Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Pig Out

Q-What did the Governor of North Carolina say to the Governor of South Carolina ?

A-It has been a long time between drinks.


I straddled the boundary between North and South Carolina today. It is divided not by a river or a mountain but by the "State Line Fireworks" store which is the first thing to greet you as you enter the Palmetto state. Before liquor by the drink came to Texas, Louisiana had a string of bars at the state line so that a thirsty Texan could get loaded the minute he stepped into that state. That is, if he was not already loaded because it was perfectly legal in Texas, in those days, to drive around at 75 miles an hour taking pulls from a Wild Turkey bottle.

Largely through the largess of my daughter's boy friends's parents, my daughter and her boy friend chartered a fishing vessel for the morning, necessitating us to rise early and drop them off at a marina near the state line. They managed to catch over thirty Spanish Mackeral which, when you add on the gas and the tips and the coolers and the ice we purchased meant that each fish cost a little less than $19 a piece, or $38 a fillet. We will see how many we can eat tonight. My guesss is that we will average a couple of fillets apiece which will make the cost per dinner about $75 a plate. Actually, that's only about twice what we are paying for fish dinners out here, so that's not too bad.

While the kids were hauling in the big catch my wife and I drove up to Wilmington North Carolina, which you will remember from history was the most important port in the Confederacy, especially after the Yankees captured New Orleans, Galveston and Mobile.Wimington is a very historic city with a huge district of houses dating back to the 18th and 19th century.It is also the home of the USS North Carolina which I might have visited had I not read a flyer advising claustraphobics to stay away.

Of more importance to me was our tour of Wrightsville Beach. A town where my parents had lived circa 1951. My father and his erstwhile cousin J.J. had cooked up some plan to sell life insurance to G.I.s and did not make quite the money they were in hopes of making. My father went on to a serious career as a Texas sales man. As mentioned previously in these pages, J.J. went on to actually play "the big con". So I suppose my father is lucky that he got out of the partnership when he did.

It is weird driving around a place where your parents lived well over half a century ago.I kept looking for buildings which would have been there when they were there. There were precious few. Wrightsville beach, whatever it was during the later Truman years, is today a prosperous beach community with beautiful homes and boats.

I am, happy to report that I am now able to check Carolina BBQ off of my list of things to do out here. I tracked down a place called "Pig Out" in Two Rivers and did as the name advised.Pulled pork and ribs with vinegar based, mustard based and tomato based sauces. Each sauce more delicious than the last. Beautiful mounds of Carolina "red" cold slaw served up by a 400 pound, 28 year old man in a gimmie cap who could only have been named Tiny. I like to think that if my folks had stayed in Wrightsville all those years ago that I would have a place of my own ,like the Pig Out, today. I'd look a lot like Tiny, but with grayer hair. There is a lot less stress in the food serving business if, like Tiny, you don't much give a damn how long it takes to serve each customer. It is a niche that I could enjoy.

Probably the highlight of the day was pulling into a drive in to get some ice tea ( I was sleeping at the wheel). We stayed for about half an hour listening to the people order over the loud speaker in the drive through.Every single one of them began their order the same way, "gimmie sum a'that------(you fill in).The funny thing was, it never got old. I'd still be there right now if we had not had to pick the kids up and haul off the catch of the day. It was worth the whole trip.

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