But look a little closer…
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.
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.