Only a true friend would take this kind of abuse

It's a banner day at the Morris household. My good friend Jay Bell is coming for a weekend visit.

When he found out the Black Crowes were going to be in town, he agreed to make the five-and-a-half-hour drive from Atlanta, even though he knows my grandmother hates him.

Actually, Mama Ree doesn't hate anybody, but she overheard Jay making unsavory comments on the night before my wedding and she's been wary of him ever since.

She heard me using similar phrases while watching a disastrous football game a couple of years later, but she's forgiven me because I'm a blood relative. Mama Ree also loves my wife, so that probably helped my cause.

I hadn't planned on writing about Jay Bell this week, but he pestered me into it.

"Let the women in Tupelo know I'm coming over," he said. "You know, get the word out."

By the way, he's read and approved everything I've written so far. I get his approval every time I slander him in the Daily Journal.

What a good sport. I drag his name through the mud and still he returns my calls. Amazing.

Would you put up with that kind of abuse?

I wouldn't.

I think it helps that Jay doesn't visit the area often. This will be his third trip since Michaela and I moved here.

The first time, we forced him to help us hang pictures throughout the house. Since that was within a month of our moving to town, we had plenty of other chores to keep him busy.

The second time, we made him help decorate the house for a Halloween party, but at least he got to enjoy the fun.

He was the Domino's Pizza guy who never left. He'd worked for the pizza company back in college and kept the uniform for costume parties. The other partygoers kept wondering when he was going to continue on his appointed rounds.

This time, we'd planned on having him paint our guest bedroom, which would leave him with nowhere to sleep.

Michaela had an answer. She was going to make him a pallet of old blankets on the kitchen floor next to the dog.

I thought the dog might resent the intrusion, so we canceled the painting project.

We're going to keep the chores to a minimum this time. We'll enjoy the Black Crowes on Friday, and we'll probably go out to Tombigbee State Park on Saturday where I'll school him in the art of Frisbee golf.

If you hear any unsavory comments screamed at Tombigbee State Park, please don't tell Mama Ree. Jay Bell's in enough heat with her already.

And if you're a woman and you happen to meet Jay Bell during his visit, don't be alarmed. He's relatively harmless.

He didn't really say many of the anti-female comments that have been attributed to him in the paper.

Actually, what he said was much worse, but I cleaned it up to fit in a family newspaper.

There I go again, having fun at Jay Bell's expense. I'm terrible.

Bad, Scott.

Bad, Scott.

But, you know, it's not all my fault. I wasn't going to write about him this week, but he wouldn't leave it alone.

"When are you going to put me in the paper, Morris?" he kept badgering. "It's been forever. Put me in this week. Let the women know I'm coming."

"I could give Mama Ree a call," I said.

"That's not even funny, Morris," he said. "You don't know when to quit, do you?"

It's going to be a fun weekend.

M. Scott Morris is the Daily Journal entertainment writer.

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