The managing editor and I were out junkin'; we caught the aroma in the air. That wafting olfactory announcement that makes any advertisement for a real BBQ place superfluous. That flying scent of hardwood smoke mixed with the glorious dripping of the heat liquefied fat of swine. I knew what was for lunch.
Let me start by saying that I hold a skepticism for BBQ places with more than one location. It can be done, but it rarely works. And any BBQ place that sells their sauce in stores in suspect as well. BBQ is supposed to be made in a place you have to think twice about walking into. BBQ in a strip mall is O-U-T. Not even a consideration. Forget it. There's a reason we call it a BBQ joint.
Enter Williamson Brothers in Marietta. In the interest of disclosure, Williamson Brothers has locations in Douglasville and Canton. The first time I had heard of them was when I saw bottles of their sauce in a local grocery storeThe Roswell Road location is in an out-parcel in an old strip mall. Warning bells were going off, but the smell was just too good.
We were seated promptly despite a rather robust crowd within the restaurant. The meal started with an appetizer - fried green tomatoes. The portion was generous. The tomatoes were excellent. Steaming hot and cooked well without being turned into mush. And these tomatoes were thickly sliced. The breading was perfectly light and crisp with a tantalizing blend of seasonings. Served with a jalapeno ranch dipping sauce, they easily could have been a meal or so says the managing editor.
The menu was large and diverse. But I didn't follow the aroma to find myself eating a cheeseburger. I wanted to know the truth. I ordered the pork sandwich and it was a good chopped sandwich with enough sauce to get the job done, but not so much as to overwhelm the flavor of the meat. My wife, preferring a slightly sweet BBQ sauce, found the original sauce fit her taste buds and I was satisfied by its slight heat. This generous sandwich was more than enough for lunch, and the seasoned steak fries were a nice side.
Although quite full, when there is pecan pie, there is room for dessert. It wasn't as good as Mama's or the managing editor's. It didn't come with the managing editor's exquisite bourbon whipped cream. (See Our Dixie New Year). However, it was a nice slice of pecan pie and it was hot on arrival. It was a quite fitting desert to follow up some Georgia BBQ.
On the way out, I took a look at the meat cooking. The pit is open with the meat rotating in plain view. It makes the menu decision all the more difficult as you watch the ribs and other meats going up and down and around as the smoke wafts up all around it. The cook must be used to folks catching photos of his handiwork, or at least his reaction indicated that was the case.
So the food was good, the service was excellent, the price was decent. It was a good experience all the way around. And, if you're in the area and in the mood for junkin', The Classy Flea and the Marietta Antique Mall flank the restaurant on each side. So don't let the location fool you. Williamson Brothers is a good stop. Check them out.
I'm sitting here enjoying a warm cup of vanilla chamomile tea, recovering from helping my son with his math homework and enjoying the glory of what could be nothing less than an epiphany!
That's right ladies and gentlemen, somewhere in the midst of deciphering fractions with polynomials I had an earth shattering revelation. It's the kind or revolutionary unveiling that has the potential to sweep across the globe and change existence as we know it. I'm talking the perfect balance of the yin and the yang. I'm talking peace in the Middle East. I'm talking cats and dogs living in harmony. This might even solve the budget crisis.
It's no secret that there are two types of smart people in this world.
First there are the word people.
The artisans of the belles lettres - the poets, authors, essayists, screenwriters, playwrights, the storytellers that add beauty to our world, entertain our minds, and even ensure the survival of the species by helping us fall in love.
There's the journalists, editors, publishers, and reporters that tell us what is going on in the world around us. They help us know what to expect in our cities, towns, states, and even across the globe.
There are the lawyers, orators, priests, philosophers, and even the evolutionary ancestors of our current politicians, the statesmen, These people write our laws, recite our creeds and philosophies, and inspire us to be good citizens. From this group we derive law and order. This is the organization of our society that helps us live among each other.
And there are the archivists, the historians, archaeologists, anthropologists, and professors of the humanities that help us understand all of these things above.
Together we make up an important team that the world needs. And we use letters, beautiful letters to share our craft with the world.
Shakespeare, Hemingway, T.S. Eliot, Marlowe, Tolkien, and Rowling are examples of word people.
Then there are the number people. They're a mostly scientific lot. Engineers, astronauts, IT personnel, machinists, surveyors, physicists, astronomers, and computer programmers, are all number people. They are different from word folks in that they are about function, not form. It's a really practical bunch. Numbers on this side, numbers on that side, and as long as they all shake out, everything is just dandy.
But somewhere along the line the number people got jealous. It wasn't enough that they had invented the wheel. They weren't content that they had mastered the arch, the structure that made bridges, the aqueducts of Rome, and even the palatial libraries and cathedrals of the word people possible. No, none of this sustained them. Their hearts were filled with iniquity and they hated their wordy brethren with the same hate that Cain felt for his favored brother, Abel. They sought to strike out against them and unleash vengeance. Because just as Darth Vader knew that the ability to destroy planet is insignificant next to the power of The Force, the number people knew the ability to put a man on the moon is insignificant next to the power of The Picture of Dorian Gray.
So the number people, addled by the fury in their souls, grabbed the letters, the precious possessions of the word people, and they mingled the beautiful letters in with the crude numbers. They gave some of the letters prominence, and others they ignored entirely.
They took the polite and humble "i" who never hurt a soul and turned it cruel and raunchy. It became the most irrational of all the numberized letters, an imaginary number, one that didn't even make sense to the number people as no such number could even exist in nature. It had to be created in some dank lab in Romania with a tortured little hunchback to go out and gather parts from deceased letters to make this beast of an irrational number.
But it doesn't have to be this way.
We can reason with the number people. We can reach out to them and try to make amends for whatever might have happened to cause the iniquity in the hearts of our numbering brethren. We can give them the validation they need for their role in our society. We must ask for them to let our letters go. The English letters, the Greek letters, all the letters. We can ask for them to agree that pies are round and that no natural tree grows cubed roots. We can end the bondage of our much maligned "i" and release him from his dark fate.
And then we can work together, forging a new world. We can allow numbers and letters to live side-by-side...just not in the same math problem.
I've spent much of this summer working on the Summer Fiction Series. I'm not sure how popular that option was. Even the managing editor shared concerns that it was not as good as the usual commentary that I share here. But I had fun with it.
But now I would like to get back to the normal swing of things and share some thoughts. In fact, the point of the fiction was to serve as some sort of parable to help illustrate some of the concerns I have right now.
We've found ourselves in tumultuous times. We've got new wars brewing while our kids are still returning from the old ones in boxes. We have the incarnation of evil, killing people in houses of worship and even on live TV. We have people standing against gay marriage only to find out that they are far from the ideal in matrimony. The percentage of kids being born or raised outside of in-tact families is still obscenely high. And now we are hearing that Planned Parenthood is parting out unwanted children as if they were wrecked cars. The federal government, who can't seem to even pay their own bills, is trying to micromanage public education and failing miserably. The more they intervene, the worse things get.
My son even came home the other day and told us one of his teachers complained about him calling her "ma'am". We, of course, informed him that he was to address her as such, regardless of her reservations. We have to show respect in society if it is going to survive.
And this is the world in which we are trying to raise responsible, well-adjusted children that will inherit and carry on our civilization.
In the tale, Uriah saw an assault on his society, his way of life. It was the same assault that his grandfather had faced off against in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania some 60 years ago. Times had changed and taken some of the issues with them. But the underlying issue of an individual, local, agrarian system vs. a corporate, centralized machine. In order to win this fight, he had to decide what was essential to the survival of his society and what had to be jettisoned.
That is where we find ourselves today.
In that pursuit, it is now imperative that we look at our world and determine what we have to keep and what we have to jettison. The goal has to be the preservation of this society and even getting back to some of the more civilized ways that kept our world stable before. And when it comes to preservation of society, the world has always looked to the conservative within civilization. But I'm afraid that they've lost their way, dropped their compass, forgotten who they are. Consider this:
I could go on, as there are at least 1000 more instances I could mention. But we live in a world that is becoming increasingly vulgar, informal and, as a result, more chaotic. Because a casual, poorly educated, poorly disciplined populace that cannot respect itself has no way to muster the respect for a society that is needed to keep the entire thing from crumbling in on itself. Which is where we find ourselves today.
Time-honored traditions are there for a reason. They aren't just window dressing. They are the mortar that holds the bricks of civilization together. Polished shoes, singing a psalm on Sunday, adhering to appropriate dress in public, even a simple "yes ma'am" may seem like insignificant or even outdated gestures but they go counter to the onslaught on our way of life that has been raging since the 1960s - the very onslaught that has brought us to the days when a coward can kill two innocent people on live TV. It's the same onslaught that has brought us to the days when TV journalists can say such cowardly acts are justified. We won't even discuss award shows. Any award shows. Not one.
I'm not writing this as a doomsday of God's judgement. I don't think we are falling into the avenging hand of the God of the Old Testament. I believe it is much more a cause and effect situation. Because we have no orthodoxy - no orthodoxy in the church, no orthodoxy in the statehouse, no orthodoxy in the courthouse, no orthodoxy in the schoolhouse, no orthodoxy in the clubhouse, no orthodoxy in any area of our lives, our society is falling apart. We have reached the point that there is no standard, everything is relative. Everything is based on our inner compass of right and wrong and there is no outer authority to set the bar for our we as people or a society should behave.
And many fellow conservatives, especially Southerners, would point out tat God himself is that outside source of authority. But in the same breath they are unwilling to address the issues of the lack of orthodoxy in our churches. Their behavior is indicative of what I remember from college, when I swore off my faith, lest my choices caused a foul light to be cast on my savior. Are we really ready to dig into the scripture and the history of the Church to find out where all we're missing the boat? Are we willing to live the life that is expected of the people we profess to be?
I'm being heavy handed on my fellow conservatives. That's because We are who I blame for the shape this nation is in. We aren't offering a bad alternative to liberalism. We're offering no alternative to liberalism. We've watered down our lives spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, and socially. We haven't maintained high expectations for ourselves. We've made mentors of clowns and charlatans while the books filled with knowledge handed down from the fathers of our political thought have gathered dust. We've voted for "electable" candidates, even when we knew they weren't conservative. We've been quiet while Republicans have usurped our rights, because they weren't Democrats.
If you really want to save this nation, read a book. Read a book that's older than you. If you need ideas, Find me on Goodreads. Between me and my excellent friends, you'll find some suggestions on things to read. Demand more of yourself, your church, your school, your social organization. Demand more out of me. Demand more, period.
I'm finished rambling for now. But I'll be back.
Historian, self-proclaimed gentleman, agrarian-at-heart, & curator extraordinaire