By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal
God’s country got a visit from paradise last week when Jay Bell, my good friend from “Bradenton-Fun-in-the-Sun-Baby-Florida,” came up north.
“Thanks for arranging the record heat wave,” he said. “Good planning, Morris.”
I don’t really control the weather, unless you count my car exhaust and other contributions to climate change.
It also should be noted that I didn’t plan Jay’s trip. He called about a month ago. I told him my wife would be flying to her parents’ house to collect the kids.
I was trying to figure out what to do with my bachelor time. The best I’d come up with was sleeping until noon, ordering pizza, then sleeping some more.
“For a guy who writes for a living, you’re not very imaginationish,” he said.
“Imaginative,” I said.
“However you say it, you ain’t it,” he said. “I’m going to help you out.”
Maybe it’s obvious, but Jay Bell was drinking that night, so when he thought up his imaginative idea, he was primed and ready to take massive action toward making it a reality.
He awoke the next morning to find an email confirmation for a round-trip ticket from his home in paradise to my home in God’s country.
“I looked at it and said, ‘Oh, what is this? A little gift from my friends at Budweiser?’” he reported.
As you can see, it was Jay Bell’s own planning that caused him to be in Northeast Mississippi when temperatures soared into triple digits and scorched the earth.
“It’s probably your wife’s fault for going out of town,” he said, “but I can’t say anything bad about her. That makes it your fault. End of discussion.”
Because he’s my friend, Jay Bell mocked me throughout his stay. He was particularly harsh during our “Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2003” games, especially after I squandered a three-shot lead.
“Stick with putt-putt, loser,” he said.
On Saturday, we packed the car with as much ice as it could carry and drove up the Natchez Trace, which he appreciated.
He also had a good time during our visit with Tom Hendrix, who built a wall out of 8.5 million pounds of rock in the northwest corner of Alabama. We were both impressed by Hendrix’s work, and wondered if we could follow his example and build our own walls.
“Metaphorically speaking, of course,” I said.
“What he said,” Jay Bell said.
We went by Pickwick after that and had tasty cheeseburgers at Cactus Jack’s. I mentioned that because Jay’s bartender, Ruthie, told me to.
“I think she loves me,” Jay said, and he might have a point. He returned to paradise with a Cactus Jack’s koozie cup that reads, “My bartender (hearts) me.”
“It’s my only souvenir from God’s country,” he said.
“We’ll try to do better next time,” I said.
“No. No,” he said. “This is perfect.”
M. Scott Morris is a Daily Journal feature writer. Contact him at (662) 678-1589 or firstname.lastname@example.org.