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TATTOO’S MAILBAG ~ Letters to Hurricane Jeanne and Summer
by Tattoo, proud Floridian dawg (assisted by Gene Goodson)

Letter No. 1

September 2004

Dear Miss Jeanne:

Hey there, Miss Jeanne, how are you? Fine, I hope.

Ahem, Miss Jeanne, may I make a request of you? Nothing personal, you understand, but it's really not the best of times for a visit. Now, now lady, please don't take offense: I do not mean to infer that you are a Yankee. I know that hurricanes in Florida are right up there with the Daytona 500, Spring Break, Snowbirds and line dancing . . . sorta' like a tradition. But, what I mean is, your coming to see us really is taking away a lot of our golfing time here in Florida.

We do appreciate your transporting SUVs up to Indiana and Lord knows we need all the help we can get when it comes to bonding with our neighbors to the north. And what you do for GE, FPL, Home Depot, Lowes, WalMart and Target alone makes the stock market cry for joy. That makes up for a lot of inconvenience of your visit--especially when you are a Republican.

Normally, you would be as welcome as a bike riders' convention in Wetumpka, but your family comes acalling too often. No matter who it is, people and dawgs wear out their welcomes eventually, and too many in a row drives us to do crazy things--like pole dancing nude. And besides that, the early birds eat up the Early Bird Specials before dawn. Listen, just ‘bare’ with me . . . in a nutshell, here is pretty much what's already happened down here.

Take your scout, Bonnie. We barely knew she was here but we sure wish we had recognized her for who and what she was. She'd never have gotten a stool at the I Ain't Here Saloon.

Then, your brother Charlie showed his raising when he blew through a few weeks ago. He sauntered in and proceeded to pitch a boogie-woogie, leaving a path of destruction, i.e. wet towels and empty Dr. Pepper bottles. He was a "let's go to Outback to eat, left my wallet in my other jacket" kind of relative. We are still picking up chicken bones, empty pizza boxes and Texas~L~fried okra in the kitchen a whole lot and you know how long he's been gone. He left without even saying thank you, that no-manners scoundrel.

We were still standing in line for ice, toilet paper and cigarettes when Frances sashayed in, swinging her hips from side to side. That hussy! When I say she was TALL & WIDE, she was TALL & WIDE. She hung around the US like a barfly, if you know what I mean. She stalled and gave no excuse for getting here late, which is soooooo rude. She did not even have the courtesy to wear makeup. She was as wild and drunk as Charlie when she spread rumors she was coming out at “Cotillion” as a Category 5. Overblown floozy, that she was. Hell, she just oozed through.

And you know how some guests just don't leave? She was like that. Even when we sang, "The Girls All Git Purtier At Closin' Time," she just stayed and stayed. And then she stayed some more. I think she's hiding out in Tate's Hell right now and Tate’s Hell is next door to me.

Then hot on her heels and mad as hell came Ivan The Terrible stirring up trouble and leaving a path of misery everywhere. He did not discriminate between Southerners and Yankees as he forged uphill to Washington, D.C. Telephone lines fried in our house...."Are y'all, ok"...."I can't hear you, you're cutting out."...."I'm going over the Sunshine Bridge, if I lose......"....."Hello, can you hear me???"...."MAMA - MAMA - MAMA, are you there?"...."Can you hold on, I have another...."..."MAMA--answer me.............” "What do you mean you're standing at.....?"...."What???"....."Water coming up to wh......".."Did you call.....oh I .........."..."Are you............." "Who's outside wh?"...."The umbrella did what?"....."B&W weather channel is fading"......"and then I pulled on the string....."....."I heard you - don't have to shouuuuuuut"...."wonder where they......" "You're cutting out again"...."You aren't in Destin are....hello?" "Oh, hello Coach Bowden...Bobby Bowden, HOW'D YOU GET ON MY LINE?? HOW 'BOUT THEM NOLES!!”

As I write, the stock market bulls and retirees are protesting hurricanes at the Winn-Dixie parking lot. To clear the air, some of us would settle for rationing the number of hurricanes allowed into our state. Say like one per year. While we’re on the subject, would you consider coming if we changed the season to May? At least you would not interfere with the Seminole football schedule. I mean, did you see where Frances actually caused the postponement of their game? People will put up with a lot, but postponing a Seminole game was downright unreasonable expectations on her part. The Gators have been right nice about the whole thing though: That’s because they play in the swamp anyway.

Here's my point: We’re getting weary of tornados, wind, rain and TV reporters needing a shave slobbering forth with hysterical descriptions of it all. So has that 10 ft. alligator, Guppy, in the wetlands that used to be Destin. We’re getting awful tired of being nature’s bowling alley and we’d hate to have to contact your parents, the Miami Hurricanes. Southerners will put up with a whole lot and we do try to be reasonable, but enough is enough.

As I said, it is nothing personal, Miss Jeanne, but since we are about scraping bottom, would you consider making alternate travel plans? I understand CBS is holding “SURVIVOR” tryouts in the Pacific.

Best Southern regards,
Tattoo Goodboy



September 2004

To my dear old friend, Summer:

Goodbye, old friend. There has been such closeness between us that when you cried I tasted the salt. Just yesterday I noticed a change in you. I shudda' seen that ramblin' fever comin' on.

There wuz a snake in the grass. I see sheddin' his skin signs all over the place. If you'll stay I'll rub your head and we'll talk about when you'll be coming back again. I'll get slicked up and dressed up and we'll live life to the fullest. Thet devil Ivan messed with your state of mind when he stormed through here on his way to Indiana.

Come fly away with me, Summer. I got money for the jukebox, a few rounds of moonshine and we can be drunk by 5:00 somewhere. I hear fall will be here tomorrow and he's bringing Jeanne and a whole passel of youngins with one on the way. I hear she's gunnin' for Ivan.

I'd admire the rich if they weren't so miserable.

Best southern regards,
Tattoo Goodboy


G. G. Goodson writes online using the penname “RiverDancer.” She says she has no credentials other than she is a retired Corporate Director of Human Resources. She works occasionally as a Surface Mine Safety consultant. RiverDancer and her husband have lived in the panhandle of Florida all their lives.

Read more of Gene's stories at USADEEPSOUTH:
The fishing trip
The warehouse
Saturday night sweatin'
Memories lost
. . . and more! Check our articles index.

Write Gene Goodson at GOODSON E-mail

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