Replace “family” with “tiny little rural Southern town”, and maniacal fratricidal lion with creepy-but-apparently-harmless middle-aged man, and Zazu could well have been referring to Jonesville’s Mr. Bottom.
Three things to note, first:
1) This man’s name was not, in fact, Mr. Bottom. However, I honestly thought it was for several days, so have decided it’s an apt pseudonym.
2) The above quote from The Lion King was chosen for this story as a result of Mrs.C, the LLC virtuoso, describing Mr. Bottom as “the village idiot”. Also because I know all The Lion King songs by heart*, and apparently most of the dialogue too.
3) My time in Jonesville on the whole passed in a lovely blur of chatting to Mrs.C. and Mr.R, watching Arrested Development with L.MiteMaster, and revelling in the glory that is having a guesthouse all to yourself kitted out with movies, novels, and chocolates.
On my last full day in Jonesville, however, L.MiteMaster took a break from writing his graduate school applications and we embarked on a meander around his town with the ever-lovable Doc.
When heading home along the sidewalk, L.MiteMaster and I found ourselves frozen in place by the sight of a blue car careening directly towards us. The car crossed to the wrong side of the road, clanged down and up again across a large pothole, and screeched to a stop mere feet from our perplexed persons.
Readers, I was looking into a car driven by a leprechaun, but I could see no pot of gold.
When this squat, bug-eyed fellow introduced himself as Mr. Bottom (see above) and began asking L.MiteMaster how he was and who I was, I realised I was not in danger of being kidnapped by little people and forced to dance jigs and merry-make all night.
I was, however, in danger of coming across as rude by giggling at inopportune moments…
Conversational Tidbits of Entertainment
Upon hearing my name, Mr. Bottom exclaimed “I know THREE Hannahs! One works in Walmart, one at the video store… and YOU!” (High-pitched emphasis on the “you”.)
He then turned to L.MiteMaster and asked, in a very serious tone, whether he had taken me “to the KFC at Walmart yet”?
Um, not quite. “But we do have KFC in Australia,” I entered into the conversation.
“Really? With all the eleven herbs and spices? Even the secret ones?” He peered at me, almost suspiciously.
“I believe so…” I trailed off, fearing I had broken some leprechaun code of politeness.
Luckily, he seemed merely excited, and proceeded to tell me that there is a Sydney Opera House somewhere in Australia.
After some additional mumbling indecipherable over the roar of cars passing Mr. Bottom (going the right way), L.MiteMaster extricated us from the conversation.
The last thing Mr. Bottom called out, head turned back towards us whilst his car drove forward, was:
“You are blessed to have L.MiteMaster for a friend. Blessed!”
He may be a man who sat on his mother’s lap when being driven to university in his early twenties, who tried to perform an insulin injection on a young diabetic girl, who still dances by thrusting his pelvis around despite being well into his forties, and who goes to skate parks and simply runs up and down the ramps (oh small town gossip, I love you), but he got the last part right.
I guess even village fools can recognise a great friend when they see one.
* Including the ones in The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride. “In Upendi / Where the passionfruit grows sweet / And it’s so divine / That you lose your mind / As it sweeps you off your feet”. Brilliant stuff.