(© 2000 by Laurie Kay Olson)
Well, Erma Rose an’ I had been feudin’ ever the years
An’ we finally decided that it was time to have it out once an’ for all.
Bubba an’ Loretta Sue wouldn’t take sides to help settle this,
So we figured that the only thing we could do was to take it public.
We both signed up for the annual Succotash County Chili Cook-Off
To benefit the victims of the latest disaster to hit the trailer park.
I think this year it was an infestation of hamsters
After someone there decided to raise money by breedin’ ‘em.
The whole thing got a little outta hand when Dixie June Belle’s cat, Smoochums,
The one she uses sometimes in her strippin’ act over to the Kit Katt Club,
Took offense to someone makin’ a pussy joke an’ went on a tear.
Didn’t hurt any of the hamsters, just tore through the screen door
At ol’ Walt Jones’ place an’ knocked over all o’ the cages.
Well, Smoochums was so terrified by the noise he made
That he went shootin’ out the back door an’ up that ol’ cottonwood tree by the creek.
Hamsters were everywhere. Took two months to get ‘em all caught.
An’ then Walt couldn’t sell them an’ had to just give ‘em away.
But I die-gress.
Erma Rose has been braggin’ on her Tantalizin’ Texas Two-Step Chili for years.
An’ I been sayin’ it ain’t nothin’ compared to my chili.
It’ll make your eyes an’ mouth water like a rusty bucket.
They hold the contest in a big ol’ tent over to the county fairgrounds now –
Ever since the fumes made the paint peel off the walls
Of the American Legion Hall back about three years ago.
So there we was cookin’ with the best cooks in the county.
Sheriff Harlan Tuttle was stirrin’ up his Rio Grand-ee Riot Chili –
That’s his extra special recipe that won first prize last year.
Says he’s got somethin’ new in it that will make it a sure fire repeat.
I’m guessin’ it’s sure fire gonna repeat on ya all right.
Camilla Marie Boyd was mixin’ up her secret California Crimson Chili.
The competition was almost as hot as the spices we was usin’.
Billy Bob Henderson had come over from the drugstore
With a whole case o’ Rolaids he was donatin’ to the judges.
Two years ago he was outta town an’ they had to break into his store to get some relief.
All the neighbors had showed up to watch the judges decide.
An’ little Jimmy Walker said he just come to watch ‘em turn funny colors
An’ start chokin’ when the heat got to be too much for ‘em.
I was getting’ so nervous that I sweat right through my Arid Extra Dry.
Them judges were lookin’ so serious an’ solemn as they tested an’ tasted
That you’d never believe they are the rowdiest bowlin’ team
Ever to loft a ball at the Bowl-O-Rama over to Taylor Holler.
Last Halloween, after a couple o’ beers, they tried bowlin’ with pumpkins.
Made a turrible mess o’ everything. Fortunately they had borrowed the pins
An’ pulled that stunt in the parkin’ lot after closin’ time
Or they’d ‘a’ spent November as a guest of Harlan’s over to the jail.
As it was it took ‘em several hours to wash of the pins an’ clean up the parkin’ lot.
Again I die-gress, I’d just figured out that they was gonna go an’ say
That Erma Rose’s chili was a far sight better ‘n’ mine
When all o’ the sudden they up an’ hand me this fancy blue ribbon.
It made me feel kinda bad for Erma Rose for a moment,
But then they handed her the second place ribbon
An’ tellin’ her that it had been a real tough call to make,
You know, kinda like a first down in a blizzard.
Harlan was hoppin’ mad that he didn’t win first place again this year,
Or even make it to a distant second. I thought he was gonna throw third in the trash.
Then he thought better of it. Probably because he didn’t want nobody thinkin’
That he hadn’t got nothin’ but an honorable mention.
That man shore is into havin’ folks think a lot of him.
He’s gonna be difficult to live with for the next couple o’ weeks.
Good thing he ain’t married or that woman’d have hell to pay.
Erma Rose an’ me just hugged an’ made up right quick.
Then we posed for pictures with our ribbons an’ our bowls o’ chili.
Loretta Sue said she took a picture so that next time we’re a feudin’
She can remind us that we’re both the best chili cooks in the county.
I told her that her momma an’ I could accept that right enough
But just until the sour dough bread bake-off at the county fair.
That’s when Erma Rose’s Peanut Butter an’ Pickle Pumpernickel
Is gonna go heat to head with my Ragin’ Cajun Rye.