Now, I don’t know if any of y’all have ever been to the Smoky Mountains or not, but if you haven’t, you really ought to go. They are somethin’. Sue Richards (our travel agent) booked us a place in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., right across from Dollywood.

Dollywood, as I’m sure you’re aware, is Dolly Parton’s theme park. It’s kind of like Six Flags over Texas, but instead of flags, their theme is a great big brassiere.Sue had gotten us a log house/condo thing on the side of a mountain. It was pretty cool. After gettin’ the keys, Janet and I loaded ourselves up like a couple of pack mules, and hiked down the steps from the parkin’ lot to our place. I pushed the key in the door, opened her up, and there, in front of me, was our home for the next couple of days.

“Wow,” I wowed. “Would you look at this?”

“It’s nice,” said Janet.

“Sure is. There’s a fireplace, a kitchen, a TV, and a … what is that anyway, a bathtub? In the middle of the den?”

“It’s a garden tub,” said Janet. “You know, a Jacuzzi.”

“In the middle of the den? Why didn’t they stick it in the bathroom? And why’s it got all those mirrors around it.

“It’s supposed to be romantic. You know, a bubble bath in the candlelight. Too bad we didn’t bring any bubble bath soap,” she smiled.

“Yeah, too bad,” I said sarcastically, as I pitched my duffle bag on the bed. “So, let’s get goin’. We’re burnin’ daylight.”

“Rusty, we just got here. Let’s relax.”

“Awww, come on, we can relax when we’re dead. Let’s go see somethin’.”

Janet sighed. “OK, Romeo. Just let me put my things away.”

“What for? We ain’t gonna be here but two days.”

“I do not like living out of a suitcase.”

“OK,” I sighed, “but hurry up. I want to run down to Gatlinburg. Johnny Cash sang about it in ‘Boy Named Sue’, you know. It goes, ‘It was Gatlinburg in mid July, and I just hit town and my throat was dry, so I thought I’d stop and have myself a brew’.”

“I know how it goes,” said Janet. “You’ve been singin’ that stupid song for the past 200 miles.”

“I can’t help it. Every time I hear that word, I have to break out in that song.”

“What word? Gatlinburg?”

“It was Gatlinburg in a mid July, and I just hit town and….”

“Shut up,” she warned. “If I hear that song one more time, I’ll drown you in that tub.”

“Ok, Ok. Just hurry up.”

Finally, we were on our way. Gatlinburg is just a few miles down the road from Pigeon Forge, and in no time we were there.

“Wow, where’d all these people come from?,” I said, as our car inched down the main drag of Gatlinburg. Traffic was bumper to bumper. “This ain’t how I had it imagined.”

“What did you think?” said Janet. “Did you think it would be a cowboy town with a dirt street lined with saloons and dancing girls?”

“You too, huh,” I said. She rolled her eyes.

We finally found a place to park, and started walkin’. There was a sky lift sort of thing and we got on and rode it to the top of a mountain. Man, it was pretty up there.

Then we rode it back down, and started lookin’ for a place to eat. We ended up in a seafood joint, and it was pretty good. Afterwards, we walked around some more, until Janet suggested we go back. I was gettin’ pretty pooped myself.

When we got back to the room, I figured that I’d just show Janet how romantic I could be.

“How about us tryin’ out that Jahuzzi thing there,” I said, and I raised my eyebrows a couple of times.

“Jacuzzi,” she corrected.

“Gesundheit,” I said. She rolled her eyes.

“You go get ready and I’ll get the water goin’,” I said.

I filled the tub, and when Janet wasn’t lookin’, I grabbed a bottle of dish water soap off of the sink in the kitchen. I unscrewed the top of the bottle and poured the whole contents into the tube. I climbed in and was sittin’ there smilin’ when Janet came back into the room.

“Jump in,” I said. “The water’s fine.”

She smiled and slipped into the tub at the other end. “If we just had bubbles,” she said.

“I can take care of that,” I said.

“Don’t you dare,” she warned.

“What?” I said. “No. This is what I meant,” and I hit the switch on the wall beside the tube. All of a sudden, the water started boilin’ around us, and the soap started foamin’ up.”

“How’d you do that?” said Janet.

“I’m a man of many talents,” I said, as I inched over closer toward her.

“This sure is a lot of bubbles,” she said.

“Nothin’s too good for you,” I smiled.

“How much did you put in here?” she asked, as she waved her hands through the cloud of bubbles.

“Who said that?” I asked, as Janet disappeared behind a bubbly mountain.

“Ow!” Janet exclaimed. “It’s stinging my eyes. What did you use, regular soap?”

“Don’t worry about that now,” I said, as I grabbed for her. She popped right out of my hands. “Boy howdy, you’re slippery. It’s like tryin’ to grab a greased pig.”

“What did you call me?”

“Uh, … I meant that in a good way,” I explained.

“Really,” she said. “And how was that? Oh my goodness! Look! The bubbles are pouring out onto the floor! Rusty, do something!”

“I’m right on it,” I said and I stood up to reach for the switch. You know, that soap stuff sure makes the floor of a tub slick. I’d no sooner got stood up, than my feet swapped places with my head, which sent a wave of bubbles out across the room.

“Turn it off!” yelled Janet.

“I can’t see!” I said. “It’s stingin’ my eyes!”

I finally felt around until I found the Jacuzzi switch and turned it off. I wiped my eyes enough to see a little. For miles around, all I could see were bubbles.

And there in the middle was Janet. At least, I thought it was Janet. She had bubbles all over her head, and even had some hangin’ off her chin. She looked more like Uncle Sam, than my wife, but I declined to tell her, especially after the greased pig crack.

“My,” I smiled. “You look ravishin’.” Janet did not return the smile.

“What?” I said.

“I think I finally figured it out,” she said.


“I think I must have died 30 years ago, and I didn’t go to heaven after all.”

Rusty Mitchum lives in New Harmony, Texas, where he writes a regular column for The Lindale News and Times. He says the only reason he writes is to keep the voices away.