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Leslie? Calm down, Leslie. Yes, I know that is the third television I have broken this football season. I’ll buy a new one. Never you mind where I’ll find the money for it. I’m a man of means. Means enough that, if you cease this infantile complaining, we can end this evening sharing a meal at Cracker Barrel.

Thank you. I’m glad that got your attention, as I knew that it would. After all, this was a marriage saved from my dalliances by the Chicken n’ Dumplins Platter. No, the “Country Dinner Plate” size—with its mere two sides—wasn’t enough to return bliss to the bridal bed, but the “Fancy Fixin’s® Platter,” boasting a decadent three sides, had you purring like a kitten.

And the three sides you chose that evening? They were fried okra, cheese grits, and the hash brown casserole.

Never accuse me of not remembering, Leslie. Never.

Do you remember that admittedly ill-advised attempt at performing the great feat of William Tell, and shooting an apple with an arrow off of our son Bobby’s head, may he rest in peace? It wasn’t God or love or prayers that got you through those dark times, Leslie: It was five helpings of the Country Fried Shrimp entree, which comes with not only a pound of those delicious crustaceans, but boasts three hush puppies to boot. How do they manage to serve a pound of fried shrimp for less than $10? Well, let’s just say Bobby might not have made it, but we still know there are miracles in this world.

So please, finish wiping that scowl off your face, Leslie, because it began to break at the mere thought of perusing the country wares that await us in the store’s atrium. Will you be treating yourself to a tincture, salve, or liniment from world-renown manufacturer J.R. Watkins? Perhaps that Best of Bonanza DVD tin that caught your eye during our last visit, where we shared a lovely evening after my 24 lunch beers led me to back over your beloved dachshund, Señor Cantaloupe? Or will tonight be the night we pull the trigger on that 20 #1 Hits – Ultimate Alabama compact disc and make enough love to its sweet strains to burn off the calories of our dessert Double Chocolate Fudge Coca-Cola Cake?

Remember, Leslie: There is nothing in this world priced $11.99 and under is too good for you. Nothing.

John Papageorgiou

John hosts a long running comedy radio show titled Papa's Basement. He also performs standup and improv and drummed once for a Unitarian church.

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