We were stationed in Clarksville, TN back in 1991 and found a place to live in Hopkinsville KY, not far away. Robert went into the Xerox store for some reason and met John. One thing lead to another and in true Southern hospitality, we were invited into the lives of John and Helen. We’ve been good friends ever since. In fact, our first trip after Peggy retired was to head back East and visit them.
Unfortunately, Helen was in the midst of a migraine headache that was incapacitating. Although she made a valiant attempt to entertain us, she was mostly confined to bed. This was the first serious attack in five years and we hope it’s more than that before the next one – if ever. And, although she was only six the last time we saw her (now seventeen), their daughter, Allison, stepped in to provide company to guests we’re sure she doesn’t remember.
John’s reputation as a barbecue cook is only surpassed by his (and Helen’s and now Allison’s) generosity. He is well known in the community as a cook and a good neighbor. He is also well known on the West Coast since we live there. True to form, we dined on some humongous T-bone steaks and twice baked potatoes, the first night. We also had a “taste test”. We had brought (courtesy of Peggy’s sister, Mikie) some Colorado bourbon and we compared that to two fine Kentucky bourbons. John, a connoisseur of fine bourbons was impressed. We, with our less refined palate, liked the wonderful aroma, smooth taste, and pleasant after taste of all of them and declared a draw or, at least, we didn’t have a favorite.
After much catching up, we retired fairly early (2200) just after John put tomorrow night’s dinner (a Boston Butt) in the smoker.
The next morning, John and Robert, went to a local donut shop and purchase bou coup donuts and some sausage and jalapeño croissant-like thingies. The jalapeño was a little over the top (but Robert had to open his big mouth and say “Sure” when asked if they should have them). So we chased them down with jelly rolls and chocolate covered donuts. That worked.
We took a little break to do some shopping and get the oil changed (Silver needs care and feeding, too). Then spent the afternoon chatting and watching the world cup football matches (we Americans are the only ones to call it soccer). The rest of the afternoon was mellow and wonderful and full of anticipation of the dinner to come.
The dinner exceeded our expectations that had been building since we decided to do this trip! Served with coleslaw and some KILLER baked beans, the resulting barbecue was more wonderful than we could ever image! It’s no wonder folks ask John to make BBQ for them! Slow cooked overnight, the pork butt was moist and tender and oh, so delicious! So, once again, we ate WAY too much, but managed to save room (not really, we had to use a ram rod and stuff it down) for ice cream and a yummy cake made by the next door neighbor, Holly (thank you!).
And, by the way, barbecue is a noun, not a verb. And it’s never beef. We got that straight from the horses mouth.
Twelve years between visits is far too long, especially with friends like John, Helen, and Allison. Of all the people we’ve met over the years, they have been one of the most generous with their homes and hearts. A day and a half is just not enough time, but we’re on the road and John and Allison (Helen is too sick for the drive) are off to a family reunion in St. Louis, so we departed Saturday morning.