blissful Sunday morning

drinking: Danger Monkey coffee

reading: Andy Root’s The Promise of Despair

soundtrack: Over the Rhine‘s fabulousness called The Long Surrender, on vinyl



Happy Birthday, Mom

Today would have been my mom’s seventieth birthday. These last few days, I’ve found myself wondering what the last nineteen years would have been like, and who she would be today, had her story here on earth ended differently.  That’s not to say that her legacy doesn’t live on in me, and in my brothers. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of her, that I don’t miss her fiercely.

Today I wonder:

…would green still be her favorite color?

…would she still have the ever-present glass of iced tea within arm’s reach?

…could she ever get enough of the three little bitty Cliffords?

…would theological differences be a hard line in the sand?

…would she still be sneaking into construction-in-progress houses on her evening walks, trying to imagine what the finished product would look like?

…what would be the winner in her Garden & Gun Ultimate Southern Food Bracket?

Yes, there are stories I never heard, and stories that I’ll never know the true endings to that I wonder about. But mostly I wonder about the un-lived mundane details that strung together make a life.

In Tennessee, the daffodils are blooming now. By this time, my mom would have made her way out to the country, to what we called ‘one of the old home places’ – a former family property with only the remains of a crumbly foundation, maybe only a few bricks left – to cut some daffodils (or buttercups as we called them) that still bloomed there. One of the ways she always welcomed spring.  Think I’ll track down some grocery store daffodils today.

Happy birthday, Mom.

The Ultimate Southern Food

So, Garden&Gun Magazine recently released the Ultimate Southern Food Bracket on their website. I could tell who my winner would be before I filled out the bracket. Pulled pork BBQ.

Not just any pulled pork BBQ, but Chester County BBQ. Most BBQ nowadays is cooked in an electric smoker. But you can’t beat real BBQ that was cooked whole hog over an open hickory pit.

In 1992 I was living in Birmingham and I took some friends home with me to Tennessee for the weekend. After going to my favorite hamburger joint in the world, my dad decided that everyone needed to see how real BBQ came into being. So, we hauled everyone to Jack’s Creek to check out a BBQ operation. He asked if we could go out back so he could show my friends how BBQ was made. We filed out the screen door to watch the guy in the pit pulling BBQ off the hog and putting it into those little red and white checkered trays. This seemed totally natural to me. No health code, no OSHA regulations, just down-home BBQ. My dad was so proud of this, and bought some for us to take home. Apparently the portly dude in the white undershirt with sweat dripping off of his nose back onto the hog was too much for my friends, and they never tasted it. Me, on the other hand? I would almost get in my car now and drive across the country for a pound of that sweat-infested slow cooked pulled pork. Pulled from around the ribs, of course.