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Thursday, August 04, 2016

On Barbecue and Watermelon and Hometowns

Jean Sexton muses:

Until I moved to Amarillo in 2013, I had lived all my life in eastern North Carolina. Almost half of that was in the town of Murfreesboro in northeastern North Carolina, about 60 miles south of Norfolk. The rest of it was in Robeson County in southeastern North Carolina. Those years shaped my tastes.

To me, barbecue is made from pulled pork, basted in a vinegar-based sauce. Eastern North Carolina doesn't waste any meat as it is lightly smoked over either hickory or oak (or a combination). Pulled, chopped, or minced, the meat is a tasty complement to coleslaw, boiled potatoes, and hush puppies.

Pork Fest 2006

Watermelon was always a special treat. My Dad and I loved it. Mom would sigh and make room in the fridge for the huge melon. She encouraged us to eat it, hoping to free up the space sooner rather than later. She was happy when they came out with the round ones because Dad and I could finish it in one sitting. I was happy to find bowls filled with pre-cut chunks -- less mess to clean up. When Dad passed away, one of our neighbors brought slices over and all I could think was I wished Dad were there to share it. The first bite of the season that I take is always for him.

Murfreesboro has a lot of history and festivals throughout the year. One of those is the Pork Fest where teams compete for best barbecue and best presentation. After the judging, the different meats are all minced up and served up. Yummm! The other festival (going on right now) is the Watermelon Festival. There are lots of things to do including (you guessed it) eating watermelon.

My hometown has much to draw my thoughts to it: history (it was a King's Landing), cultural activities via Chowan University (then Chowan College), and a peaceful way of life. I'm not blind to its problems (it is 60 miles from a major population center with large hospitals and even further to an easily accessible airport), bu some days I find my mind dreaming of a long-ago past when summers were spent at the pool and Sunday afternoons the children played while the fathers played tennis and our mothers chatted with each other.

Now it is time for me to make memories in my new hometown. Some are great: time spent with friends and pets. Those are the ones I hope to remember as I get older. I hope you also find time to make some memories to enjoy.