Thursday, March 09, 2006

Something Special...

I was speeding down Lakewood Avenue in my Mazda on Saturday afternoon, heading to the Southside to run a few errands, when I looked up and saw this sign…




I’ve driven past this establishment several times over the past few months, as it is my shortcut to the interstate, but I've never paid much attention to it.

But look a little closer…





Ha!

You know me...

I decided to go do a little investigating!

I decided to check it out!!

I walked in, and the place was nice and clean (that’s the first thing I look for). It wasn’t crowded. Only a couple of tables were occupied. There was a line of people at the counter, though, and people were coming in behind me. I wanted to take a couple of pictures, but I was hood deep... I thought they may think that I was trying to case the joint!

I finally got up to the counter and there was a soul food bonanza, all crowded onto a six foot long counter.

Oh my!!

There was enough food to feed a few Armies: mashed potatoes, corn, rice, potato salad, fried chicken, baked chicken, corn bread, dinner rolls, squash, cabbage, lima beans, collard greens, macaroni and cheese, candy yams, catfish, green beans, black eye peas, Salisbury steak, cakes and pies…

And of course, all things pork: a whole mess of chitterlings ("chitlins") , neck bones, ribs, pork chops…

…and the “pig foot”.

No I didn’t get a “pig foot” that day. I got a to-go vegetable plate of squash, mac and cheese, and green beans, with a corn muffin for $4.40. That was a good price, and the food was very good: not greasy or salty, but just right!

But what got me was that sign out front…

I thought of my late grandfather when I saw that sign. I laughed aloud. He loved pork.

I remember stopping by to see him one day after leaving work about five years ago. He had lung cancer, and had just gotten out of the hospital. So I made sure to stop by and talk and visit with him whenever possible.

He was leaving the house as I had just arrived, moving quickly down the front steps of his house, walking fast and hard. I watched him quickly snatch open the passenger door of his van and jump in. He was putting on his seat belt by the time I walked up.

“Grandaddy, where you going?”

“Tweet [my uncle] taking me to the store, Lee.”

I leaned against the van. I thought about jumping in the van and riding with them. “What are ya’ll getting at the store?”

“I want to make some barbequed pig feets,” he stated, all loud and proud. "Either you get in this car, Sweet, or go on in the house now!!"

I frowned and stepped back from the car. “Uh… alright. See ya’ll later, then.”

I decided to just go on in the house and hang out with Grandma while they did a “pig foot run.”

I went back to visit him the next day. He’d just finished baking a whole pan of barbeque pig feet.

Much to my dismay, he fixed a huge plate of pig feet and handed it to me.

“Sit down, Lee. Sit down and have some.”

Mind you, I hadn’t had pig feet in about 20 years, and I wasn’t screaming to eat any right then either. It took all that was in me not to just turn around and haul ass. But I sat there with him, and ate a plate of barbequed pig feet. It was an interesting experience, to say the least.

It was like chewing barbeque-flavored sponges and rubber bands.

But I remember that, even though I was completely repulsed by the taste of this special delicacy, I was just glad to share a little time with my Granddaddy, who was sick at the time, and had been undergoing chemotherapy for lung cancer.

The conversation that day and the sound of his laughter as we sat together at the small crowded yellow formica kitchen table eating our barbequed pig feet is something that I wouldn’t give up for the world.

It was something special, indeed.

I haven’t had a "pig foot" since that day some 5 years ago.

But when I saw that sign advertising the “pig foot”….

I thought about Grandaddy…

And how much I really, really miss him.

13 comments:

  1. That was sweet. It's amazing to me the places where we can find a little happiness ... if we would only look.

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  2. Now Ladylee Oldgirl,
    You know I loves me some family, Lord knows I do[like Sophia loved her some Harpo]...but before I let pig's feet pass these here lips, I'd become an orphan! Gurl, I ain't got no serious hang-ups about the swine...but I gotta draw the line somewhere and the foot, nose, ear, and intestine of the swine is where I choose to do it!

    But I know Granddaddy appreciated that moment with his Grandbaby, so I salute you! I never had my Granddaddy around, but you know how I feel about Grandma so I can definitely relate to your "sacrifice" and give you much props!

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  3. @ chele... yep... who woulda thought such a place would bring back memories of my grandfather?

    @ That Original OG Sharon...

    Come on, now!! Girl I KNOW you would swallow a few chitlins, pig ears, pig foots, and pig noses for the fam... I KNOW YOU WOULD!

    COME ON NOW!!

    Say it ain't so!!!!

    But Pig feet slathered with barbeque sauce... that had to be the nastiest ish in the world... I felt like I was on Fear Factor or something...

    And I was sitting there, nodding rapidly when my grinning Granddaddy said "It's good, ain't it, Lee?

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  4. i absolutely love your writing, ladylee. whenever i read your posts, it's like i'm instantly thrown into the story, like i'm that cat in the corner just watching as things play out.

    i never got to know my grandfathers. one died a couple of years before i was born and the other one was a transient alcoholic. i met him once and he scared the crap out of me because he looked just like the guy you see wearing rags and begging for a little money to get his next bottle.

    actually, he WAS that guy...

    but your story made me wish i had a granddaddy just like yours. you were blessed, sista.

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  5. Amazing post, Lady. I really enjoyed it. Gave you a shout out at my blog. Check it out.

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  6. That story is amazing. It is funny how such little things can be a life long memory. I don't do the pork either, but like you said it was worth it for that moment. Great Story. First time here and I enjoyed myself. Have a Great Weekend.

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  7. @ATLien Nikki...

    'Sup girl? Glad you liked the story. And remember, you had that great uncle of yours! Yep, i was blessed to have him in my life. Still hate that he's gone...

    @Stacy-D!

    thanks for the shout out, Ma!!

    @Hali... Thanks Hali! And thanks for stopping by my spot :) !

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  8. Girl that place sounds good to me!

    All of the places here that sell “soul food” close by 4 or 5pm and don’t even serve dinner. Is that crazy or what!?!?!?

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  9. @Dr. Nic... You know Nic, we were just talking about that at work... I was telling my coworkers that a lot of small mom and pop soul food restaurants are like that... Many just trying to avoid being robbed... I was suprised that this place stays open until 10 at night... WOW!

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  10. Please LadyLee. You know you are bringing back memories. Someone jokingly said something to me about country folk eating rabbits and squirrel.
    WELL.... this Cali girl proudly says I'm from Texas - once removed. And I have many many found memories of summers spent eating BBQ 'Coon', rabbit and squirrel at my Pawpaw's house. I'd go so far as to eat one of those pig feet from the corner store to relive just one of those summer visits with my grand parents.

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  11. I love that story, "pig foot"? lol only one not two, pig feet? The diner sound like my favorite spot to get some good old soul food. Great memory!

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  12. @Sherri...

    Coon, Rabbit, and squirrel...

    You.
    Are.
    Country.

    I remember when grandaddy went out in the backyard once and shot a squirrel out of the tree... He skinned it and stewed it... It looked like a naked rat... I didn't touch it!!

    My steddad's mother cooked some coon... They tried to give some to the dog... The dog was backing up from it, shaking it's head... i knew then to leave that ish alone...

    And let's not EVEN talk about the big glass jar of pickled pig feet in the jar on the counter of the local bootleg mom and pop shop...
    (whoever came up with that idea back in the 70's made a MINT!!)

    Too funny, girl!!

    @Nevah...

    "Pig Foot"... I was HOPING that they had ran out of the letter "E" and had to use the "O" s instead!! (PLEASE let that be the reason! LOL!)

    Thanks for stopping by my spot!!! :) come again :)

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  13. Sheryl M.-COFII11:24:00 AM

    Ladylee,

    I love your blog, it is very interesting.

    I really enjoyed your Pig Feet story. Today would have been my father's 70th birthday and the night before he died he had a taste for chitlin's. He cooked and cleaned those chitlin's and was in pork heaven from what my step mom told me. She hates the smell of the chitlins but she was soooo happy he was able to have his favorite meal before he went to glory. Thank you Ladylee for the memories.

    I miss you Daddy!!

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Slap the *crickets* out the way, kindly step up to the mike, and SAY something!!