GEORGIANA, ALABAMA—Kendall’s Barbecue is not just a barbecue joint. Inside this tin-roofed place is God’s own kitchen. The pulled pork here is nothing short of Biblical.
And today I need a little pork. I’m on my way to a memorial service.
I pull over for lunch. Large pulled pork. Extra pickles. I’m eating in my truck with windows down.
It’s hot outside.
A young couple in a Taurus pulls in. Dirt on the fenders. The boy is tall and skinny. His pants are too big. She’s pregnant.
There are three kids with them—all redheads. God help those children.
The young man is covered in sweat and dust.
They get their bag of food and head toward the car. He helps kids into carseats. He kisses each on the forehead.
The woman says to him, “Hurry, come quick! Feel him kick!”
He comes to her. He presses an ear to her swollen belly. His face lights up. He kisses her.
Then, they share a look.
After they leave, an older man orders at the counter. He has white hair, overalls, sweat spots on his shirt.
When he gets his paper bag, he takes it and walks to his truck. There is a dog in his vehicle.
While the man eats in his driver’s seat, I see him through his window. His mouth is moving, and he’s smiling.
I’ll be dog if he isn’t talking to that pup.
When he finishes, he stuffs a tobacco pipe with his thumb, cracks the window, and lights it. The dog gives the man a lick on the cheek. This makes the man smile.
Which makes me smile.
Next: a heavyset man orders food. He has broad shoulders and thick arms. He is with an elderly woman who uses a cane.
He orders. She sits in the shade.
“Mama,” he says to her. “You want tea?”
He helps her to a picnic table. She sits beside him.
“Napkins,” she says. “Need me some napkins.”
“And more sauce.”
“I’m running outta tea.”
“I need to use the bathroom.”
He’s a good man.
I fire up my truck and let the AC run. I am covered in a thin layer of Alabamian humidity. The cold air feels good. I’ve got more interstate driving left to do.
I’ve heard people say this world is in the outhouse. The newspapers, for instance, claim civilization is in big trouble.
Maybe we are. What do I know.
But I don’t mind telling you that I don’t believe it. Not because I am an ignoramoose—at least not a full-blooded one. But because I have seen things.
I’ve seen grown men caring for elderly mamas. I’ve seen seven-year-old boys deliver eulogies. I’ve seen a homeless man toss money into an offering plate. I’ve seen dogs kiss old men who smoke pipes.
Maybe the world is going to hell. Maybe mankind is in the biggest crisis of all time. Maybe the naysayers are right. Maybe the end awaits.
But I wish you could’ve seen that kid’s face when he listened to that girl’s stomach.
He didn’t look too worried.
Amanda - June 14, 2019 7:56 am
Read Sean of the South, smile, repeat.
You say it well; you say it best!
Judge Jimmy Pool - June 14, 2019 9:53 am
Kendall’s pork BBQ is outstanding! The regular is huge. The large is massive, close to the legendary hubcap sized pork BBQ sandwich. Also belly warmin are the burgers and turkey sandwiches, which are huge pieces of turkey cut fresh off the smoked bird. Now, for a real treat, get an order of fried okra. No, don’t, get 2 orders, because everyone in the car will help you eat the okra! Don’t order a “double order” of okra, they don’t have that, don’t try ordering a “large order” of okra, they don’t have that either. Just do what I say, order 2 orders of fried okra, you won’t be sorry! I GARONTEE!
KENDALL’S BBQ, EXIT 114, GEORGIANA (I-65)
Jean - June 14, 2019 10:08 am
The world may laugh at us….but the south is my home and there is no where on earth like it. We are different but a good kind of different. I love it and the people….wouldn’t live anywhere else! I could almost smell that bbq!! Extra pickles…of course!
Jan - June 14, 2019 11:30 am
Oh, Sean, you don’t know how badly I needed these words this morning … When your whole world seems to be falling apart, I need you to point out what is good and right and still here! Usually I am the eternal optimist who can see all the good in the world but today I needed some help to see the good cause the bad is so close by. Thank you!
P.S. Kendall’s BBQ is fantastic!
Dee Cullen - June 14, 2019 11:56 am
Jo Ann - June 14, 2019 12:36 pm
Thank you, Sean, for your daily dose of goodness. I read your email every morning *instead* of the “news”. Starts the day out right.
Dianne - June 14, 2019 12:47 pm
Thank you, Sean for reminding us that there are still many good people left in this world. The mainstream media just wants to feed us doom and gloom 24 hours a day, seven days a week……..no wonder the world is in such sad shape. Thank you for your stories that brighten our days.
Shelton A. - June 14, 2019 1:19 pm
The world isn’t all bad-from the new who’d a thought that! Thanks for the reminder. God bless you, Jamie, and the dogs.
Carol - June 14, 2019 2:51 pm
God is so good . We see it in all these people
Joe Patterson - June 14, 2019 2:52 pm
I am on your team
Carol - June 14, 2019 2:58 pm
If the politicians weren’t so worried about getting re-elected and giving us such a terrible outlook for our country!! Thank you Leftist!!!
We the people don’t believe you!!
We the average all Americans know !!
Jack Darnell - June 14, 2019 3:22 pm
The one reason I visit S of the S, is I agree with MOST of your thoughts. HOWEVER some of the best BBQ is in North CArolina. (just sayin). Plus I was nearly 80 years old and ate BBQ all my life before I heard the term ‘Pulled Pork!”
But I do like NC BBQ better ‘n FL and TX don’t remember AL of GA BBQ!
But as always, I enjoy a visit to your home (or truck).
Sherry & jack
Marilyn - June 14, 2019 3:43 pm
There is a lot of doom and gloom fed to us, and even immoral crap being fed to our young children, so reading you every day is a very pleasant diversion. Thank you for reminding us of the good there is around us. God Bless
Linda Moon - June 14, 2019 3:53 pm
Biblical Pork: there are some ancient Biblical rules about that. There are also Biblical references to God’s Love and Help for his Chosen Children: The Redheads. The End of Civilization is also Biblical. But I don’t worry; I’m happy, largely because you make all us readers happy, Sean of the South!
Edna B. - June 14, 2019 4:37 pm
I love how you see all the goodness around you. It gives us hope for tomorrow. You have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.
Angie Bell - June 14, 2019 5:09 pm
I’d do anything to hear Mom complain that the coffee at Ihop wasn’t hot enough or that they were too slow bringing out the biscuits at Red Lobster. But she always gave a tip.
Janet Mary Lee - June 14, 2019 5:27 pm
You are a ray of sunshine God gives us!!! ((hug!!)))
Jeanne Butler - June 14, 2019 5:41 pm
The world is safe in the wonderful South. Not so much in the North??
Nancy - June 14, 2019 8:04 pm
Young daddies that love their children, born and unborn, old men that love their dogs, middle aged men that love their mamas, and Sean who loves his wife, his dogs, and his barbecue. It’s all good, and keeps the world spinning!
Sheila - June 14, 2019 10:58 pm
Priceless !! Thank you
Betsy - June 15, 2019 2:12 am
What a beautiful soul you are.
Anne Godwin - June 15, 2019 12:39 pm
“But because I have seen things.” I’m thankful that you share not only what you see but what you feel. You make the world a better place.
Suzanne Bohannon - June 16, 2019 10:40 pm
I so enjoy reading you everyday. You have a special talent
Susan A. Royal - April 28, 2021 8:29 pm
You ALWAYS make my day.
Scott Blackwell - April 28, 2021 10:24 pm
I am happy to know there are a couple guys who see the world, as I do through southern eyes, and take the time to share it as we observe it, via sweet southern comfort literature. Thank you Sean and Rick Bragg!