Pork to patriotism, and in-between

Published 9:48 am Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Pork, politics, pigskin (aka – football) and patriotism will share space in this week’s ramblings from yours truly.

Let’s start with the “other white meat” – pork, as in pork barbecue.

This past weekend’s Heritage Day festival in Ahoskie once again featured the Backyard BBQ Cook-off. As the sun rose – well, kind’a as it was cloudy – on Saturday morning, several men, graced by the event’s first female contestant, fired up their grills behind the Ahoskie Amphitheater and began the task of slow roasting a hog until its skin was golden brown.

Just strolling through “Pig Alley” and filling my nose with the aroma of pork on a grill put my taste buds in overdrive. I couldn’t wait for NC Pork Council judges to make their rounds – where I follow with my camera snapping and my hands pulling that succulent meat from the bone for a quick sample – so I had an appetizer by consuming a pair of barbecue sandwiches, with slaw of course, for lunch.

The 5 p.m. meal was one fit for a king – a huge serving of minced ‘cue (chopped up and seasoned from all the Backyard BBQ entries), slaw, ‘taters and cornbread. While I enjoyed each and every bite – and it’s rumored that even the “Georgia Peach”, Debbie Cowart, liked it – the real winner was the Ahoskie Public Library, the entity receiving the profits generated by the annual event.

And congratulations to the winners – First Place: Tommy Turner and Layne Scott of “Git R Done” based out of Roanoke Rapids; Second Place: Chris and Brandon Copeland of Windsor, aka “Law Dawgs BBQ” who were first-time participants; and, Third Place: the veteran cooking team and Mark Copeland and Bill Perry of Colerain (“The Pocosin Boys”).

In the world of politics, the Republicans have completed their big pep rally down in Tampa while the Democrats flocked to Charlotte to launch President Obama on his quest for reelection.

Now that the two conventions are over, it’s a race to November. Between now and then (and even before the two major political parties gathered for their respective conventions) we’ll be bombarded with political advertising. Both sides will do their best to “one-up” the other, all with slick sound bites aimed at winning our vote.

What I’m really waiting on are the scheduled debates on Oct. 3, 16 and 22 between the two presidential candidates. There’s even one scheduled for Oct. 11 between current Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan (Romney’s running mate….and I hope you knew that already).

I’m keeping an open mind on the candidates until I hear what they have to say during the debates.

For my fellow football fanatics out there, the NFL season is finally here! While my team, the hapless Miami Dolphins, took it on the chin in Sunday’s season opener (a 30-10 loss at Houston), I’m exited to see the beginning of another pro season.

Over in the ranks of college football, my distaste for Steve Spurrier grew larger on Saturday in Columbia, SC. The old ‘Ball Coach” badmouthed last weekend’s opponent (East Carolina) long before the overmatched Pirates made the trip down to the state that couldn’t come up with its own name centuries ago, so they just borrowed from their colleagues to the north.

Then, to pour salt in ECU’s wound, with the Gamecocks comfortably ahead 41-10 late, Spurrier opted to have his quarterback throw a pass inside the game’s final minute. The end result was a 51-yard touchdown and a 48-10 finale.

I beg any SEC coach whose team plays South Carolina this season to build a big lead and then not take your foot off the gas. It makes me happy when old Steve gets cranky on the sideline, yanks off his trademark visor and slams it to the turf.

And, finally, please take a moment today out of your busy schedule to pay honor to lives lost and the heroes that responded on Sept. 11, 2001.

Hopefully, none of us, as long as we’re drawing a breath, will ever forget what happened that particular day. While we emerged as a stronger nation, it taught us a valuable lesson – terrorists can and will strike any where at any time.


Cal Bryant is Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be contacted at cal.bryant@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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