1. Barney Fife.
In a tiny town near my tiny hometown, there’s an annual “Mayberry Festival.” My first real job involved making lopsided ice cream cones at the Dairy Queen, and one afternoon Don Knotts stopped in after his appearance at the festival. He may or may not have ordered an ice cream cone with sprinkles, and I may or may not have made it for him. Our sprinkles were weird, though–not like normal sprinkles at all–and he may or may not have been unhappy with the confection.
2. John Denver
Unlike all you other cool kids, my first concert was John Denver. My not-at-all-hippie family–and I mean that; my uncle referenced my “screwed-up politics” in a get-well note after my big surgery a few years ago– had backstage passes. John wore a button-up white shirt with “Love” sewn on in psychedelic lettering, and was very sweet. I was at an age when just about anything made me burn with embarrassment, and I wish I had the photo taken with him, in which I wore my hair in a poodle-puff, thick glasses, and a smirk.
3. Vicente Fox
Yes, that’s Mexico’s answer to Bill Clinton–former President Vicente Fox. His family has roots in Cincinnati, and before that in Germany. When his family immigrated, they Anglo-cized “Fuchs” into Fox. My family story matches, including the years in which these events occurred. He recently visited the city, and apparently reunited with local family members. I wasn’t contacted, but I wouldn’t be; a full half of my family likes to pretend I don’t exist. So what if Fuchs is like Smith. Are you out there Cousin Vicente? It’s me, Coral.
4. The Flaming Lips
My fiance’s cousin’s band opened for them on tour recently, for a series of shows. When Wayne heard their van broke down, he fixed it for them. Magically. Or something like that.
5. Ashley Judd
Why? First, there are no women on the list. Second, half the people on my list are dead. Finally–and most importantly–she’s my celebrity look-alike. And by that I mean…one person told me I look like her. That may have happened in the nineties, too. Anyhow.