Terri French – When Pig Flies
I come from way north of the Mason-Dixon line. From the land where barbeque is a noun not a verb. Mom took left over beef or pork roast, put it in a pot, and added a ketchup, brown sugar and vinegar mixture. Wala, barbeque! I know those from south of that proverbial line are gnashing their teeth about now. Barbeque ain’t barbeque unless it’s seen a pit and been Bar-Be-Qued.
Since I’ve lived in Alabama for 24 years now, my folks have been introduced to real barbeque. I am convinced my father doesn’t come to visit me but to get his barbeque fix. He stops at the local barbeque place called The Pig Stand before ever reaching my driveway. He calls it the Piggly Wiggly, confusing it with the southern grocery store chain.
I like to cook. When they visit I plan big meals. I don’t know why, he’s never hungry.
“Oh, don’t cook for me, Terri Lynn. I had two piggly wigglys at lunch.”
Just before Father’s Day this year my dad was hospitalized with a bacterial infection. I had already shipped his Father’s Day gift, a full barbeque dinner—pulled pork, beans, slaw, white bread and red sauce—complete with eating instructions (for uninitiated Yankees). It didn’t come from the Piggly Wiggly, but from a popular chain that would air-mail on dry ice. It would arrive in two days. Unfortunately, he would remain in the hospital for over two weeks, subsisting on pablum and green jello. I called mom so she could have the neighbor get the delivery and stick it in her freezer until she could pick it up. I think my father had a porky premonition. That night he said he sure could go for a barbeque.
Three weeks later mom retrieved the meal from the freezer and warmed it up for dad’s dinner. Even warmed up pit barbeque has got to be better than the stove-top concoction. Next time I talk to dad I ask how he liked his Father’s Day gift.
“Well, it was pretty good,” he says, “but it wasn’t no piggly wiggly.”