Seaton: Thanksgiving With Sheriff Roy

It was Thanksgiving in Mud Lick, Alabama, and Sheriff Roy Templeton was getting uneasy. Arlene was setting odd place cards at the dining room table. Sheriff Roy’s read as follows:


“Arlene, what in the name of Bear Bryant are these wastes of card stock doing at my damn dinner table?” the Sheriff asked.

“It was your niece Cindy’s idea, honey. She says it respects peoples’ dignity to do stuff like this, and we don’t want Roy Junior thinking his family’s disrespectful, do we?”

CINDY, Roy thought to himself in horror. His brother, per the Sheriff’s wishes, would send one family member for Thanksgiving Dinner. This year, Barney just happened to send Roy’s niece Cindy, who didn’t even have the good sense to go to Alabama for college. She was in her sophomore year at some trash football school called “Yale,” wherever that was.

Heaven only knew what kind of thoughts a place like that could put into an impressionable girl like Cindy.

Right around six, Cindy bubbled into the house with a smile. She wore a deep crimson sweater and respectable jeans, and managed to bring a sweet potato pie for the spread. At least Barney’s family is raising their kids right, Roy thought.

Then Cindy opened her mouth after the family sat down, and Sheriff Roy’s mood went straight to the toilet.

“Are you paying attention to the debates for President, Uncle Roy?” Cindy asked.

“Debates ain’t football. It’s just a bunch of windbags mouthing off about how much they hate our President. I’d rather watch wrestling instead. That way I’d at least get to see some fighting after the talking.”

It would be a bit longer before Cindy opened her mouth next. This time, it would be during a discussion over the rising costs of Roy Junior’s therapy bills.

“That Liz Warren says we can have Medicare For All, and then once we get it, Roy Junior’s therapy bills shouldn’t be that bad. It’ll pay for itself in the way we’re happier and more productive!”

“Cindy, I appreciate you’re learning all kinds of new stuff up north, but that Yankee school you’re attending’s putting some serious stupid in your head. First off, no one worth their salt believes a damn word that woman says.”

“I don’t know, Uncle Roy, she seems like she’s got some good ideas.”

“Which was the better of her ideas, her saying she was Native American or her taking a DNA test to find out she’s whiter than the china in your Nana’s cupboard?”

“Uncle Roy, you’ve been watching too much Fox News again. Besides, I was talking about health care, not genealogy!”

“Cindy, who’s going to pay for this ridiculous thing you call ‘Medicare for all?’ I’m not paying for it. We get great insurance through the Benevolence Union.”

“Well, Ms. Warren says private insurance would go away and everybody would get new Government insurance paid for with tax money.”

“Cindy, what the hell are they actually teaching you at that Yankee school? Eliminating private health insurance takes out countless American jobs. Going to a single payer system would almost certainly eliminate the incentive for medical innovation in America, especially when the people in charge are the government. You want the government having a say in your health care? I work for the government, and they make my regular job hard enough as is!”

“Ugh,” Cindy snarled with disgust.

“I’ll get the apple pie,” Arlene said, rising from the table. “Roy Junior, come help your mother.”

The boy happily complied.

Once Ms. Templeton and her son left the room, Cindy went all in on Sheriff Roy.

“Uncle Roy, I can’t believe you and the rest of people your age are so hell-bent on keeping with these silly free market, capitalist ideas that are turning our country bankrupt and sending our climate into a hellhole that will never recover! Ms. Warren and Bernie Sanders have all these great ideas, and if Boomers like you would try something different like…”

“Don’t you say that word in my house, Cindy.”

“Socialism! There! I said it!”

“Cindy here’s the end of the night and the end of your lesson, child.” Sheriff Roy said tenderly. “People’ve tried that S word I asked you not to say in my house for generations. It never works. Sure, it sounds good, but at the end of the day all you get is breadlines and killing the neighbor’s dog for a day’s meal. Capitalism may not be perfect, but it’s given us a thriving nation, the innovation of free markets, and the ability to say and do as we please.”

“All this stuff they’re throwing in your head at Yale is just nonsense blathering coming from people who get paid to brainwash you kids. They’ve never lived in the world, never had a real job. They teach. My daddy always said, ‘Those who can’t, teach,’ and he was right. ‘Cept for my shop teacher, but they don’t have those these days. Best you focus your studies on stuff that will help you in real life, like that STEM stuff Arlene tells me women don’t get enough of in school.”

Cindy rose from the table, staring at Sheriff Roy with a thousand-yard stare. Mustering all the strength her tiny frame could manage, Cindy hurled the one insult she knew would sting the good Sheriff: “Ok Boomer.” With that, Cindy Thomas quickly collected her belongings and left the Templeton home just as Arlene came back with her famous apple pie.

“Will Cindy be back, Roy?” Arlene asked.

“Probably not. We ain’t exactly ‘woke’ folks in Mud Lick, though we try our best to be respectful. Cindy’s just gotten too much Yankee education in her to stay polite.”

And thus another Thanksgiving ended in Mud Lick as it should, with the entire family around the warmth of the Templeton’s big screen blaring a classic Alabama game while Sheriff Roy leafed through Scott Adams’ book “Loserthink.”

22 thoughts on “Seaton: Thanksgiving With Sheriff Roy

    1. CLS

      Dave, I love me some Dropkick Murphys, but I’m going to have to ding you a couple points for spinning a Christmas song before Thanksgiving. Don’t be that guy. You’re better than that. I know.

      1. Guitardave

        Ding away, big guy. I don’t need no steenking points.
        I remembered your rant on that very subject before i hit post….Mwhahahhahahahahahhahahahhahahahahhaha.

        1. CLS

          A principled man who acts, knowing the penalties he may potentially incur. I knew there’s a reason we got along.

          1. Guitardave

            Have an excellent thanksgiving, and I hope you don’t have too many Cindy’s to deal with at you family feast….and thanks for all that “best medicine”. GD

  1. Richard G. Kopf


    I give thanks to Mud Lick (and you). And, for once, I am not being disingenuous.*

    It scares the crap out of me that I can see main street Mud Lick in my mind’s eye. You are a conjurer of sublime skill.

    All the best.

    Rich Kopf

    * The same goes to the mean-ass editor who in his own odd way both amuses and informs at the same time. Besides, like you, he is a sweetheart, even when pretending otherwise.

    1. Norahc


      I can see the same main street in my minds eye but for some reason it has a 402 area code.

      Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

    2. CLS

      Judge, the good people of Mud Lick and I are also thankful for you and our mean-ass editor.

      And the funny thing about the main street of Mud Lick, Alabama is everyone can see it. That’s because everyone’s been there at least once, whether you remember the visit or not. Those sorts of images just tend to stick with people.

      Happy Thanksgiving/National Alka-Seltzer Awareness Day to all.

      1. Richard Kopf


        Fun fact:

        I lived in the equivalent of Mud Lick but farther north and west. I was there for 13 years but it felt longer.

        Sheriff John once told a killer while housed in John’s jail that John would kill the killer if he didn’t say where the poor woman’s body was buried. The family needed to grieve. John was a massive and a good man of enormous courage who was not especially keen on legal niceties. The guy took John to the grave at an old gravel pit. It was his jail, and his rules.

        But, and this is the truly important point, the people, including the Sheriff, of the northern doppelgänger of Mud Lick were the salt of the earth but frequently odd in the way you describe. Sometimes I miss their kind and fundamentally decent quirkiness.

        All the best.


        1. CLS

          Judge, here’s a fun fact for a fun fact:

          A file sits prominently on my computer’s digital desktop these days called “The Mud Lick Bible.” It started after the second or third Mud Lick post. It’s now the repository of every detail of that rural Alabama town I’ve ever thought up and person that’s in it.

          It’s largely there in case I want to remember stuff for continuity, but it’s also useful in the event I need to pull an odd detail out for a post that will strike a nerve.

          Regardless, I’m amazed what started out as a dumb bunch of redneck jokes has turned into the Jolly Bastard’s Lake Wobegon.

  2. Jim Tyre

    She wore a deep crimson sweater

    Sigh. Yalies don’t wear crimson, CLS. Still, Happy National Alka-Seltzer Awareness Day to you and yours, SHG and his, and everyone else who hangs out here and theirs. Well, except maybe …

    1. CLS

      Jim. C’mon. You’re a smart guy. Think for a minute.

      Crimson may not be a Yale color, but it’s quite prominent for the University of Alabama, and if I was invited to Thanksgiving Dinner by a town sheriff who likened Bear Bryant to G-d and Nick Saban to Jesus, I might swallow my school pride and put on some crimson and houndstooth for my own safety’s sake.

      1. Jim Tyre

        Nah. Crimson is Harvard’s color. No Yalie would be caught dead wearing Harvard’s color, regardless of other circumstances

            1. Guitardave

              Now that was a “DAMN! I shoulda thought of that” moment. I wore the grooves out on that album.
              Scott…I’m thankful i found this place, and i deeply appreciate the enthusiastic support you’ve shown, i only wish i found y’all sooner….and thanks to all who come here and engage….I hope each and everyone of you have a relaxing and enjoyable turkey day. It’s like i found a…


    I would wear Clemson orange and purple just to get a rise out of Sheriff Roy, shake his hand and tell him, Better luck next year.

  4. B. McLeod

    You ought to see that Cindy,
    She’s learnin’ shit at Yale,
    She’s so woke that she won’t date,
    Anyone ain’t been to jail

    Get along home, Cindy, Cindy,
    Get along home, Cindy, Cindy,
    Get along home, Cindy, Cindy,
    We’ll bury you someday.

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