This week, Rhelda Mae takes on coyote infestations, coffee prices and church anxiety
Dear Rhelda Mae,
I relocated to Nashville a while back from California. I thought I left coyotes behind, but I swear one ran up my front steps the other day, stared at my girl dogs through the screen door and then meandered off. How can I get rid of unwanted visitors? Fearfully, Animal Control Fan.
Dear ACF: When it comes to getting rid of visitors, I usually just set out a can of Lemon Pledge and a rag and tell them I need to dust while we chat, and can they help me lift some things? That’ll get anybody out of your house.
But as for the animals, are you sure it was a coyote? It may have been a raccoon, or even a possum. I know people from out West sometimes take a while to get used to our local wildlife. And are those girl dogs fixed? You take care of that (for them and also for your own self if you are a lady), and you won’t have any kind of man idling away on your front porch.
Also, could it have maybe been a squirrel? It would not surprise me if one was done up in a coyote disguise because they are that sneaky. My bird magazine tells me that cayenne pepper will keep them out of flower beds and bird feeders, but I think they just use it as seasoning. Some say poisoning them goes against the Bible, and I am still researching that.
Dear Rhelda Mae,
Why is coffee so expensive in this town? I thought maybe the local places would be cheaper than national chains, but they’re pretty costly as well. What’s a person who wants to be hip, but must stay on a budget, to do? Thriftily, Java Junkie.
Dear JJ: I am more hip replacement than hip, but I do understand what you mean. My sweet neighbor, a nice girl who moved here from somewhere Up North, took me to a little spot the other day. I near about died when I saw those menu prices. I thought I was at Red Lobster! I told the gentleman behind the counter that I just wanted a cup of black coffee, and he looked at me like I’d sprouted horns and sighed. A bunch. I was gearing up to put that sass back in the bottle, I will tell you that much, but he got me my coffee before I could get going.
I’m just glad I drink it black, because they had more stuff to drop in there than I’d ever seen in my life. Organic those, artisanal that, and what on earth is “locally sourced?” I think from here on in, I’ll just have her over for a cup from my own percolator. She can go to one of the bakeries popping up like mushrooms around here and get us something sweet. You might want to do the same.
Dear Rhelda Mae,
What’s the best answer to “Where do you go to church?” if you don’t go? Respectfully, Awkward Agnostic.
Dear AA: I find the best defense is a good offense, so when someone asks you that lean over and whisper, “Well, I just left my church, actually, because we were having trouble with the pastor and the organist, and I am trying to decide if I even want to stay with that denomination because it has been so upsetting. What are your thoughts on adultery?”
With that, you have done two things: One, you have gotten the attention off your heathen ways, and two, you’ve got that nosy parker all riled up. Nobody ever doubts that story, because pastors have been carrying on with organists and/or choir directors since the Bible was a 10-page pamphlet.
One caveat: If the inquisitor is someone from a faith that extols the virtue of going door to door on a Saturday while people are cleaning house or doing yard work, you tell them you are a practicing Episco-Pagan (they won’t know what it is, so don’t worry) and be sure to offer them some ice water if it’s hot, and you take that pamphlet. For all I know, they may be God’s messengers on earth, and I don’t want to foul up years of sitting through boring sermons and caterwauling choirs for one episode of bad manners.