My friends can tell you, I have a favorite catch-phrase which I use with the same regularity a teenager says, “like, you know.” In my case, however, “Bless your heart," seems to sneak into just about every conversation. Whether feeling truly sympathetic or complaining about my cousin’s brother-in-law, Jody, who’s so crooked that when he dies they’ll have to screw him in the ground, “bless ‘is/’er/your heart” can cover just about any situation. Last night was just one more example.
In the beginning I wasn’t enthusiastic about going out New Year’s Eve, but eventually Sweetie talked me into going to Hemingway's for an early dinner. At least we wouldn’t be leaving the island.
Although we were told the wait at Hemingway’s would be around fifty minutes, it only took about 25. Everyone was so engrossed in conversation at the bar that I confiscated the TV remote. Time went quickly as I caught part of my all-time favorite TV series, "Lonesome Dove" and soon we were seated at a great table. After an excellent dinner, Sweetie picked up the check while I walked to the parking lot to get the vehicle and drive back to pick him up.
I was aware of two men across the way, but suddenly one fellow staggered diagonally across the parking lot in my direction and stopped right in front of me. He squinted intensely and I took a short step back as the fumes drifted my way.
"I juz' wan’ a sah you fie,” he smiled. “I haf a sharhhk keeee. See?"
I think he said I was 'fine' (my first tip off that he wasn't seein' very well) and he actually did have a small notched thingy in the shape of a shark in his hand. Heaven only knows where it came from, where he got it, or what it meant.
"Arrr you stay 'ear?" he stammered.
He was a hottie in chemical overload, but I decided he was pretty harmless. I could certainly outrun him if things got dicey, so I replied, 'Yes, I live here and that’s a very nice shark key."
"You leeeve heeer?” he asked
"Yes, I am a full-time resident."
"Aaahhh man, you arrrrrr???" A sudden jerk of his head sent him swaying dangerously.
"Yep, sure am." I replied and began to side-step around him.
"I liv’ in Biluuxeee," he said, his eyes welling up.
"Oh," I said, immediately sympathetic to the probable circumstances, "Bless your heart.” and patted him gently on the arm.
"Yeah, I lived in Biluuhzee, but…” he looked down in his hand, “ I hav a shar kee." And he started snuffling.
"Well, you have a happy new year. You’ll get back home to Biloxi, okay?" And I patted his arm again..
"Yur so fie. I wan go hom."
"Well, you go home, but get a taxi, okay?"
"Yea,” he said pitifully. Then he perked up as he remembered, “I hav a shar kee."
Poor fellow shuffled off toward Hooters, instead of Surf Burgers. Hopefully someone helped him out with that shark key, but I may have to swing by the Boardwalk next week and see if anyone knows what it was for. Then again, maybe not.
Anyway, seems like too few people get their hearts blessed nowadays and they seem to be very appreciative when it is. So, bless your heart, y'all. And you have a Happy New Year.