Seven Fires for cooking

1) a parilla grill with a mother fire supplying it with charcoal.  2) a chapa griddle.  3) horno de barro, a wood oven. 4) caldero cauldron. 5) rescoldo, cooking in ashes. 6) infiernillo, cooking between two fires.  7) asador, cooking things standing over a fire on an iron cross.

Smithfield BBQ Restaurant

A large ceramic sink with a generous mirror and stack of paper towels.

  • next to the order counter
  • next to the front door
  • next to the tables and booths.

Presumably there are moments

  • when eating vinegar/mustard slaw, eastern Carolina pulled-pork, and baked beans
  • when table napkins are not enough,
  • when a trip to the restroom is extreme
  • when a diner has to roll up his sleeves, plunge hands into a basin of soapy water and clean up before, during, or after a big meal.

On a chain

Sometimes, even when my family lived a half mile from Interlochen State Park, we would take the camper over for a long weekend. Play cards at picnic tables. Fish in Duck Lake. Ride bikes. Sit around the fire. No phones or TV. Just a cockapoo on a chain, smelling a thousand interesting things.


I was standing in line this morning in Sharpsburg, waiting to buy a breakfast sandwich at Battleview Market. And I distinctly smelled something barn-like. I did not overreact. I stood my ground. I wondered what it could be. Then I remembered I was standing in a line with more than one farmer. And I thought of my dad’s barn boots on the bus heater driving to school. And how the students complained until he wore different boots to school. And, indeed, that was the issue. Cow issue. Helluva great sandwich. Helluva good people.


The old poet bit the woman’s beautiful arm at dinner.  She ruffled his hair and laughed, knowing that he had few restraints. Ruth invented a word by combining two others: luxious.  It explained how she felt at eighty when she skipped church and her granddaughter made her pancakes in pajamas.