Meat and Greet

“Barbecue may not be the road to world peace, but it’s a start.” – Anthony Bourdain

Barbecue is a versatile word. It can refer to an outdoor place to cook meat; to cooking meat; and can also reference a gathering of people for the purpose of serving meat cooked outdoors.

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language defines barbecue as:

barbecue (bärˈbĭ-kyo͞oˌ)►

n. A grill, pit, or outdoor fireplace for roasting meat.
n. A whole animal carcass or section thereof roasted ...
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Fighting for Civility

 

This space is normally relegated to discussing Green Stamps, cashing in pop bottles found on the side of the road, or other memories from my youth.

All of the topics addressed here are presented for a couple of reasons. One, in my opinion, Americans are the most nostalgic bunch on the planet. Two, talking about shared experiences brings a respite from today’s stressors.

A common thread in the stories I tell (and I didn’t think about it until I sat down to ...

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Pots Unknown

You’ve seen them. You may even own one. But, if you do, odds are you’re not using it for its intended purpose. I’m talking about cast iron wash pots. Also referred to as gypsy pots.

Many people call all of the large cast iron pots “gypsy pots,” but that’s like calling all soda pops a “Coke.” There is such a thing as a gypsy pot, but it’s different from a wash pot. Although, either can be used for just about anything.

If ...

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The Beet Goes On

When I was a kid, I wasn’t a huge fan of most vegetables, but one that I absolutely loved was beets. My dad’s mom used to grow and can them.

Not that canning vegetables was unusual. Most of my family had a garden, and what couldn’t be eaten was canned. This included corn, okra, tomatoes, and lots of other veggies.

But, my grandmother was the only one in the family that I recall who grew and canned beets. Or, as some of ...

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Father Time

My earliest memories of him are his smiling face and his laugh.

And his singing. As he would hold me tightly and pat my back, the resonance of his baritone voice in my ears and against my chest gave me what every child needs – attention and the assurance of unquestionable love.

I believe that he sang to me, and later to my younger sister, for many reasons. He enjoyed singing, but I also believe that singing was how he connected with ...

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Taking Turns

 

The night was hot and humid.

We were the first class, in as far back as anyone could remember, to have to graduate in the gym. 

I say, “have to,” because in those days, the gym was not air-conditioned.

It was raining. Hard. So, the gym it would be.

We stood in our purple caps and gowns, and we sweated. And sweated.

The guest who was invited to give our class commencement address was oblivious to everything but the sound of his own voice.

So, ...

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Chicken, Preachers, and Presidential Candidates

Few restaurants can make a Southern staple better than homemade, but Kentucky Fried Chicken does.

If I’ve eaten fried chicken at your house, please don’t take this wrong. I’m sure your chicken is excellent. But one man was able to take a chicken, 11 herbs and spices, and a pressure cooker and hit it out of the park. That man was Harland Sanders.

We all know him as Colonel Sanders — a title bestowed on him by the Commonwealth of Kentucky, not ...

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Cat Help It

“Never again,” I said.

We had lost our dog, Bert, and less than a year later, our cat, Spooky. Both had lived very long lives. Bert was around 15, and Spooky 19, but the pain was just too much to contemplate another pet.

During the days that followed our cat’s departure, I would think that I heard her mewing at the door, or had seen her out of the corner of my eye. I would wait for her to brush against my ...

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Stinging It Together

 

His name was Nelson Carson.

I was a young, white kid. He was an older African-American gentleman. While the evening news was filled with stories of protests related to bussing and school integration, the two of us came together once every week. He to supplement his income, and me to learn from him.

It was the mid-1970s and Mr. Carson was my guitar teacher. He wasn’t my first musical instructor. Mike Hubrel took me as a student for a couple of years ...

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Biscuits, Gravy, and Other Lifesaving Medications

My eyes slowly opened and I would try to focus. The rest of my senses were greeted with the sounds and smells of a 1960s Southern breakfast and my mom moving around in our small kitchen, located on the other side of my bedroom door.

I would turn over, but stay snuggled under the covers, which I kept tightly tucked under my neck. It was a feeling I wanted to hold on to as long as the clock would let me.

Swinging ...

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