Wherever the Road Leads


Smokin’ Pigs and Fryin’ Fowl

When I was living in Chicago having moved up from Alabama, I worked with a Black guy whose family had moved up from Mississippi when he was a youngster. His momma could cook. Lord have mercy, she could cook. Baked beans with a BIG ole hambone in there, collards with ham hocks and cabbage fried with fatback. He called it “Soul Food”. I didn’t know it had a name. I thought it was all just good Southern cooking.

He invited me over for Easter Dinner at his momma’s house in the South Side of Chicago. Good folks, a good time and some good eatin’. I was sure to thank his momma over and over and it paid off! Occasionally she would send her son in with a ‘Soul Food’ Care package for me, tupperware containers of beans, greens and cabbage. Absolutely delicious.

He remained a ‘friend’ on Facebook for a long while. Two years ago he posted that his momma had passed. Sad. I was proud to have known her.


I was a heavy metal rock-n-roller that refused to grow up for a long, long time. I was the oldest guy in the record store buying AD/DC albums… yes, albums. “97 Rock”, WGRZ in Buffalo New York was my station. But in between AC/DC, Judas Priest, Def Leppard, Metallica and Van Halen, I also liked The Allman Brothers, Foghat, Molly Hatchet, 38 Special, Marshall Tucker, Charlie Daniels and Little Feat. This latter group all seemed to have a similar sound and I realized THAT was Southern Rock.

Someone asked me at the time what Southern Rock was. But you can’t define it. It needs to be discerned.


I have been telling people that part of the problem that I am having in adjusting to life in Canada is that I left Canada as a Canadian and returned as an American. I realize that is only partially true. I doubt that I could simply cross the border into Buffalo or Detroit or Burlington Vermont, sigh and settle down a happy man.

I would heave a sigh of relief that a tank of gas could be had for under a hundred dollars, fill up and head south. It’s hard to explain. Once you’ve got a little of the South in your blood, you just cain’t live anywhar’s else.

Just ask Rick Bragg…



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