Annotations and Inspirations


If you want to know where this stuff came from......
 


I'm not clever enough to make all this stuff up. Although I will freely admit to a bit of "embellishment" from time to time, most of the people and events in these stories at least started off based in reality.

Leroy

Leroy started out as a cartoon, a stereotype used for making a point. However, he began to take on a real personality and gained some redeeming social value.

I've actually gotten to like Leroy a little bit, but I still wouldn't want my daughter to marry him.

Mr. Henry

Mr. Henry is a composite of at least four real people, plus a large proportion of whole cloth.

Person A contributed the flag, the hat and the rant about politicians and convicts.
Person B brought the bike, the dairy box, the personalized license plate and the white rubber boots.
The cigar box of medals and the chest dimples came from Person C.
Art Kramer provided a bit of inspiration with these before combat and after combat pictures:

Art Before Art After

There are also direct Art Kramer quotes in some of the stories.

Mr. Henry's rants on current affairs and his "performance art" are of course my own inventions.

I like Mr. Henry, even if he has become a bit of a con man.  His victims deserve all they get.

The narrator

The narrator is not really me, although, like the other characters, there is a bit of me in him.  He is really just an observer, he rarely has any real part in the action.  He doesn't even have a name. 

He never served in the military, and this gives him both a faint sense of guilt and a heightened respect for those who went to war

I do think he is a good person, although a bit gullible.  He plods along, trying to make sense of the world, and looking out for Mr. Henry.  That's a pretty good way to live, all things considered.

Food

I didn't even notice how much food was a part of these stories at first, it was just an accident.  But now that I think about it, it makes a lot of sense. My young son said, " Of course, food is culture."  I hate it when he's smarter than me.

Moonpies and Krispy Kreme are definitely culture.

Odds and Ends

I actually watched Desert Shield press conferences on many screens at once in an appliance store.

I know an Asian immigrant businessman who actually does provide Thanksgiving dinner to the needy in his town.

Miss Lucy's scandalous ( and undeserved ) reputation is loosely based on a real story, which loses all its humor by the time you actually explain it all, so I won't bother.

The Hundred Year Old Rose Bush is real, and so is Wild Dog.

Shooting the raccoon is a modified but still shameless ripoff of Atticus Finch.

I once spent a Thanksgiving totally by myself. Not fun.

Phony veterans make me very angry.  Read "Stolen Valor", a very fine book.  Phil Slawman is NOT an exaggeration.

Friendly fire casualties are not a recent invention.

I once entertained a visiting Admiral, and we drank out of Hardee's glasses. It's a long story.

"Hypergolic" and "metacentric height" are some of my favorite words, but it's a lot of work trying to find a way to work them into conversation.  I'm still trying to find an excuse to use "anthropomorphic".

Mrs. Wilkes was a very real person. 

My mother was very organized, and a big Braves fan, although that did not influence her investment decisions.

I have personally seen and admired every hat mentioned in these stories.

Writing these stories is a lot cheaper for me than paying a shrink and buying Prozac.  I hope reading them does a little good now and then as well.

Acknowledgments

My son John and daughter Kaylie help out with the graphics.
Kaylie also checks out my spelling and grammar, but I don't always do what she says.

I would also like to thank the country's craft beer industry for providing inspiration and sustenance for the creative process.