15 March 2016
Note: Dennis Holder, a former humor writer for 713 Magazine, Ultra, and other publications, may have stretched the facts just a little for this interview.
Where do you live?
I live in Kents Store. Understand, though, that my home is not in downtown metropolitan Kents Store but on the outskirts. I live in a house that I built with my own hands using nothing but matchsticks. There are more than 300 million matchsticks and it took me 17 weeks just to count them. When the wind blows, I live in my car. I own 300,000 acres of fertile Fluvanna County farmland that I won in a poker game a couple of years ago. Except for a small kumquat orchard, this land is planted entirely in radishes. I am the largest radish grower in Virginia. Most of the others are dwarves.
How long have you lived in Fluvanna? What brought you here?
I came to Fluvanna County rather hurriedly in 2001. My first ex-wife’s next husband was a Greek sailor with a typical Mediterranean temper. He became enraged when my ex told him that I hated retsina. My former father-in-law called to say that the Greek had a gun and was looking for me. I decided to get out of Dallas, where I lived at the time. I knew the sailor did not speak English, and a little research showed there was no Greek word for Fluvanna, so I figured he could never find me here. What actually brought me to Fluvanna, however, was a rented Penske bobtail truck. I stowed away in a crate marked “Fragile!”
Tell us about your family.
I came from a show business family. My mother was the bearded lady in the famous J.W. Peterson’s Traveling Episcopalian Tent Revival and Cavalcade of God’s Mistakes. She also sang bass in a Polish barbershop quartet. My father played the harp in a marching band and gave private lessons on the ukulele. I had two brothers, both younger. One was a professional tennis player who one day charged the net too hard and strained himself. The other also was athletic, but he wound up singing soprano with the Atlanta opera after a pole vaulting accident.
Currently, I live with my delusional girlfriend, Helvetica, who steadfastly believes she is Phyllis Diller. She has a cat, Pajamas, an ocelot from Trinidad. I have a dog, Brobdingnag, an Abyssinian Beaverhound that we rescued from a sausage factory near Seattle. We also have 16 penguins who live in a refrigerated room in the basement.