When I started what I thought was the final draft of my book, from a Friend, in 2017 in the Mojave desert, I thought I’d be finished in 2018. However, after driving back with the travel trailer through every western & mid-western state with no less than 60+ MPH crosswinds, I had to sleep.

The good news? It rained for the first three months after getting home. The bad news? When it stopped raining, I literally faced vermin (venomous snakes), pestilence (invading ants), flooding (river) and other such things which took over most of the rest of that year. So, decided I needed to create my “Laughin’ Place” where I could watch the world go by and relax for a hot minute or two!

MY Laughin’ Place

In 2019, I decided I needed another year off as my brain was still fried from the intensity of 2017 & 2018. So, I traveled around north Georgia and looked for the best BBQ eatin’ places and festivals. I was convinced that 2019 would be the year I could focus on edits, re-writes and filing for my copyright in anticipation of a 2020 publication.

Well, heck. COVID had other plans. It hit 2020 and us all in the gut. The good news about 2020? I was rested up, in isolation and ready to work on the last edits/re-writes. I became even more “driven” to have the First Edition Published in early 2021 in light of all the news of suicides from COVID isolation and depression.

During breaks between edits and re-writes, I investigated my publishing options. It turned out that most publishers want you give your blood and most your rights and take royalties without any help in marketing your book. That’s all up to you! In fact, as this year has progressed, I’ve heard tell of some publishers which have even dropped books because they didn’t like the content or parts of it or some such.

I decided to go with Self-publication with a local printer, anxious to leave my money at home where it counted. Unfortunately, their graphic designer was not able to work on my book for personal reasons, so, yet again, I was “pushed” to learn how to find my “third eye” to complete edits as well how to create the graphic design for it. Good thing I can work from both left and right sides of my brain when pressed!

I kinda this book think it turned out as a great read. It’s not a Pat Conroy (my hero), but it’s my truth which builds and grows from the first page to the last, fraught with tragedy, yet full of unconditional love, faith, healing and finding blessings in it all.

Those who have given me feedback have said, “I have been glued to the book! My heart hurts and sings at the same time.” “I enjoyed the book so much. I couldn’t put it down….read it from cover to cover at one time!” “I read it twice.” and, “I’m on page 90 and I feel like you’ve already lived 100 lives!”

FRONT COVER, from a Friend, written by me, and includes my children’s own stories of Carl (Warrior) and Ava (Songbird), as told and transcribed by me while in the desert in 2017.
PROLOGUE – from a Friend
BACK COVER – from a Friend

A Limited First Edition of my book, from a Friend, was issued as a fundraising event for the benefit of my non-profit, IRS sanctioned 501(c)3, called Ava’s Corner, Inc. with the affiliated website called avascorner.org.

All funds for this first edition go directly into the Ava’s Corner, Inc. account for website expenses. You may donate directly through VENMO on our website’s Home Page (geared for desktop) of a minimum of $25.00, or send a check in that amount payable to Ava’s Corner, Inc. and mailed to address on website. Upon receipt of your funds, I will mail your personalized, signed copy to you right away. You can email me via the address on the Home page as well with questions or comments.

Hope to hear from you soon, and, as always, HAPPY TRAILS…UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN!

This telling didn’t start yesterday. It began in my yesteryears of writing letters, memoirs and blogs. In October 1987, I received in the early morning dream state the first chapters which began the 35 year journey of writing this book. However, it was a 1995 prediction of it by my daughter’s friend which reinforced the decades of moving toward its publication. It has taken, literally, three decades and as many lives in the making of this book.

Since I returned home from the Mojave Desert in southern Arizona in early 2018, I’ve been editing and tightening up this book to make it what I was “told” to write several times over those decades. I was told “there is no shame in telling the truth,” so, I’ve done that (with limitation, out of respect for others), but with no shame in my own telling, “Mother’s Words,” as did both my son, Carl, and daughter, Ava. They both participated in “telling” their own stories entitled “Warrior’s Words” and “Songbird’s Words” visa vie their dictation of them to me for my transcription.

Mother’s Words” is the story of my personal journey beginning in Deep South roots of then Northwest Atlanta, Georgia’s farmlands where my family all pitched in to build our home, raise the food we needed (vegetables and beef) to sustain us in those post WW II years where building materials were tight and so was money. We helped to forage for materials and we provide the labor needed on our small farm which tested our mettle.

Me on the “Green Dragon!” around four years old

It’ is also of my finding myself alone, pregnant and on the streets of downtown Atlanta at the ripe old age of seventeen, newly graduated from high school, engaged and struggling to survive with the help of some mid-1960’s hippies living in mid-town with whom I’d recently become acquainted. Thank God they took me in and my best friend from high school fed me my only meal…my lunch every day I was pregnant.

I found myself to be a single mom at age eighteen but was taken back into the fold after Carl was born. Ten years later, I married another man who posed himself to not be his true self and became a single mom of two very intelligent and challenging children. I unabashedly tell of my challenges raising them and of how it challenged me to the brink, a few times, but found my way back.

Any of you who were blessed to have known both of my children have witnessed that they were quite dynamic and challenging people on both planes, earthly and on the Other Side. Therefore, I find it important to state that their individual portions of this telling, WARRIOR’S WORDS and SONGBIRD’S WORDS, were transcribed by me as their vessel.

Carl was born a with a Warrior‘s Spirit
Ava was born with a Songbird‘s Spirit

I now have acquired my Copyright Certificate and am the final stages of finalizing the book for publication on a popular website. When I’ve submitted it there, I’ll let you know. I’m also working on orchestrating my audio version of the book which I will also have to Copyright (separately) and will keep you all posted on that progress as well.

This past couple of years has tested us all on several levels. For me, I focused on my health, home repairs and this book. Now that all is well for the most part, I’m excited to get the audio version ready.

HAPPY TRAILS…until we meet again!

(Copyrights to these photos & parts of this blog have been obtained.)

This year I’ve been grousing about all the warm weather we’ve been having in my hood. We’ve had way too much spring-like weather for months for it to even be categorized as “winter.”

My point of moving north of my Atlanta hometown twenty years ago was to be where I could enjoy having four seasons again but the climate has been a’ changin’ no matter what the cause…deforestation…too much forestation…too much coal…too little of it…blah, blah, blah. Gotta say that Mothers Earth and Nature have a way of handling all things like this in ways we still don’t understand. After all, in the bigger picture of these matters, we’re still infants relative to their ages and experience levels.

Also, I believe in the power of prayer and I’ve been praying way too hard for snow to happen right in my front yard and kissing the belly of the little snowman I have hanging on my front door just to make sure the Big Man Upstairs will know exactly where I want it to snow…and it WORKED!

And as they say, pictures are worth a thousand words and, as you’ll see by these pictures, I’m totally mesmerized by snow on trees especially when those trees are in walking distance in 4 inches or better of snow!

These may look like the same trees and some of them are but at different times during the snowfall or perspective with me hiking in the snow to get better pictures!! The snow was PERFECT for a snowball fight! Crunched with every step!

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Facing the river…

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Facing the driveway

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The Dogwood trees

 

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More hemlocks and such on the river

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My favorite…and…

 

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And my other favorite!

I truly believe that it’s staying in touch with one’s inner child is what will keep us young! I certainly do get all giggly and excited when it snows in my hood more than all the other places I’ve been and seen in my decade of back road travels (150,000 miles and counting). Find what makes you giggly & excited and hold onto it as if your life depends on it as it might just be the thing that heals your soul!

Speaking of healing, my book is with the editors and I should have it back by the end of this month, printed in April and on Georgia roads for book signings in May!

Teaser: Here’s the first draft my from a Friend, the Book, business cards. They’ll look a great deal better when the pros get a’ hold of them, for sure!

 

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from a Friend, the Book –  Bs Card Front

Happy Trails…until we meet again!

This fall mountain festival was so much fun! It had all the elements of a great adventure if you love walking in the woods to the sounds of good ole mountain music echoing through the valley, seeing great views, inhaling fresh mountain air while seeing all sorts of homemade products for sale and historic mountain foods to taste like apple cider, fried apple pies, fresh churned ice cream and more!

It’s well worth the $12.00 entrance fee when you consider all there is to experience in your exploration of this historic period. This authentic Pioneer Village sweeps you back into another time and place as does their Exhibit Hall teeming with antique and vintage farm equipment. Along the meandering path you’ll also find areas of Authentic Demonstrations like what it was like to cut logs into boards, make moonshine, apple cider and soap while hearing varied entertainers do their thang as you walk.

There are competitions going on this week for Cooking, Arts & Crafts, Flower Shows and the Georgia Official State Fiddlers’ Convention (Friday, 10/18-19) and Chases Racing Pigs (three shows daily) and a great deal of good clean air!

But, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, and I have about twenty pictures to share from yesterdays journey which only wetted my whistle to get back there this week!  Check out their website: GeorgiaMountainFairgrounds.com!

Real Mountain Music

You’re first greeted by this true mountain music.

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You follow the flowing trail through the Pioneer Village to see firsthand how they lived/survived this rough existence.

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Can and Meat House.

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Corn Crib

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Moonshine was a by-product of corn and an important source of income for the mountain folk of that day which was made in a still just like this.

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Modern kitchens had these items but only after the turn of the 20th Century!

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This was a clothes washing machine which pre-dated the one we had at our house in the early 1950’s which was similar to the next photo!

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A much nicer version of the clothes washing machine we had in our house!

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This is the nicer version of the refrigerator we had in the late 1940’s to early 1950’s! The freezer section, if you could even call it that, was about the size of a shoe box which always needed defrosting.

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My mom’s best friend, Nell, had a sewing machine just like this and I never got tired of watching her fast pumping feed on the pedal while she expertly directed the material toward the needle.

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I remember when Mom and I were visiting an historic venue which had one of these when Mom laughed as she said she’d had her hair “curled” with one of these! I’m still amazed she wasn’t  electrocuted in the process!

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Wonderful spontaneous music playing throughout the area!

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Exhibit Hall full of mountain farming and processing equipment! Love me some old tools!

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Snow sleds were needed back in the day. No so much now but I remember when!

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Antique printing press. Huge, isn’t it!

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Blacksmithing was an integral part of pioneer life for creating every type of tools needed to survive.

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The general store was a place where most pioneers could only afford to go monthly for basic provisions.

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When you went, you’d sit around the pot-bellied stove and visit with neighbors, get news and play checkers.

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Even though this picture is a bit fuzzy, I thought it revealing as to other items for sale at these stores…like herbal tinctures and cures.

So, if you’ve got a hankerin’ to get soak up some Pioneer spirit and step back in time with great music and fun, make it a point to go here for a wonderful day in the mountains at a great annual festival!

HAPPY TRAILS…UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN!

I absolutely LOVE where I live. It’s quiet…except on major holidays.The residents here are respectful, kind, generous, flag waving, patriotic and the core of the earth kinda folks. They also love their rodeos! So, after being slammed to the floor with horrible neck pain for the last three weeks and just had some miraculous healing on Friday, I decided it was high time to get out and join my neighbors in some fun last night. What better way to do that than go to the local Bull Riding Championship Rodeo? Yeehaw and Giddy up!

I do love watching all the preliminary warm ups and preps…and the views.

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Rabun County, GA Arena

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Bulls and Cowboy getting ready for what comes next!

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Love to watch this man work his horse, Colt-45!

Now, I don’t pretend to understand why any young, good lookin’ kid would ever want to jump on the back of a 2000 pound raging bull to be thrown off in three seconds or less and get stomped on by same raging bull, but these youngins sure love them some type of adventure and excitement!

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First Bull Rider

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All of the Bull Riders ready to give us a show!

Opening ceremonies are all about the USA flag, country, Pledge of Allegiance, hats over hearts and being grateful.

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Opening ceremony!

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Colt-45 ready to roll! He gets all the bulls back into the pens!

I do enjoy watching but not witnessing them getting hurt or trampled…which happened in the opening gate. First young man out got hurt…ambulance hurt. However, everyone else faired quite well even if thrown immediately off. They had some seasoned riders which made the grade but, eventually, I was so excited, I forgot to take pictures!

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Hits the dust!

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Yeehaw! Ride that bull!

I’m just sayin’ those Rodeo Clowns are worth their weight in gold!

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Those clowns work to keep the Bull Riders safe!

I met some wonderful people last night! Next time the rodeo comes to town, come on out to play! You might just have a laugh or two and meet some great peeps!

HAPPY TRAILS…until we meet again!

Franklin, North Carolina is just a little over thirty minutes away from where I live so I  decided to explore it a little more this past few months and found some gems!

And, although my focus has been on North Georgia BBQ these past months, I couldn’t resist writing about this neat little place I found hidden in an older shopping center behind the Lowes Store called FAT BUDDIES RIBS AND BBQ! I didn’t have my phone so I don’t have any pictures for this part of my post but I encourage you to check out their website at http://www.fatbuddiesribsandbbq.com to see what they have waiting for you! I had their Lunch Platter of sliced BBQ Pork and Chicken with Cole Slaw and Potato Salad and I’ve just gotta say it was so juicy and good!

Take the time to find these guys! You’ll be happy you did!

As I needed to walk off some of that lunch, I drove down Highlands Road (toward Highlands…not towards Franklin) a couple of miles to find the Whistle Stop Depot in Franklin, NC. Check out their website at: https://whistlestopantiquesnc.com.

When I drove up, I was greeted by different kinds of vintage and antique vehicles, farm equipment and other really cool and inviting items.

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WHISTLE STOP DEPOT

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As I entered their antique mall, I gotta say I was quite impressed with all the vintage and antique items of every shape, color, size and category available that any shopper could ever dream of finding! The ladies at the entrance behind the counter are pleasant and eager to help you find whatever your heart desires!

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But I was really focused on finding my friend’s booth called “Mountain Laurel Makings” just past the main entrance in the front/center. It’s smaller than most of the other booths but has so many wonderfully exciting items to explore from vintage jewelry to current styles, a magnificent Peacock fabric Chair, paintings and more!

Please take the time to look at each of her display cases. I’m still dreaming of those gorgeous Glass Green vases on the top shelf in the case on the end! Well, yeah, those and the Peacock chair.

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Exquisite Peacock Fabric Chair!

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Paintings and jewelry

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Green glass vases on top shelf…a must see!

I’m so glad I took the time to check out my other neighborhood because not only did I get to eat some great BBQ, find all sorts of cool things to drool over but met a really nice woman who is known at Whistle Stop Depot and at the Rabun Gap, Ga. Outdoor Flea Market as the Dip Lady or, as her card says, “Dip Mix Chick!” Tonita creates her own fresh herb mixes for you to add to your favorite base!

HAPPY TRAILS…until we meet again!

I’m just sayin’ when you find what you really can’t stay away from and are willing to drive across the state for two and a half hours to get it, ya’ might just be on to somthin’!

Yup! Happened to me and I’m not ashamed to yell out FIRE IT UP because I will be back again!

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Seein’ as how I’ve been known to drive 10,000 miles dreaming of the best steak I’ve ever eaten since I was a kid, so this lil junket was nuttin’! Well, on that steak trip, I have to admit there was a pork belly bacon burger involved as well as my daughter-by-another-mother, Jenni, can attest to. And, I kinda’ think we’ll both be road trippin’ it drive back to Montana to taste those again sooner than later! (It’s all on my blog from 2017)

But I digress.

And, as Jenni was with me on that trip and here from VegasBaby for a visit, I just HAD to take her to experience FIRE IT UP!

They have the BEST BRISKET on the planet! So juicy that it MELTS like buttah, honey. My mistake wasn’t taking a bite of Jenni’s”brisket until I was full on ribs but, don’t you worry, I’ll get some of that to go next time! And their pork skins? Get out! Best EVER! Brunswick stew done right! And more of it ALL will be riding home with me next time!

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Brunswick Stew, Collard Greens, Brisket and Ribs! YUM!

While I got my usual of awesome Ribs, outstanding Baked beans, killer Collard Greens! Everything is FRESH and done the way it’s supposed to be.

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We were never rushed and were treated with the Southern style of eating most places miss by a mile. I sure wish they’d open up a place in Clayton, Georgia now that Clayton wants to be thought of as a “Foodie” City! This would sure put us on the map if these folks did come up here! HINT! HINT!

Anyway, Jenni, being a professional musician visiting from VegasBaby and all, that gurl  just about went crazy when one of the musicians for the entertainment that night showed up with an instrument she’d never seen nor heard of before. It took her seconds to leave the food behind to find out what this contraption was all about. It kinda’ surprised me seein’ as how she being a Kentucky gurl that she ain’t never heard tell of a base tub fiddle!

I had so much fun watching her learn all about how it worked and then taking lessons on the spot! She played the melody her teacher taught her in just a few minutes!

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Yeah. I think you need to FIRE IT UP and get over to FIRE IT UP! Check them out at: http://www.fireitupbbq.com

Happy Trails…until we meet again!

As I have the occasion to travel across North Georgia this year to meet family or friends, like today, I search out for what is rated to be good BBQ establishments. In researching today’s adventure to Blairsville, Georgia, I found a place called RIB COUNTRY for my next Rib adventure. I was not disappointed.

The outside was just as inviting as it was on the inside! The folks were friendly and the interior was handicap accommodating! 2019-04-11 RibCountry-1

When I told the waitress that I was writing a blog about finding the best, friendliest BBQ restaurant in North Georgia, she took me around to see this beautiful hand-made wood flag with tin roof stars! It’s hung high and behind a beam and she felt it was too beautiful to be “hidden” like it was. So, I took a pic and now it’s not!

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The whole place is decked out with cool local paintings and antiquities but the best part is the service…oh, and the food!

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As for me, there was only one thing for me to order on their menu. RIBS! So, I got the luncheon baby-back ribs, coleslaw and baked beans. Yum!

Oops! Note to self: remove toast before taking picture of juicy ribs!

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And when our waitress said “cobbler,” yep, my bro and I just had to try one of each. Blueberry and Peach.

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They have several locations so check out their website at http://www.ribcountrybbq.com!

And, as I pass right through Hiawassee past a little place I’ve always wanted to check out but was in too big a hurry to stop before, I stopped to check out LINDA’S. Maybe you should too! It’s a lovely store she’s had at 46 Main Street for a very long time. She has so much to explore in there including quilts, antiques, gifts, wicker and rustic furniture! I also saw lots of fabrics in there too!

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2019 is dedicated to finding the BEST BBQ in the North Georgia area which does not include any area in or around I-285 after my last visit to the one in my old hood! My newest qualifiers are that it must be outside Metropolitan Atlanta and only backroad reachable from my home!

To that end, I was told of a great BBQ place in Cartersville, GA called “Fire It Up BBQ” and I gotta say I got pretty fired up over their ribs, customer  service and friendly atmosphere!

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We had three persons in our five party group who were in need of special assistance and they were amazingly accommodating with bringing food to them and anything else they needed from their line oriented service.

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As I always love me some gooood ribs, that’s what I ordered. YUM! Their beans were some of the best as was their jalapeño cornbread melt in yo’ mouth collard greens!

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Yeah, I think I’ll be going back to this one! Hope it doesn’t burn down after my visit like the last one! YIKES!

Happy Trails…until we meet again!

Yup! I drove FIVE hours roundtrip to try out B’s Cracklin’ BBQ after seeing CBS’s pre-Super Bowl coverage on them and Bryan’s backstory. This young man’s history of smoking meat and cooking goes back generations as he learned how to cook from his family  on a self-sustaining North Carolina farm. He opened his first restaurant in Savannah, Georgia in 2014 which became a great success and tragedy when it burned in 2015 just after being named stone a “Top 50 list of The South’s Best BBQ by Southern Living magazine” and “featured in the June/July 2025 issue of Garden & Gun.”

Be sure to check out their website: http://www.bscracklinbbq.com to check out their menu and follow their journey!

However, undaunted, he moved his family and his smoker into my old neighborhood, Riverside in NW Atlanta to work his magic in an area where I lived twenty plus years ago.  I hear that amazing things are getting ready to go even bigger for them! I’m so excited to follow their journey as I travel some old and new backroads.

When I parked in the back of the restaurant, I saw a ramp and thought it was a handicap entrance so I walked to the two huge white front doors. I knew they were already open because my older brother was inside waiting for me. However, when I found those doors to be locked, I was somewhat baffled. Then I heard the rattling of keys and both doors opened like in a movie and there stood Bryan, the owner! He said he was glad he happened to be in a meeting or else no one would have heard my useless efforts to get inside!

I only mention this so you know not to go to those front white doors! Follow the ramp between the two smokers! It’s a lovely smell of all the goodness which awaits you inside!

Once seated, we met Dennis, our Server. He’s a lovely young man who obviously loves where he works as it shows in how he takes pride in working there. We wanted for nothing!   Thanks, Dennis!

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Love their signage!

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Loved our Server, Dennis!

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Love the whole place!

Now, for the food. A picture is worth a thousand words!

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I had three ribs, Brunswick Stew, Collard Greens and a Cracklin’ Bread like I ain’t never seen before! It was a flat bread with cracklin’s inside! I’m not sayin’ that’s a bad thang. I’m just sayin’ ya’ gotta try it! Everything we ate was so yummy! My friend had the Brisket, Slaw and Mac N Cheese and my Big Bro had…well…I honestly don’t know because I was up to my elbows trying out their three BBQ sauces!

Next time I get a hankerin’ for some good BBQ, guess I’ll drive five hours to my old hood! Thanks, Bryan, for giving my old hood some life!

Happy Trails…til we meet again!