Averyell A. Kessler
For the most part, I’ve lived a quiet life. I grew up in leafy green Belhaven, where the arrival of a fire truck was a catastrophic event and as well as midnight cat fight, skinned roller skate knees, or the failure of the Sunday paper to arrive on time. When we moved to Avery Gardens, I discovered a new level of serenity. My only neighbors were Black Angus cattle, wide-eyed possums, and a variety of tree dwelling critters who caused no difficulty. Although, I bounced to school every morning over a two-lane gravel road threading its way across the Hinds/Madison dividing line, the trip was short and no other cars were on the road. Sadly, churning mud and airborne rocks were constant companions. Later, I settled in Fondren, also peaceful until Meadowbrook Road began auditioning for the final lap in the Indianapolis 500. But along the way, a few odd things occurred. Because I’ve noticed the popularity of online “Have You Ever” quizzes, I’ve created one of my own.
Have you ever:
Encountered a flasher in the back stacks of a large academic library,
Peeped at sunbathers lolling around a downtown Jackson hotel pool through a telescope focused by an overly curious and perpetually bored law partner. He was also able to view activities occurring behind the Governor’s Mansion.
Had a visit from a State Trooper, in full uniform, who threatened to jump from a 12th floor window in my law office,
Been interviewed by the FBI,
Testified in a federal criminal trial,
Toured Parchman Prison, including the death chamber,
Assisted a Russian citizen seeking to defect,
Been trapped in a stalled elevator with a 300 lb. stranger,
Tamped down a flash fire in car waste basket caused by a cigar smoking driver,
Fallen off the back of a motorcycle,
Held on tight as your grandfather raced to beat a train across a RR crossing,
Pressed an airsick bag against your chin during a bumpy hurricane-evading flight on a tiny Delta Prop Jet,
Seen a ghost,
Outrun an approaching waterspout,
Gone to class in baby doll pj’s concealed under a brown raincoat and making sure it was buttoned up to the top.
Felt the terrifying shake rattle and roll of an Acapulco earthquake,
Played bourrée until the sun came up in a friend’s fishing shack somewhere on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, when the hostess warned us not to go outside after dark because alligators might be roaming around,
Have you ever tasted
A pig’s foot with the hoof still attached,
Barnacles in lemon butter,
Cannibal Sandwich at the Camellia Grill in NO,
Boudin from NuNu’s outside of Lafayette. If you’ve eaten more than five varieties, you may qualify as an official Cajun,
Oysters in a burlap sack and available by the side of the road below Ponchatoula,
A chicken dinner in a country restaurant when the owner went outside to catch, kill, pluck a fat one,
Roasted Quail with shot still in its behind,
Whole breadfruit boiled in a tin can over an open fire,
Somebody’s ten-year-old wedding cake. Bleeeeek!
Fresh pineapple slashed to bits by a machete wielding fruit vender,
Curried goat, when you strongly suspect it’s curried something else,
Have you ever sipped:
Everclear and grape juice ladled up from a tin tub,
Peach moonshine from an anonymous source in rural Virginia,
Espresso so strong that it set fire to your tongue and you lost your breath,
A double shooter at Fat Harry’s on St. Charles Avenue
Mezcal, while carefully avoiding the worm. Once was enough.
This is a good beginning. Maybe I’ll remember more. It’s always easy to score 100% on the quiz when you’re the quizmaster. Feel free to expand at will. I’d love to few additions to the list.