Southern Fried Austen

Sugar wouldn’t melt in her mouth.

Darcy and Lizzy were toolin’ down the interstate in his big ole Range Rover when they saw a sign advertisizin’ several restaurants off the next exit. He’d made sure to lose Bingley and the others, not that it was a problem since they were stuffed into a minivan, chattering away, so he and Lizzy could eat alone. If Lizzy’d noticed, she hadn’t complained. Darcy figured she’d had enough of Caroline battin’ her eyes and rubbin’ up against him, and he sure bud had.

Digging your own grave

Darcy: You hungry? We could stop for lunch.

Lizzy: Me, too. Take this exit. Jane and I always stop here when we’re coming back from Atlanta, and I feel like chicken. You?

Darcy: Really? You feel like chicken? You didn’t feel like chicken to me when I kissed you. Not that I’ve ever kissed a chicken.

Lizzy: Watch out now. You’re digging your grave with your mouth.

Darcy: If you feel like chicken, I wonder what I feel like? Hold my right hand while I drive with my left. Does it feel like a chicken foot?

Lizzy: You could make a preacher cuss. You know I meant I want chicken for lunch.

Darcy: This looks like a good place. The parking lot’s crowded. That’s always a good sign.

Lizzy: You’re as lost as last year’s Easter egg, Sugar. Funerals are crowded, too.

Darcy: Let’s try it, anyhow.

Lizzy: I’m with you, Mr. Darcy. I trust you not to lead me wrong, especially since I’ve been here before, and I know it’s a good place to put some South in your mouth.

Darcy: I hope Bingley and the rest don’t find us.

Lizzy: If a buzzard had a radio, there’d be music in the air. Don’t count on it. Caroline can sniff you like a dog on a quail hunt. She cracks me up the way she stalks you. I expect her to point like a huntin’ dog.

Darcy: Yep, she’s funny – but looks aren’t everything. We’re in luck. There’s an empty table. Let’s sit down.

hush

Lizzy: This is right nice. Ooo, look at the menu. I see what I want.

Darcy: I do, too, and I’m not looking at the menu.

Lizzy: Aw, hush up with your foolishness. You’re tryin’ to turn my head. Yonder comes the waitress. She reminds me of somebody.

Waitress: Hello. Welcome to the Southern Cracker. I’ll be your waitress today. You can call me Harriet.

Lizzy: Harriet Smith? I know you. We graduated from Sugarfield High School together.

Harriet: Lizzy Bennet? Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit. Just look at you. You’re even prettier than you were in high school. I can see that life’s treatin’ you right.

Sugar wouldn't melt

Lizzy: You always were sweet, Harriet. Sugar wouldn’t melt in your mouth. What’re you doin’ so far from Sugarfield?

Harriet: I’m Harriet Martin now. My husband, Robert, works in a plant in the city. We got married right out of high school. I have a little boy and a baby girl. Who’s your friend?

Lizzy: You remember Will Darcy, don’t you? He graduated about four years ahead of us.

Harriet: Oh, yeah! He was captain of every team and president of the student body. We never met before, though. He wasn’t in the Future Farmers of America or the 4H Club.

Lizzy: Well, you’ve met him now. I’ve got a hungry man here, so we’d better order.

Harriet: What’ll you have, Will?

Darcy: Nice to meet you, Harriet. I’ll have roast chicken – no skin, with a side salad and light Mediterranean dressing. Unsweet tea to drink.

Lizzy: I thought you were hungry? That’s just enough to make you mad. I’ll have chicken, too. Make mine buttermilk dipped, double breaded, and fried in Crisco, with a baked potato and sweet tea. I want butter, sour cream, and cheese on the potato.

Harriet: Okie dokey, but we don’t fry in Crisco anymore. We use vegetable oil, so it’s healthier. It’ll be a minute. The kitchen’s backed up. Good to see you again, Lizzy.

Lizzy: You, too, Sweetie.

Darcy: Good grief, Lizzy. Do you eat that junk all the time? Your arteries must be harder than a concrete slab. You’re going to have a heart attack and be on a slab – in the morgue – by the time you’re thirty.

Lizzy: What’s got your knickers in a twist? You heard her say they use vegetable oil, though I don’t know why. My Papaw and Memaw are in their nineties, and they’ve been frying with lard all their lives. Lard’s worse than Crisco, according to my Momma. And what’s up with the unsweet tea? That’s downright sacrilegious.

sweet tea

Darcy: Six of one, half dozen of another. Neither lard nor Crisco is good for your body. Yours looks good, but it won’t for long if you keep eating like that. Do you work out?

Lizzy: I work out in the garden when I’m not at my job. I also work out mowing the yard and gathering whatever’s ripe in the orchard, and I usually ride my bike to town.

Darcy: You have a motorcycle? What kind?

Lizzy: Do I look like I’d have a motorcycle? I work all the cotton pickin’ time to pay my bills. I can’t afford a Harley, though I’d love to have one. I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts you have a chopper.

Darcy: I don’t have a hog yet, but I want to get one. Maybe we could shop a little on Saturday after we fly. You’d look mighty fine on the back of a bike. By the way, I have a Schwinn. We can ride our bikes together. There are probably plenty of trails we’d enjoy.

Lizzy: (snorts) Yep. We have a mess of paths to ride where I live. Daddy is in earth-moving construction. When he’s bored and between jobs, he builds ponds on our land. He’s stocked them with all sorts of fish. We have a catfish pond, a trout pond, a pond in the cow pasture, a carp pond, a bass pond – we have nine ponds, and there’re trails through the woods to all of them. We used to swim in one of them when I was younger. An eel ‘bout scared me to death. Even though Daddy had sand put on the bottom of that pond, it was always muddy, and I couldn’t see what was coming for me in the water. Eels and water moccasins put me off swimming in ponds.

Darcy: I’d like that. Maybe I’ll bring my bike Saturday. You can show me around your place.

Lizzy: You have big plans for Saturday. We’ll have to get up early to do everything you want. Maybe you should shorten that list a tad and save something for later.

Darcy: I like the sound of that.

Lizzy: What?

Darcy: Later. Sounds like you might consider lettin’ me hang around a little longer.

Lizzy: You haven’t met my folks yet.

Darcy: I have to pass a test?

Lizzy: Daddy has a questionnaire for the guys we date. At least you won’t miss one of the questions.

Darcy: What’s that?

Lizzy: You don’t drive a van. Too bad you don’t have a job, though. He likes to see men work for a livin’.

Darcy: I have a job.

Lizzy: What is it? Oh, no! Look who the cat drug in.

Darcy: Don’t tell me. Let me guess. The hunting dog is pointing.

Lizzy: I knew you were more than just a pretty face. Jane must have told them about this place.

Darcy: I always thought sugar wouldn’t melt in her mouth. Maybe she isn’t as sweet as I thought she was.

Lizzy: Those’re fightin’ words.

Darcy: I think I could take you in a wrestlin’ match.

Lizzy: Hmm… Maybe we should add that to the list for next Saturday. You might be surprised.

Darcy: I like the way you think.

Lizzy: I’ll whup you so bad you’ll holler, “Y’all stop!” and it’ll just be me.

Caroline: Hi, y’all. I have a great idea. Let’s pull a couple of tables together so we can all visit.

Lizzy: Caroline, if you ever had an idea, it’d die of loneliness. We can’t pull tables together in here. This isn’t the Pig ‘n Vittles. It’s crowded. You’ll have to wait for a table.

Caroline: I don’t think so. Yours seats four. Emma and I can sit with you. I’ll go get her.

Bless your heart

Lizzy: If common sense was lard, she wouldn’t have enough to grease an iron skillet. Bless her heart.

Darcy: I’ll tell Harriet to box ours to go. We’ll eat at a rest stop.

Lizzy: Will, you only have one oar in the water. I wouldn’t spit on her if she was on fire, but we can’t be rude.

Darcy: I can.

Lizzy: You ain’t right.

10 thoughts on “Southern Fried Austen

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