Y’all, sometimes my life is just a little difficult.
I mean, I try to do the right thing, follow my heart, take a risk, and all that sappy shit, and what happens but my heart gets broke into pieces.
I suppose it’s a funny story, when you get down to it, but I’m really struggling to find the bright side. See, I was having a bit of a bad day. I got an invitation to my high-school reunion, and I started remembering how when I was in high school I thought that by the time I got to be the age I am now, I’d be driving a Jeep Grand Cherokee, have a super-hot, super-rich husband with perfect hair, and a kid I could enter into beauty pageants.
Instead, I drive a car that makes me look like a drug dealer, I’m divorced with no kids, and the last guy I dated looked like Paul Giamatti in Planet of the Apes. Not something you bring up in casual conversation to the former head cheerleader and her CEO husband.
So I was feeling kind of down. To make myself feel better, I grabbed a case of Bud Light Lime (they taste like Fruit Loops to me) and headed home to sit on my couch and drink my blues away. I got about 4 and a half in and was almost done with my second episode of Desperate Housewives when I realized that I was pretty fucking hungry, and there isn’t much worse than being too drunk to drive on Bud Light Lime and not having any food except canned tuna. So I called in a pizza.
By the time the pizza guy arrived at my house, I was on beer #6. I think I was drunker than I realized, because when I answered the door, I accidentally tripped on the threshold and knocked the delivery guy on his ass. That would have been ok probably, except that the houseplant I had stuck outside fell off the ledge it was on and hit the delivery guy in the head. And he was knocked the fuck out. I tried to revive him with some mouth-to-mouth but he woke up pretty suddenly and I accidentally bit him.
Apparently mouths bleed a lot.
So….he pressed charges. Assault, I think it what the judge said. Apparently my mouth is a deadly weapon.
Thankfully the judge looked kindly on me (I think he likes Bud Light Lime, too) and I only got probation and community service and didn’t have to serve jail time. I also got to choose where I did my community service! And hell, y’all, if I can avoid picking up trash on the side of the road, I’m gonna. I opted for doing my time at the local nursing home. I love me some old people. They’ve got great stories, and most of them lived through the Depression, so I can pick up some money-saving tips. Like this one geezer who carefully cut the covers off of all of his Christmas cards and made Christmas postcards. Fucking brilliant.
The nursing home I was assigned to was called Fair Havens Care Center. I was super glad when I heard that. It just sounds quaint and like the inside might smell like cookies and meatloaf.
It didn’t smell like cookies and meatloaf. I eventually got used to it, and as I spent more and more time there I became pretty close to a few of the residents. Most were happy to see me coming. Edna May always tried to stand up and hug me, but the effort it took to stand made her let out a little poot every time, so I eventually started avoiding her. A lady named Gertrude seemed happy to see me, but I realized after a few weeks that it was because she had dementia and thought that I was her younger self. Which explained why she always tried to tell me not to give my flower to that mean Harold Robinson down the street. Big Earl greeted me from his wheelchair every morning with a big ol’ middle finger salute. I just smiled and said “bless your heart,” which as every good southern girl knows really means “fuck you, too.”
My favorite resident was perfectly normal, and even funny in her own way.
I just love the name Viola. It reminds me of orchestras and oversized musical instruments and listening to classical records with my Pee-Paw.
Viola and I hit it off right away. I walked in, and she complimented me on my use of accessories as a fashion statement, and I complimented her on the way she combined several different lace doilies to make a beautiful wall hanging, and after that I ended up spending most of my community service time with Viola. Mostly because I really liked her, but also because I had to get away from Edna May’s farting.
After a few afternoons of me sneaking in pizza and quarter-pounders for Viola, we decided to see what would happen if she went with me to go get an ice cream. Nobody at the front desk said anything, so we just hopped in my car and got a Frosty and came back. You’d have thought that I took her to Paris instead of Wendy’s. She even liked my car. She called it a “hotsy-totsy.”
Eventually I was going out to Fair Havens at least once a week to see Viola. Then one day we went for a ride on the ferry, and when the boat hit some turbulence she leaned in to my body and she laid one on me.
She fucking tongue kissed me.
Now, I hadn’t ever kissed a woman before, and I sure as hell hadn’t ever made out with the elderly before, so it was new experience for me on many levels. After I got over my initial shock, I realized that Viola was quite a good kisser, and I kinda got into it.
So that’s when we started dating. I’m not going to lie–it was a little hard to get used to at first. After all, she wasn’t very mobile, so it took us at least an hour to make a Burger King run. Still, I would take her to the Piggly Wiggly, to get her hair done, and to the park to make fun of the guys trying to pick up chicks with puppies. Then we’d go back to her room, pull the privacy curtain, and make out like teenagers. Well, not quite like teenagers, because being old Viola couldn’t handle me being rough with her.
Anyway, we had a real pleasant few months of dating, until I realized that the bitch was using me for trips to the grocery store and the hairdresser.
Y’all, there’s not much out there worse than realizing that your love is being traded for trips to the Piggly Wiggly. And that you’ve been had by an old woman who can barely walk.
Once I figured out that Viola didn’t like me for me, I decided that I would use her, too. She wasn’t going to be the only one to get something out of this relationship. Dammit.
And what are old ladies good at? Besides making out. Just saying–Viola knew how to use what the good Lord gave her. Anyway–old women are good at casseroles. And I love casseroles.
One of the best casseroles I ever made came from Viola. In fact, as soon as she gave me the recipe, I knew that this was probably the best she had, so I dropped her like a hot potato after that. And never went back to Fair Havens Care Center.
Take that, old biddy.
Anyways, here’s how to make one of the best casseroles I’ve ever had in my life. Thanks, Vi. But you broke my heart.
First off, you want to gather up everything you’re gonna need. I hate embarking upon a new recipe adventure and realizing that I’m missing something important. Like bacon.
For this lip-smacking treat, you’ll need:
- 1 pound of Velveeta
- 4 lb of potatoes
- 1 1/2 cups mayo
- 1 1/2 cup half & half
- 1 chopped up onion
- pack of bacon
You’ll first need to start the potatoes boiling. Don’t worry about chopping them up or skinning them yet.
When you put the potatoes in the pot to boil, you also need to put your Velveeta in the freezer. Now, I use the word “Velveeta” like some people use the word “Kleenex.” And just like most of those people, I’m not springing for the name brand when the off-brand is just as good.
Anyway, plop that sucker in the freezer and go rest your barking dogs for about 30 minutes while the taters are boiling.
After watching an episode of “I Wanna Marry Harry” and drinking another Bud Light Lime, head back to the kitchen and chop an onion.
You’ll also want to fry up that pack of bacon. I’m a big fan of letting the oven do the work and avoiding a ton of grease cleanup, so I always bake my bacon on a baking sheet in the oven on 350. It’s little trick I learned from Earth Momma, mine and Captain Anna’s friend who also happens to be a culinary star.
My potatoes were pretty big, so they finished up their boiling around the time that the bacon was finished–another 20 minutes.
When I took them out of the pot, they were flaky and the skin peeled right off.
Let the taters cool, and take the Velveeta out of the freezer and grate it.
That just helps it dissolve better when we mix it in.
Add the grated cheese to a mixing bowl.
Then roughly chop up the potatoes and add them to the bowl. I left some of the skin on for health reasons. You know that’s where most of the fiber and nutrition is.
Then get out your mayo and half & half. I love half & half. It’s so creamy.
Add 1 1/2 cups of each to the bowl.
Add everything to the mixing bowl and liberally salt & pepper. If you want to kick it up a notch, add some cayenne. But since I was sharing this with some people who don’t quite have my taste for bold flavor, I opted to leave it out this time.
Mix it all up.
Spread the mixture into whatever greased up containers you want. Rather than pour it all into 1 giant deep dish, this time I spread it into 3 more shallow ones. It makes me feel like I’ve worked three times as hard.
Bake the container(s) in the oven at 350 for about 30 minutes, until the top is bubbly and forms a little crust.
Remove it, then top with some of that delicious bacon.
Stick it back into the oven for 10 more minutes, then serve.
Eat that delicious son of a bitch.
Thanks, Vi. It was worth the heartbreak.
suck that, Martha.