RiRi Nibblett and The Burning Ring of Fire


When The Amazon was in middle school, she had this friend named RiRi Nibblett. RiRi's family lived out in the country (that's what we call that stretch of rural landscape between town and the state line) at the end of a dirt road somewhere back in a quiet holler. Her dad, JonJon Nibblett was well known around town, barely five feet tall, always wreaking of cheap beer and wearing an oversized straw cowboy hat that made him look like the old sleeping Mexican stereotype.

RiRi was an odd youngin, but I always figured it was due to her being raised by her dad with the only female influence in her life her emotionless stepmother who had little or nothing to do with her. I don't remember what happened to her mama, if she died or ran off, I just know she wasn't around.

I first met RiRi when T.A. brought her home to spend the night. She wasn't very tall, a little pudgy, with mousy brown hair and a mouth that would wake the dead. She belched, farted and stated her opinions on various subjects freely. She had no mental filter, no inside voice, no couth whatsoever. When I offered her some Mountain Dew to drink, she hollered with an air of authority, "Law no! I ain't drinkin' no Mountain Dew cuz I heared it kills your sperm."


I really don't know about the sperm thing. Drink responsibly.

I tried to delicately explain to RiRi that while I was pretty sure sperm wouldn't be harmed by a glass of Dew, she had nothing to fear, being a girl and sperm free. I could tell from the look on her face that she didn't believe me.

The Nibbletts made the Big City news a couple of times. Some families seem to attract drama like horseflies to a pile of mule scat.

The first time, a man rumored to be a drifter from somewhere up north was staying with the Nibbletts, working for JonJon. Personally, I think it was the convict RiRi had been keeping in touch with while he finished out his prison sentence for God-Knows-What, but that's just my opinion. Anywho, in a fit of crazy, the drifter stood in the front yard of the Nibbletts' house, poured a five gallon can of gasoline over his head, then calmly lit a match and set himself ablaze, to the horror of RiRi and JonJon.

The official investigation into the incident determined his death to be a suicide, but the Frog Pond Holler rumor mill had it's own ideas. With no other witnesses besides RiRi and her pop, speculation ranged from JonJon having set the young man on fire when it was found he was messing around with one of his daughters, to RiRi herself having done it with her daddy's help.

There's no tellin' what really happened.

The second time the Nibbletts made the news, their house caught on fire. They said it was because no one had ever cleaned out the lint trap on the dryer. I don't know if it's true, but I think of them every time I put a load in the dyer, reaching in to scrape any lint from the trap that I can find.

A year or two later, RiRi vanished from Frog Pond Holler for a while. The rumor was that she'd gotten pregnant and been sent to live with relatives, others even speculating that RiRi's stepmother had sold the baby for money to buy a new washer and dryer. I don't know what was true and what wasn't, I just knew she was gone.

RiRi came back to the holler recently. I think she's still living out at the end of that dirt road, somewhere out in the country.

I hadn't really given her much thought until T.A. texted me yesterday that her friend Maddie was fixin' to go find RiRi and kick her butt. Seems Maddie's boyfriend, The Boy from South Carolina, admitted to doin' the nasty with RiRi while parkin' in the family cemetery. That alone would be bad enough, but Maddie and The Boy had been planning their wedding for early next year.

Personally I'd like to take a tire iron to The Boy's cranial region, especially after he used the "I couldn't help it" excuse. That doesn't say much for his machismo. When T.A. told me that her, Maddie and The Boy's mother had to plan an intervention to discuss his personal hygiene issues so that he could maybe get a job, I knew he needed to go.

These chil'ren are grown ya'll. Ain't no sense in this mess.

The last I heard, Maddie had sent the boy packing back to S.C. but I figure he'll be back in a few weeks, when RiRi comes up preggers, 'cuz that's how she rolls.

I just hope she doesn't set him on fire.

We'll talk again soon. Ya'll take care.

Later Taters!