Love and Bar-B-Q


I am considering a little extramarital hanky-panky.


Now don't get me wrong. I adore my husband. He spoils me rotten, associates "moody" with "cute," and has always been able to make me laugh. And he moved me from the icy wasteland of Chicago back to home sweet home Atlanta. But hey, sometimes a girl gets an offer that's just too good to pass up...


I think I love Atlanta because you can be in the city and drive 20 minutes in any direction and be in some cow fields. Or, more importantly, some horse barn. I have to be near a horse barn. And my particular barn is filled with wonders. They have a barn cat who churns out buckets of kittens at a rate that seems biologically impossible. They have a big, fat meat pig named Soldier who will never, ever be eaten. And, most especially, they have a darling American Quarter Horse named Parker Boy. Parker is for sale. Parker also does not realize he is a Quarter Horse, so he forgot to become a small sturdy good trail horse. Instead he is 16 hand red dun monster who likes to have an English Saddle strapped to his back and to be pointed at jumps.


I drove out there to look at Parker-who-is-for-sale and on the way home I decided to stop at this little watering hole I've been noticing. It's way out in the cotton near my barn and nothing else. It is a shed and it has a big hog shaped sign that says "Roofy's Bar-B-Q and Store."


Now if you are Southern, you know that a filthy shed in the woods is the only place to get Barbecue. It will be equal parts lard and shredded meat parts, the baked beans will melt and burn all at once in their own bed of spicy lard, the coleslaw is made of lard and mayonnaise and will immediately give you a deadly dose of salmonella, so you never eat it, and if you have the BBQ more than twice a year you will die young of a heart attack and have a butt the size of Texas to boot. But every now and again, you just have to eat it because you are genetically programmed as a Southerner to do so. And damn it tastes good.


Roofy's Bar-B-Q and Store had a constant stream of bare chested, snaggly men coming in to buy beer and pork rinds. And such pork rinds. I had never seen pork rinds in their league. They were homemade. They were each three feet long and a foot wide. Just in case you are a Yankee, I should tell you that a pork rind is a strip of pig skin and fat fried up all bubbled and crispy. They give me the complete screaming willies. And these had a label that proudly pronounced "All our Pork Rinds are Fried in Real Lard!"


I was so busy trying to figure out what the frightening alternative to "real lard" might be that I didn't even notice I had an admirer.


Now understand that I had just come from the stables. I was covered in red barn mud. I was sweaty. I had test ridden Parker all over the trails and worked him in the ring and then brushed him down and hugged on him and lolled around in his stall blowing into his nose and patting him. I was covered in hair and horse dander. I was wearing schooling pants and a torn T-shirt advertising a computer game called Starcraft. I looked like complete hell.


But the man behind the counter started talking to me as I waited for my pork plates. He was a pink-eyed, blondish creature with his two front teeth broken on the bias to form exciting fangs. We had the following conversation, which I will explicate so that non-Southerners can follow the conversation:


Him: StirCraft? Whass that shirt about? He is leaning down into my chest to read, six inches from titlandia.


Me: It's, um, a computer game. I am peeking at the vast pork rounds in such fascinated horror that I barely register the comment.


Him: You got a cumpooter? Whatchoo do with that? He is still leaning in and ostensibly reading my shirt. I clue in that something is going on.


Me: Um, you know, play games, write e-mail.... I back up a step.


Him: Whass E-mail? He leans forward, craning over the counter. Apparently the front of my shirt is soaring up the NYT best-seller lists.


Me: It's um, like, letters. I actually PICK UP a horrid giant bag with a mutant pork rind in it, pretending to read the "Fried In Real Lard!" label to cut him off as he leans towards my boobs like a starving, fanged baby.


Him: HOICK! If I got cumpooter would chew write me a letter? "Hoick" is an EXACT phonetic duplication of what he said. I can't help you any more with this one.


Me: Um, I don't think my husband would want me to....


Him: HO! Fergit it! I don't wanna git SHOT! He is in deadly earnest, holding his hands up in the air as if I have my loaded husband pointing at his chest on a hair trigger.


Just then my take-out arrived and I fled into the night with my saucey meat fat products. The Barbecue, needless to say, was utterly heavenly and kept me up half the night sick as a dog.


I am considering a little extra-marital love, but not, thank you, at Roofy's Bar-B-Q and Store. My husband doesn't feel too threatened. The rival for my affections, after all, is hairy and stinky and lets me strap a saddle on him and sit on him and boss him. Oh, and he's gelded.