Arsenic, Old Lace, & Clyde’s Grits and ShrimpColumnsFeaturedPoliticsSouthwest Virginia

I enjoyed a delightful brunch with the Williams Sisters today down at Clyde’s. As we walked in, Clyde himself showed us to a table. I think he chose this one because it was within easy view of a green chalkboard that he uses to write pithy quotes, news items, an occasional trivia question, and just general tom-foolery. Today it read;

“Maybe peace would have broken out with a different kind of White House, one less committed to waging a perpetual campaign–a White House that would see a 51-48 victory as a call to humility and compromise rather than an irrefutable mandate.”

And then this;

Yeah, well, shut up, you Republican losers. Obama won, which means a majority of Americans support his policies. Stop being obstructionist and get with the program.

I asked Clyde if he was baiting us.

Clara was just short of smacking him upside the head. “You blame fool! You know he barely squeaked by. Whatchu doin’ writing stuff like that? You know 51 don’t make no kinda mandate.”

Clyde ducked as he said with a chuckle, “No Miss Clara, look at the last line, down near the bottom. The quoted part. Obama said that when he was a junior senator. Wrote it in his book, actually. He was referring to George W. Bush. Now you know I didn’t vote for Obama, and to be the honest man you know me to be, let me say I couldn’t bring myself to vote for Romney either, even after Bunkie explained it to me.

“Ol’ Virgil didn’t get enough votes anywhere to alter anything, not even in Franklin County, but that’s who I wasted my vote on. I just thought you would enjoy the irony. Let me get a rag and erase that green blackboard while you’re still calm enough to order.”

While he was wiping away his prank, and the Williams Sisters were simmering back down, we looked over the menu. Katie brought me coffee and the Sisters some ice-cold branch water.

Every so often Francis would bend over and dig in her purse for something while holding her glass of branch water. Then Clara would do the same. It was a little like that synchronized swimming you see on the Olympics, but sort of unsynchronized. I paid it no mind.

When Clyde returned to take our order, both of the Sisters were in a much better mood. “What can I get you three this morning?” Clyde asked.

Actually, this IS Ms. Deen’s grits.
Unlike Lynne I don’t carry
a camera everywhere.

I deferred to the ladies, and Francis ordered first asking for cheesy grits and shrimp. Pretty good choice. Clyde’s version would make Paula Deen weep. (For something very similar, go here.)

Clara is well-known for refusing to eat bugs of any size, so she ordered a western omelet. Me? I just can’t pass up a boneless chicken breakfast anytime I’m at Clyde’s.

Just don’t ever ask for his free egg salad sandwich, as drama will surely ensue.

Clyde has a cook working in the mornings, so he was back pretty quick and sat at our table drinking coffee.

“Bunkie, is there anyone in Virginia, I mean besides you an’ me, (an’ I ain’t so sure ’bout you), what ain’t wantin’ to be Lt. Governor?”

I laughed, “You can confidently cut me from that list Clyde, but that still leaves a pile of people and probably a very long convention. Sure, a few will fall away before then, but the stuffing in your turkey next Thursday is not going to be as thick as the stuffing your mailbox will be getting between now and Summer.”

As we enjoyed Clyde’s fine food, the Sisters and I talked of many things; of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–Of cabbages–and kings–And why the sea is boiling hot–And whether pigs have wings.

Well, you get the idea.

The time to go came and we moseyed up to the cash register, Clara said. “Clyde, your food and service was wondermous, I still don’t like being pranked like that though.”

Followed by a sentence I hear often from her. “Francis, you pay the man, I’ll go start the car.”


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  • http://www.facebook.com/anne.dalton Anne Freya Dalton

    WHAT kind of recipe includes FIVE RECIPES?? More proof we’re going to hell on a bobsled …

    • http://www.facebook.com/alton.foley Alton Foley

      Trust me. Clyde’s is better and much simpler. Just one more reason I’m Not Emeril.

  • http://bearingdrift.com/ J.R. Hoeft

    There’s nothing better than a trip to Clyde’s on a Friday morning. Thanks, Alton!

    • http://www.facebook.com/alton.foley Alton Foley

      From now until New Years Clyde will be sharing his recipes. With much arm twisting from me.

  • Carole

    OMG! I’m all about being healthy, but gotta’ have those grits!