We were going to an anniversary party in a nearby town. My aunt and uncle have been married 70 years. Imagine that! Seventy years of marriage and they haven’t killed each other yet, a rare occasion.
It was getting close to lunch time. “Should we eat first or should we find the party place first and then eat?” We decided it would probably be better to find where we were going first and then eat real food or fast food depending on how much time was left.
With modern technology like GPS, it didn’t take long to find the hall, but we didn’t see any restaurants nearby. Once again, modern technology came to the rescue. My sister pulled her Android out of her purse and as luck would have it, she found a barbecue restaurant just down the road.
I’ve heard of this place,” said my sister.”They are supposed to have really good barbecue.”
So, off we went to the really-good-barbecue place. It looked more like a gas station than a restaurant — an old, run-down, country-looking gas station at that.
But my stomach was grumbling and we could smell the smoke from an open pit barbecue out back. The Android didn’t find anything else in the area, so we went in. As my eyes adjusted to the dimness, I didn’t see anything inside but a convenience mart.
“Are you folks wanting to sit down and eat?” the clerk asked, noticing we were a bit over-dressed for a mini-mart.
She pointed us toward the back where there was an add-on room with tables and chairs. Mel’s diner was a gourmet establishment compared to this joint. But good barbecue places are often a bit “rustic.”
Alice the waitress came to our table and asked what we wanted to eat. We didn’t see a menu anywhere. Apparently, they had gone paperless before going paperless was even cool.
“We have pulled-pork barbecue or barbecue chicken,” she said, “and two sides come with that.”
I thought honey would pass out when she mentioned pork, but it wasn’t the sort of place he could expect to be Kosher. He quickly ordered chicken, and the rest of us wavered between pork, chicken, potato salad, baked beans, coleslaw, and fries.
Alice didn’t write anything down. Apparently, when there are only two selections on the menu, it isn’t that hard to remember. Shortly afterwards the food came and the pulled-pork was a mountain of meat served southern-style with a thin barbecue sauce on the side.
Our taste buds were throbbing as we chomped down food, suddenly forgetting to notice our surroundings.
Eventually, the waitress returned to tell us about the fresh pie, home-made only that morning. I couldn’t possibly eat another bite, but when she mentioned chocolate-meringue pie, Honey’s eyes lit up. Chocolate is his weakness.
My sister decided to find the ladies room before we left, which was also the men’s room, a unisex facility before unisex was even cool. She returned to tell us that it was dirty and there were bugs in the bathtub. We couldn’t figure out why a gas station had a bathtub but were afraid to speculate too much.
If there were bugs in the restroom, I didn’t want to think about what might be in the kitchen. I remembered a TV episode of Hill Street Blues where an undercover cop worked as a short-order cook and whacked bugs with the spatula while frying hamburgers.
Thank goodness, the paperless check arrived — that is, the waitress said to tell the cashier four dinners and a dessert. I guess being paperless is easier if everything is the same price.
Pit barbecue slow-smoked for hours is a soul food that everyone should eat at least once before they die, regardless of the sort of joint that you have to go to eat it.
I hope there was no extra protein in anything. But if there was, it hasn’t killed us yet.
Copyright 2012 Sheila Moss – All rights reserved