A Weekend With Mr Jefferson

January21/ 2000

…. An opportunity to fulfill one of Mizzus’ “someday I wanna _____ “ morphed into an astute observation loaded weekend overflowing with keys to the past, present and future of Western Civilization.  Not the least of which were the true meaning of “quaint and charming”; a downtown revitalization that ACTUALLY WORKED and an earth mother pulling her weight.  Check Monticello off the list, but “we’ll be back”!

I suspect there might be a nodding consensus among the husband/dad faction of BobLeeNation when I say “I am the damn Dickie Baddour of our family”.  Like the once beleaguered (and currently ignored) diminutive Director of Athletics at UNC, when anything at all goes wrong it is “my fault” and on the occasion (not necessarily rare) when everything goes quite well, it is, of course, “in spite of” anything I might have done to effect the outcome.

See, you all thought my life was some idyllic 180 different from yours.  Nope, pretty much the same as far as daily life goes.  I just get to vent by writing about it in a delightfully self-effacing style rather than buying lap dances at nudie bars or passing out candy at a playground shamelessly seeking the slightest approval.  This weekend managed to overcome my participation in it and we “cut down the nets” upon our return to home base.

Incidentally, if you hesitate to use the “like that damn Dickie Baddour” analogy in your own situation, then use the “like a deep snapper” in which everything correct you do is taken for granted but the slightest miscue is seen and booed by thousands.

I’m not sure where Mizzus’ fascination with Mr Jefferson came from.  Certainly her “WHY I LOVE AMERICA” and Thomas’ “…. life, liberty and pursuit yadda yadda” rank among the greatest words ever not written by J.K. Rowling but their kinship began much earlier.  Part of it is Charlottesville.  Mizzus simply adores that place.

She has only been there twice before …. The two most recent Little Big Horns suffered by Bunting’s 7th Cavalry at the hands of Algroh’s Hoo savages.  Her blanket disinterest in the fate of Carolina athletics shielded her from any bad vibes from those twin Scott Stadium catastrophes.

In the eternal comparison of Heel-ville to Hoo-ville, she be a solid fan of all things Shenandoah.  Move Southern Season, Jon Childres’ BBQ Joint, and Greg Overbeck’s Squids out of Heel-Hill and she’d vote to nuke the rest just to eradicate the pesky faculty squirrels. Oh, she does share my admiration for President Ersky.

She also does not read Hokie Jim’s A-Line so she has no idea how corrupt, evil, and down right disgusting “The Lawn” and anything within 10 miles of its epicenter truly is.  Incidentally, B&B Proprietor Bob is a former UVa gridder from the mid 70s but seems to have overcome any residual ill effects of that experience.

We “did it right” as regards our Monticello Weekend.  We went the “quaint and charming” Bed & Breakfast route.  The Inn @ Monticello and proprietors Bob & Carolyn pretty much are the quintessential B&B package right down to the aroma of something baking in the oven and Rudy the cute little something dog.  (NOTE:  Since Bob & Carolyn are probably reading this, lets insert here that WE LIKED THEM A LOT to the point that Mizzus already put us down for the next Heels To Hoo-ville game in ’08.)

To appreciate a B&B experience it’s necessary to know the rules.  In shuffling thru the countless websites in making your choice …. B&Bs are like barbecue joints.  Every single one of them has been ranked “the best” and “#1” at some time by some survey and has a plaque and framed review on the wall to prove it.  (NOTE:  The rarest retail establishment anywhere is the #2 barbecue restaurant in any community.  It simply does not exist.).

B&B Rule #1:  Count the # of times “quaint” or “charming” appears in the website description.  For each mention shrink the square footage of the accommodation by 15%.  Five “quaint & charmings” mean you are Lemuel Gulliver arriving in Lilliput.  Being 6’3” and 220, any more than two “q & c” mean yours truly is in for a weekend of head butts, elbow bangs, toe stubs and lace-fringed claustrophobia.   The only really lethal attraction is the inevitable low-hanging ceiling fan.  Engage that sucker with your head or raised arm while dressing and severing a limb is not the problem so much as the screamed obscenity which “might tell the other guests that we feel pain too”.

 B&B Rule #2:  All the usual psychological trauma of staying with “the in-laws” or “spousal relatives” of any sort has an added element with “a B&B”.  You know nothing about these other folks and there you are all together at the breakfast table.

This may be hard to believe but “taking me out in public” is a bit like driving a load of nitroglycerine down a cobblestone street in an old flatbed truck with bad shocks and one bent rim.  The odds on reaching your destination without an explosion are not good.

Saturday morning breakfast …. Six couples around the charming well-set table all a bit self-conscious and attempting to appear learned or at least not spill anything.  Since “seeing Monticello” is a fairly universal reason for being there, everyone injects their most obscure Jeffersonian anecdote to a table chorus of “that’s interesting”.  Once the Jeffersonian anecdotes are all exhausted the dreaded conversational silence settles in.

(Another NOTE:  It was quite nice to be with folks who can discuss “historical events” without mentioning Walter Davis, Dudley Bradley OR Chris Keldorf … who knew it was possible to do so!)

Sure enough …. the nice 50-ish couple next to me from Stuart Florida lit the fuse.  If you ain’t figured out where this is headed you aren’t a BLSays regular reader are you?

B&B table conversation has a distinctive “Christmas letter” quality to it.  Everyone lives in Lake Woebegone and all our children are well “above average”.  That Kid IS made our job easier of course.  So nice Stuart Florida lady is discussing her son at “The U of Miami” and how he recently had the marvelous opportunity to hear Algore speak on Global Warming.  TILT! … The combination of “Algore and marvelous” had an immediate Rube Goldberg effect on the table.

  • I made an “O face” and blinked.
  • Mizzus kicked at what she thought was my shin but was instead a table leg
  • Frightening Rudy the cute something dog ….
  • And the nice fellow across from me who I had yet to meet mirrored my “O face” and also blinked.
  • He and I immediately bonded for life in a unique foxhole experience.

In reality I am NOT that truck full of nitro careening down the cobblestone road to a rendezvous with oblivion but after only 24 years Mizzus’ hasn’t realized that yet.  I had already measured the other guests and ascertained their respective degrees of political naiveté.   Stuart Florida lady ran true to form.  When your bizness is charting the collapse of American culture you get pretty good at counting the house.

There was no food fight.  Mizzus did not break a toe on the table leg and Rudy quickly settled down.  Mr Kindred Right-wing Spirit and I enjoyed a post-breakfast chuckle on the front porch.  Mr & Mrs Stuart Florida drove off in therir rented Prius.  I hatched a plan for Sunday morning that involved my mentioning I was a new Amway distributor. (No, I’m not but I figured it would make breakfast memorable)

There were at least two other notable aspects to our Monticello weekend which I will cover in upcoming columns …… UNLESS of course you really would prefer I discuss “The Edwards”, Shineola silliness or the latest from the sanctimonious hypocrites at the N&O.  I can go however you want …. New cool stuff or the same ol’ sledge hammers.

Next, I will be conducting an on-line class in urban revitalization that will astound you from a little-known period in “the growth of an Internet Legend”. …. To be followed by how the lessons of Monticello might save Earth from eminent peril as warriors and poets each demand complete sovereignty in how America should mismanage itself thru the next decade or so.


   “Nancy’s” boyfriend was Sluggo.  Who was her Aunt? 

 Bonus Stumper:  If a sanctimonious newspaper columnist hurls an epithet at Ann Coulter for hurling an epithet at John Edwards, is the sanctimonious columnist doomed to eternal hell assuming he believed in any Judeo-Christian version of such …. or does he simply receive a carbon credit and three “you sure showed’ems” from his little pals in the newsroom?


    Rudd Weatherwax trained the various Lassies.  Wouldn’t it have been simpler to just put a fence around the well so Timmie didn’t fall into it every week?

   Kudos to Erskine for nixing the shameful association of Jim The Weasel Black’s Education (cough, cough) Lottery with The UNC System.  Not running ads promoting “gambling” while Woody Derm and Gary Hahn go to pee will not markedly improve the morals of society but it IS a touch of civility that “matters” to “people like me”.

   Kudos to “Goal Line” Bomar for IDing Nicolae Carpathia as “the AntiChrist character in the Left Behind series” …. not, as several guessed, the Bunting assistant that cussed a lot.

   I do love to wake up on a Monday morning to the sound of a Katie Couric whining that she’s not being treated fairly by her bosses at $15,000,000/year.  Boo hoo hoo …. poor widdle katie … glub glub glub. ….. kinda related …. I don’t know about you guys but I feel at least 3 degrees cooler after the Live Earth Concerts.

   Anyone know anything about “the Florida Keys”?  We’re considering going there for Christmas.  Yes, we realize that Key West itself is pretty much “Carrboro w/ palm trees”.  We are not interested in water sports at all but rather in (1) reading trashy novels and (2) buying unnecessary and over-priced material possessions.

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