[gardeners] DeDe tells all about Chatty's 'taters

Cousin DeDe (gardeners@globalgarden.com)
Sat, 4 Jul 1998 20:40:34 +0000

Dear Beulah Mae,

'Afore I get back to telling you about Chatty's taters, I hope you won't
mind an old woman tooting her own horn just a mite. (If you do mind; well,
that just goes to show that you didn't inherit your daddy's tin ear, so
just grab yourself some cotton from the aspirin bottle and stuff it in your

Edna and I won the five-legged sack race and the Cherry Bomb Toss Up
contest today. We got us a whole sack full of Daddy Long Legs as prize for
stuffing the most legs into the sacks for the race. We got a citation from
Sheriff Yang himself for winning the Cherry Bomb Toss Up. We get to pack up
and go to Goree for thirty whole days and night. Expenses paid! Meals
included! Clothes and shoes provided, too! And they're even going to throw
in a free course in data processing so we can improve ourselves once we get
out. Brings tears to my eyes. Only in America, as Daddy would have said.

Anyway, the 'taters. The shame of this year's Fourth of July feeding,
fighting, feuding and flag waving festivities.

First off, the 'taters weren't white like they supposed to be. They was
colored. They weren't orange neither; that wouldn't have been so bad (I
gotta admit I done ate me some sweet 'tater salads that were right tasty).
No, Chatty went beyond the pale. Without a word of warning or explaining
herself, she marched out of the kitchen and plunked down blue, and pink,
and yellow, and kinda lilac-colored 'taters on the table in front of us.
You could have heard a cigarette butt being thrown out the window of a '57
Chevy cruising on down I-75 in the quiet that followed. People just didn't
know what to say. There they were -- the potatoes I mean -- all cut up in
thick slices and stacked every which way on that fine china turkey platter
that Aunt Edna bought when she and Jimbo was really working that press up
in the attic. It was a heart-stopper that's for certain.

Now it's not unusual for people around here not to say much while they are
at the dinner table. Dinner table time's for eating after all and that's
pretty serious bidness. Time for talking is after the foods all gone and
the women are out in the kitchen cleaning up and giving the leavings to the
dogs. But the silence that met those 'taters was purely unnatural. Reminded
me of the time that Preacher was saying words over Miz Rodgers casket and
the casket started slipping off the platform right onto Miz Rodgers' second
cousin's left toe. And he'd bought himself a new pair of Florsheims, too,
just for the occasion. (He inherited everything, as I'm certain you

Well, I don't got to tell you that nobody ate any of them 'taters. Chatty
didn't even have the decency to cover up their nekkidness with mayonnaise.
Nooooo, that Chatty Cathy really outdid herself. Poured something she
called a Vinegaroon over 'em Said that Mayo just wasn't "right" for her
'taters. Lord, you think that would have told Chatty something right there.
Anything that ain't right with Mayo just ain't right. Period. But truth be
told, I think we all got to take some blame in Chatty's shame. We never
should have let her take that job down at the Hearts Café and Hardware
Emporium. Put all kinds of notions into her head it did. That kinda fancy
cooking just isn't gonna play here in The Potting Shed. I'm going to send
that gal down to The County Agent's office next week and hope them folks
can talk some sense into her head about what's Right and Fitting and Proper
to Plant in These Parts. Yes, indeed. We're going to get that gal back on
the straight and narrow even if it takes all the neighbor's watching her
garden to do it.

Your cousin DeDe
P.S. - I got a long letter from Preacher. I done sent it along to you, so
you could write him back yourself iffin you had a mind.