Over the weekend, Johnny Sampson freaked me out. I spotted some tall, gangly gabacho at SanTana's Día de los Muertos event who looked just like the beloved Memphis at the Santora bartender but had his hair dark--and he looked mean. Sampsons later explained that his dye job to his naturally redhead foliage was because he was prepping to serve as Abe Lincoln on Election Night, but the fucker freaked me out.
It was all for a good cause. Sampson was manning the Memphis bar early in the Election eve, decked in a tuxedo, stovepipe hat and bow tie. The only thing off was the smile--Lincoln was perpetually grim for the obvious reasons, while Sampson never stops smiling. Well, except for the night that freaked me out.
Cheers ring out--Ohio goes for Obama. Sampson carefully pours out a Grand Marnier, pops open a Stella, and even serves coffee. But where's his "I Voted" sticker?
"It's on my other coat," Sampson replies with a laugh. "I did vote!" But before I could ask anything more, off he went to ring up another order. And I directed my attention to the free, delicious pulled-pork sliders and free buffet (mac 'n' cheese, buttermilk-fried chicken wings, cornbread) whipped up by Memphis chef Diego Velazquez for the evening. Honest Abe is a good man.