CLOSEOUTS – Support for America’s fragmented discount store industry. Intended to help shift production of low-buck items back to the U.S. from China.

14. CASH FOR CLODHOPPERS – Assistance for designers and producers of unfashionable, oversized footwear.

15. CASH FOR CLAPPERS – A voucher program that would make it possible for every citizen of the United States to own at least one ‘clap on-clap off’ device for home use.

Liz chewed her lip for a moment, after I’d finished reading.

“Okay, how about this,” she spoke at last. “CASH FOR CLIMBERS – A program to help telephone linesmen who have been laid off as people switch to cell phones.”

I was speechless.

“Well??” she added. “It fits your idea. Right?”

I nodded.

“So use it,” she prodded.

“Sure,” I agreed. “But right now… breakfast is almost done. And I’m getting hungry!”

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