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"You're not going to put my answer in the paper, are you?"

I'd planned to. I didn't spend the day after Thanksgiving driving halfway to Mississippi to talk to Bubba McCoy for my health.

People want to know about Bubba and what he thinks, for some reason.

"Then just say my Thanksgiving was fine," he said, reclining at home and waiting for the Hogs and Missouri to kick off from Little Rock with literally nothing at stake.

"I watch out of lifelong habit," Bubba said. "But it never occurred to me to go."

All I'd asked was how Bubba's Thanksgiving had gone.

"Let me just say this," he eventually volunteered, unable to leave well enough alone.

"I want mashed potatoes and giblet gravy. I don't want mac-and-cheese. And I want cornbread dressing with onions and celery and sage. I want it lathered up in broth, made fluffy by whipped eggs. And I don't really need a green vegetable.

"It's Thanksgiving. It's Starch Plate Day in America."

He muttered that he loves his daughter and doesn't have any real problem with her dentist husband from over in Memphis. But ...

First, there's the matter of the blind-ingly bright teeth.

"I sat right here trying hard not to amuse him because I can't take the glare if he smiles. It's like having Thanksgiving with Joe Biden, and who wants that?

"I'm all for good dental health, but bleached teeth set against that golf tan--it ain't human-looking."

Bubba explained that Yvonne and the dentist only came over this year because their kids--his college-age grandkids, once the lights of his life--had no time for their own family this year. Both of them, the boy and the girl, were spending the day with their steadies' families, which Bubba thought was a crying shame.

So Yvonne invited herself and the dentist over and said she'd bring the side dishes if Mrs. Bubba would roast the turkey and bake her famous pumpkin chiffon pie.

Then Yvonne went to some trendy "gourmet" place in East Memphis and purchased some tasteless excuse for dressing, some brussels sprouts and a mound of mac-and-cheese. All she did was warm 'em up as directed.

There was no fruit salad. No ambrosia. There were no sweet potatoes, and certainly no marshmallows toasted on top. There was nary a drop of cranberry sauce until Mrs. Bubba found a can deep in the cupboard from who knows when.

There was Mrs. Bubba's giblet gravy but no place to put it.

"I was sitting there trying not to choke on these little rocks they were calling brussels sprouts and these gummy shells with baked cheese all over them they were calling mac-and-cheese," Bubba related. "And I was thinking, 'This is what's wrong with this country. We don't even know how to eat a Thanksgiving dinner anymore.'"

But at least the pumpkin chiffon pie was scrumptious, I assumed. A pumpkin chiffon pie is one in which the pumpkin filling has meringue folded into it.

When Mrs. Bubba introduced it about 30 years ago, having cut it out of a magazine, Bubba pronounced that there was no reason for any other pie to exist, and he hasn't altered that view.

"Yeah, but all three of them wanted a piece of it, too. I needed the whole damned thing myself to get the taste of the sprouts and gummy noodles out of my mouth.

"There's one piece left in there," he said, "and you can't have it."

What about the matters that brought me? What about impeachment and what about the presidential race?

At last, the rural wisdom: "Let me tell you about impeachment. There ain't a soul over here talkin' about it. It's not even happening as far as the people around here are concerned. They think it's just the Democrats and the media giving Trump a hard time for something they all do.

"I'm not telling you I think that's so. I'm just telling you how it is. It's not that the Democrats are gonna get a backlash. It's that there's no 'lash,' period. He'll get impeached. Big deal. He won't get convicted. Big deal. It'll be like it never happened."

Can the Democrats beat Trump in the election?

"Not around here. It's not that people are all that crazy about everything that blamed fool says. It's that he's been in there a while and the sky hasn't fallen, but people think it very well might if any of these Democrats get in there. The farmers are scared-er of them than they are mad at him."

Is there any Democrat running who could beat Trump?

"Maybe Biden, but only because people are conditioned by Trump not to worry so much anymore if a guy's mind is slipping. And having a kid who leaves messes--people around here get that.

"His blazing white teeth are all right by me just so long as he doesn't come for Thanksgiving."

------------v------------

John Brummett, whose column appears regularly in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, is a member of the Arkansas Writers' Hall of Fame. Email him at jbrummett@arkansasonline.com. Read his @johnbrummett Twitter feed.

Editorial on 12/01/2019

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