Entering South Alabam’

Entering Conecuh County. That’s what the little green sign reads, off Highway 31. I’m heading north, passing through a small sliver of the county. I love Alabama.

A few weeks ago, I was driving to Birmingham, I listened to an audio book. The narrator spoke with an accent like a New Jersey paperboy. He pronounced Conecuh as “Koh-NEE-queue.”

That hurt.

Now entering Butler County. Wingard’s Produce Stand. B&H Cafe. Dollar General. There’s the McKenzie water tower.

And God said, “Let there be kudzu.” I also love kudzu.

I once planted some in my backyard in hopes that one day it would swallow my house. Everything looks better when swallowed in kudzu.

Georgiana is eight miles away. If you’re keeping score, I also love Georgiana. I’ve visited the Hank Williams boyhood home in Georgiana too many times.

Anyone who knows me knows I also love Hank Senior. But then who doesn’t? My affection goes back to childhood. My father’s workbench. A radio. Hank, blaring from a small speaker while he changed the oil in our corral of Fords.

My favorite part of the Hank museum tour is the underside of the house. A tour guide named Miss Margaret told me Hank used to practice his guitar there.

“It was cool down there,” said Miss Margaret. “He’d sit on an old car bench-seat to avoid the heat.”

Miss Margaret. I loved her, too. I didn’t know much about her except that when I met her she was elderly. Half her face was paralyzed. Her accent sounded like a Camellia garden on the Fourth of July. I remember wishing she would adopt me.

Georgiana also has Kendall’s Barbecue joint. Love it.

Although “Love” is a weak word for Kendall’s. I would tell you more about this place, but someone wrote me an ugly letter once, saying:

“You talk about Alabama barbecue TOO MUCH! I’m from Texas originally before I moved to Alabama… I KNOW good barbecue, Alabama barbecue SUCKS, man!”

I understand Texas is beautiful this time of year. I’ll bet they’d throw a nice party if you went back, friend.

I’m passing the Greenville and Pine Apple exit. Greenville is a town like Mayberry. Love it. Pine Apple is the size of a master closet. Double love it.

It’s raining, but the sun is still out. I really, really love that. Behind the sunshower I can see blue skies and clouds. I roll down the window to take in the smell.

“The Devil’s beating his wife,” my daddy would’ve said, observing such a nature scene.

Childhood-me would’ve looked at the sky and asked what this phrase meant. Then my pa would’ve given an explanation that would have lead into a ghost story. He always told ghost stories. Oh, and I loved his ghost stories.

I have a friend who grew up in New York. He had never heard the expression before about the Devil. He asked why sunshowers were called that. I told him the rain was supposedly tears from the Devil’s wife.

“Wait,” reasoned my friend, “I thought the Devil lived in Hell, not in the sky.”

Good point. Although you could make a strong case that the Devil lived nearby and worked locally for most of 2020.

Anyway, people talk a lot about things they hate. It’s trendy to do this. They dedicate long, seething, complex paragraphs to things they hate, then turn right around and share a video of a cute cat. It’s enough to make you tired.

Me? I’d rather think about summer rains, Miss Margaret, county tractors, bush-hogging the shoulders of the highways, Fords, the music of the Drifting Cowboys, and crickets.

Or hugs from a child on the last day of Vacation Bible School. Three-legged dogs who love harder than four-legged ones. Truck-stops. Welcome mats. Conecuh Quick Freeze sausage. Long drives. Daddy, changing his oil—listening to a radio. Or the how when my wife opens her mouth nothing but south Alabama comes out. I love these things.

I also love this—whatever “this” is. This thisness. Which is apparently a word because spellcheck didn’t correkt it.

I love writing to you. I’ve been doing it for a long time now. And even though I don’t know which state you call home, I know a few things.

I know that I’m glad we met. I know that Alabama highways are beautiful. And I know that the barbecue found in the Yellowhammer State will blow your pea-picking mind. Even if you come from Texas.

88 comments

  1. Steve McCaleb - June 9, 2021 7:04 am

    Thank you for reminding me once again why I love my home so much. Oh, don’t pay much attention to those boys from Texas about the barbecue either. I’m told they actually prefer beef as their meat of choice. Good grief ! Ain’t they no pigs in Texas ? They probably the type of folks that call the nuts under the tree in the front yard “pee-cans” instead the correct “pah-kahns “. Pee-can is what my granny kept slid up under bed at night before she got indoor plumbing in the spring of 1958. Great post my friend…..again

    Reply
    • Deborah - June 9, 2021 2:39 pm

      Hey, I’m from Texas and I LOVE me some pork!!😜 PS It’s pahcons here too!!😂😂

      Reply
    • Susan Parker - June 9, 2021 3:13 pm

      Here in Texas, call them puh-cahns, too. And yes, we usually choose beef over pork, but not always. And there’s always chicken. I’ve never had y’all’s barbecue, but I’ll bet it’s good. I love ours.

      Reply
  2. Debbie g - June 9, 2021 7:15 am

    Doesn’t it feel good to love. Love. Love and I’ll add you and Jamie to my list ❤️❤️❤️❤️

    Reply
  3. Liz Hoyt Eberle - June 9, 2021 7:18 am

    I love reading about all the things you love. I love that you call me down in a nice way. I’m from Texas and niw in my old age, living in Washington state. It is different out herein the Pacific northwest. But I love that my son and my DiL brought me here and we life in a tiny town. I will try to do better at remembering to love things more and miss less (pronounced ‘complain’) other things I loved for 80 years in Texas. I would tell you more good things about your writing, but my internet was crazy for a week. It’s back now and I have to fo find your YouTube stories. Please try to keep the Devil quiet for the rest of 2021.

    Reply
  4. Glenda E Hulbert - June 9, 2021 7:56 am

    Rarely, do I comment. Daily, I read your posts ~ this one is wonderfully captivating. Thank you, Sean…I love you!

    Reply
    • Shirley Gilliland - June 9, 2021 12:52 pm

      My sentiments exactly.

      Reply
  5. Steve Winfield (Lifer) - June 9, 2021 8:00 am

    Just a thought.
    You should answer the comments here occasionally. Me, and many others I’m sure, often wonder what your thoughts are.
    I think it would be a great addition to the blog.
    Alabama just eats you up.
    Lifer Steve.

    Reply
  6. Laura Wilson - June 9, 2021 8:21 am

    Her accent sounded like a camellia garden on 4th of July. That is the best description ever, love it! I’m a fairly recent CA girl transplanted to GA and I understood that perfectly. I continue to be grateful daily that my buddy introduced me to your writings.

    Reply
  7. Donna Rotenberry - June 9, 2021 9:49 am

    Thank you for these daily stories. I start my day with these uplifting, joyful, God praise moments. God bless you.

    Reply
  8. Donna K. Taylor - June 9, 2021 9:59 am

    love you back

    Reply
  9. Chris Nischan - June 9, 2021 10:23 am

    Amen brother! Presented my dad with four of your books for a present. He was so excited!! Love seeing excitement in an 88 year old man

    Reply
  10. Lisa Bowman - June 9, 2021 11:17 am

    ‘Love it! I wonder if that ‘ol boy ever made his way back to Texas? 😀

    Reply
  11. Bar - June 9, 2021 11:21 am

    Hey, Sean … aren’t we blessed to have grown up in the South, where “the Devil is beating his wife” needs no explanation. And where three-legged dogs are loved, admired, and given special attention by strangers. And where words coming out of a mouth are slow, soothing, a pleasure to hear …

    Reply
  12. Richard - June 9, 2021 11:25 am

    I am from North Carolina, a state that may be just behind Alabama in kudzu cultivation. I have always hated it, until you made the observation that everything looks good covered in Kudzu. It immediately took me back in time when I was around 10 years old and I spent hours under a canopy of kudzu near my home. I won’t say I love it now, but I do like it more. Thanks for the memories.

    Reply
  13. Lynn S - June 9, 2021 11:31 am

    I’m from the Show Me State (MO). I’ve been told we’ve got pretty darn good barbecue here too.
    My son went to Auburn (War Eagle!) and now lives in Birmingham while attending law school. He seems to love Alabama as much as you do. He’s even got a southern accent from the 5 short years he’s been there. As a mama you hope your kids come back home one day. If he doesn’t, I think Alabama is a pretty good Plan B.
    Thank you for taking the time to bless me with your writings that show up in my inbox every morning.

    Reply
  14. wanderings - June 9, 2021 11:34 am

    Oh, Sean! So much love shared to those of us who are hungry. Thank you.

    Reply
  15. Leigh Amiot - June 9, 2021 11:50 am

    “Our corral of Fords”—exquisitely put!
    Competition (read jealousy and boasting) is so draining. This country is big enough that more than one state can be exceptional at barbecue.
    I deleted all social media, tired of the rancor and whining. I loved wedding pictures, graduations, vacation pictures, I even liked pictures of what people cooked and baked, but the negativity and personal attacks over minor things became too much.
    I love that you focus on all that is good and right about the south. My favorite thing, there’s always something blooming here…in the fall and winter we have confederate rose, sasanquas and camellias (same family), redbud, Japanese magnolia. Then there’s the good manners you’ve mentioned like stopping to pay respect for a funeral procession.
    We love reading what you write to us, Sean!
    Well done, you!

    Reply
    • Kate - June 10, 2021 1:27 pm

      Leigh, I did the same. Don’t do social media anymore, don’t turn on the TV, rarely hear any news. But I do eat Sean, because he is about the good things in life, and somehow we seem to have forgotten the good.

      Reply
  16. Bob E - June 9, 2021 11:52 am

    Really don’t know how often you wrote ‘love’ in your wonderful column but love the fact that it was often. Must get to Alabama someday.

    Reply
  17. Linda Black - June 9, 2021 11:58 am

    I just found you and look forward each morning to reading your column. Your writing is visual, audible, and from the heart.

    Reply
  18. Matt Barnes - June 9, 2021 11:59 am

    So good and so Lewis Gizzard. Love it bud.

    Reply
  19. Jennifer Marsden - June 9, 2021 12:08 pm

    and here I thought you were being chastised for advertising Alabama BBQ and getting our BBQ joints so crowded.

    Reply
  20. STEVE MOORE WATKINS - June 9, 2021 12:13 pm

    Love this…

    Reply
  21. Linda - June 9, 2021 12:16 pm

    Sweet Home Alabama! Love you, Sean.

    Reply
  22. Tom Watson - June 9, 2021 12:25 pm

    Growing up in Georgiana, I too played under Hank’s house with my friend Harold that lived in The Hank House. What a joy at my old age of 75 to read of your experience traveling through Butler County.

    Reply
  23. Barb - June 9, 2021 12:25 pm

    Love everything about this one! And I’m a northerner….😘

    Reply
  24. frank plyler - June 9, 2021 12:31 pm

    …Her accent sounded like a Camellia garden on the 4th of July –

    Dang

    Reply
  25. Patricia Elaine Collins - June 9, 2021 12:36 pm

    I love the fact that you love Alabama. I am from a little town south ( some say a part of Dothan but we are not). I love 13 miles from the Florida line in a town name Rehobeth. I was born and raised in Dothan but I have also lived in Texas, Fort Worth as a matter of fact. I love Texas but they’re some advantages to a small town. Your neighbors are not just neighbors, they’re friends. They wave from the tractors, they stop and eat breakfast at a local cafe to share “ community news” and are always willing to lend a helping hand to anyone, stranger or neighbor.
    Now to address the person that said Alabama barbecue sucks, I’ve had barbecue in Texas and here at home, I wouldn’t go as far as to say Texas barbecue “sucks” but it is different from Alabama’s, but after all wouldn’t it be boring if we all did the same !!
    Love from Alabama “Roll Tide” and a small town that’s 1 hour away from “the world’s most beautiful beaches”.

    Reply
  26. Cathy - June 9, 2021 12:36 pm

    Sean,
    Like you I love the South. I have lived in Texas my whole adult life. BBQ is king here, but I love the food from the south, anything southern. Texans can claim the best beef BBQ, however, nothing but nothing is better than good ole southern pork bbq. Pork BBQ with some Carolina Sauce reigns! Your words remind me of my childhood growing up in Memphis and the southern customs of my roots. I pour my coffee in the mornings and read your essays before any news of the world invades the quiet. Thank you for sharing !

    Reply
  27. AJ - June 9, 2021 12:40 pm

    You’re a nice man to wake up with, Mr. Dietrich. And by that I mean having your essays in my inbox and reading your fine writing first thing in the morning really makes my day. 🙂 Thanks for the wonderful words that help remind me the world is beautiful and interesting and good, even when the devil is working locally.

    Reply
  28. Cindy Kelly - June 9, 2021 12:44 pm

    You forgot Conecuh sausage and the best bacon ever..My son lives in Evergreen and he brings me bacon when he visits in McDonough..Love your writing Sean.

    Reply
  29. Susan Corbin - June 9, 2021 12:46 pm

    Very much enjoyed your thisness today. I grew up in Baltimore, MD in a much safer time and I know about sun showers and the Devil’s wife. I don’t like BBQ but I did live in Pasadena, Texas for a runaway year. It stunk on Sundays. Literally. Smelled like rotting cabbage; due to the refineries, I was told. Thank you, Sean.

    Reply
  30. Shirley Gilliland - June 9, 2021 12:50 pm

    I am glad we met too.

    Reply
  31. Stormy Hicks - June 9, 2021 12:51 pm

    Thank you for the word “sunshower.” It took me back to summers when I was a little girl. The smell of the rain. Sitting on the edge of the porch catching drops with our feet, while eating watermelon and spitting the seeds. Thanks for the memory!

    Keep writing, please. I look forward to reading every day!

    Stormy

    Reply
  32. joyful reader - June 9, 2021 12:55 pm

    Sitting here, just off hwy 31 S in NJ, reading your post, drinking coffee, thinking about family & friends in Alabama. Homesick. Thought I would be there by now but delays arrive so I go on here, thinking about there. Today’s post was like me being in the passenger seat traveling a familiar route. Thanks.

    Reply
  33. Suellen - June 9, 2021 1:05 pm

    I’m from Indiana but the southernmost tip of Indiana right across the river from Louisville KY. So I’m more Kentucky than Indiana. We just moved back here a year ago after 22 years away and every day I’m driving around like “I love this place!” I love the Southern drawl, horse races, tobacco farms (though they are fewer), hot browns and benedictine. People here are friendly. You can’t go in and pay for your gas without having a conversation about their kids, their grandkids, their dogs. That being taken care of you can take care of business and go along your way. I lived in Central and Northern Indiana for 22 years and people thought I was crazy for striking up a conversation. I’m back with my people and I love that too.

    Reply
  34. Deborah Gandy - June 9, 2021 1:06 pm

    Try Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ in Decatur, AL…the best!!!
    Come back to Fairhope’s Page and Palette😊

    Reply
  35. Te Burt - June 9, 2021 1:11 pm

    Don’t know much about S Alabama, but I grew up in Huntsville after NASA took it over. Good place to grow up. Within spittin’ distance of Nashville. Daddy was from Sulgent, and has the reputation of being the only person in the family to get a college degree — when it meant something — in several generations in both directions. I live in s. Georgia. Good place to be right now. Love you, too. Rarely get outa bed before reading your column.

    Reply
  36. Jan - June 9, 2021 1:15 pm

    I was born in Alabama (almost 74 years ago) and God willing, I will die in Alabama. I have been blessed to travel to many places both in the USA and around the world. I love traveling and seeing new sites but I would never want to live anywhere else. Alabama BBQ is definitely the best. Love Kendall’s, Full Moon, Ken’s and lots of other BBQ places we are blessed to have in our state and in the south.

    Reply
  37. Sandra Wolfe - June 9, 2021 1:17 pm

    You bring calmness to a country that is in dire need of the Love you write about. Thank you Sean. You’re welcome to come back to Mayberry anytime.

    Reply
  38. Diane Cochran - June 9, 2021 1:37 pm

    Sean, I love the saying about the devil beating his wife (when it’s raining and the sun is shining). My Aunt Odell (God rest her sweet soul) always said she shouldn’t have married him in the first place. And, she would say this with a straight face. I miss her and all my relatives that have gone on to their great reward. Hope your day is blessed!

    Reply
  39. elizabethroosje - June 9, 2021 1:43 pm

    Clearly, I have not fully lived as I’ve not been to Alabama or had their BBQ. So is the word said this way? Conecuh, Cah-NECK-ah ? I googled it 🙂 it’s so funny the one you heard it pronounced as. Love your writing Sean. I go swimming in our local outdoor pool and one of the lifeguards is going to be a nurse and is an EMT so I told her about your article ‘Lifesavers’ and she was really interested in it. So know that not only do I love your writing, I try to tell others about it. Good words are always good to share!

    Reply
  40. Gordon - June 9, 2021 1:47 pm

    You wrote of my wonderful state, Alabama and of the LA (lower Alabama) section where I was raised. Thanks for the memories.

    Reply
  41. MermaidGrammy - June 9, 2021 1:51 pm

    You are so right. ALABAMA is a beautiful state. The topography encompasses it all. Mountains to take your breath away; rich farmland, boggy marshes, wiregrass and beaches more beautiful than anywhere else

    Reply
  42. shannan - June 9, 2021 2:12 pm

    Just finished Stars of Alabama early this morning on the heals of our own adventure to Point Clear. Thanks for this timely trip to keep getting me on down the road!

    Reply
  43. Pondcrane - June 9, 2021 2:27 pm

    I love you, Sean.

    Reply
  44. Stephanie Rice, Colorado - June 9, 2021 2:48 pm

    My dad turned me on to your column, and I just love it! He’s originally from Oklahoma, now living in Wyoming, and shares your column with his daughters and all his grandkids. There are so many things you write about the he’s either experienced or ways he was raised. Southern traditions, reminiscing about the elders and the good ‘ol days.

    Alabama highways are on my bucket list! Thanks for reminding us all we have so much to be grateful for.

    Reply
  45. Christina - June 9, 2021 3:00 pm

    I confess I knew very little about the South before your columns, but I’m loving all that you shared. Can’t wait to try some BBQ and watch the devil beating his wife one day!

    Reply
  46. nebraskannie - June 9, 2021 3:01 pm

    I grew up in the south, but live in Nebraska and will never get back there. Here we have flowers, fireflies, trumpet vines, and wind. There is something to love everywhere. I’m so glad you remind us.

    Reply
  47. Lynnette - June 9, 2021 3:19 pm

    Thanks for writing to me and making me feel welcome. Keep on doing whatever it is you’re doing.

    Reply
  48. george j boggs - June 9, 2021 3:29 pm

    The technical term for Texas BBQ brisket is “cinder”.

    Reply
  49. johnallenberry - June 9, 2021 3:43 pm

    We love you too, Sean! They tried to open a Texas Style BBQ joint here in Huntsville. Didn’t last a year. I don’t know what they do to BBQ in Texas, but it’s an abomination.

    PhDude

    Reply
  50. Linda Moon - June 9, 2021 4:28 pm

    Alabama loves you. I’ve had TOO MUCH Texas Barbecue. It SUCKS! But…I have WONDERFUL memories of Texas itself. The Hill Country is beautiful this time of year. Lots of love is in this story of people and music and the good from all of it. I love reading your writing, and I miss being with you and your South Alabama wife. Thisness, Sean, is LIFE ITSELF. You and Jamie Martin Dietrich have made mine grander!

    Reply
  51. RHONDA HOOKS - June 9, 2021 4:52 pm

    Thanks for this. I was born in Definitely but raised in Bama.
    And darn tootin’ the que is good!

    Reply
  52. Rhonda Hooks - June 9, 2021 4:53 pm

    DeFuniak Springs

    Reply
  53. Bob - June 9, 2021 5:02 pm

    I’ve stopped at Kendall’s 3-times now. 2-of those times the line standing around outside waiting was too deep for me. The BBQ is good but not worth waiting more than about 10-minutes for. Thats how I rate BBQ and the best I ever had was worth 35.. The best BBQ I ever had was in Florida. Frogs BBQ in Williston and is the last time I checked on Google Maps, still open. It rated a 25. But the very best is long gone. The Rib Ranch I Sanford, FL was simply to die for. What are my qualifications? Only that for over 65-years I have been blessed like you to be a Southerner. And though I have left living as far away as Germany and a few Yankee states for a year here and there, I always come back. This time I’m not leaving. You know my part of the woods, Allentown, FL. I’m indebted to the lady who introduced my to your writings. Keep up the great work sir!

    Reply
  54. Tawanah Fagan Bagwell - June 9, 2021 5:09 pm

    Sean, I am so glad that I met you too! I’m glad that you write this daily email for me to enjoy.

    Reply
  55. Elvie - June 9, 2021 5:18 pm

    How did I discover you, Mr Sean? —From an old issue of our local Wiregrass Electric Coop magazine in Southeast Alabama… also lovingly called L.A. Your book “Will the Circle Be Unbroken?” was one of the recommended readings. I bought it right away. Then, checked you out online and now I’m a fan. My husband and I love this beautiful state very much! We’ve visited so many places that even some of the native Alabamians never knew existed. Sadly, I lost my husband early this year. Some days, the pain I have missing him is just unbearable. And here you are and your awesome talent. How it’s given me comfort. You are a Godsend, Mr Sean. Much kudos and may God bless you and yours.

    Reply
  56. Susie, as well - June 9, 2021 5:39 pm

    After all these wonderful comments, there is nothing left for me to say except, thank you for this, we love Bama, too!

    Reply
  57. johnallenberry - June 9, 2021 5:55 pm

    Alabama Loves you too, Sean. 🙂 They tried to open a Texas Style BBQ in Huntsville once. Didn’t last six months. I don’t know what they do to BBQ in Texas. I just know it’s an abomination.

    PhDude

    Reply
  58. Robyn Coffey - June 9, 2021 6:11 pm

    I’m from Texas & I love you any ol’ way Sean. I’ll be there someday & we’ll us some ‘cue. A day I look forward to-keep on writing!!

    Reply
  59. Connie - June 9, 2021 6:20 pm

    The South . the South, Once it’s in your bloodstream “ain’t nothing “ to cure it! Take the person out of the South but you’ll never take the South out of the person. …. And praise God for that!

    Reply
  60. alfie195671 - June 9, 2021 6:36 pm

    I love barbecue & it does not matter where it is from. Texas, Alabama, Kentucky or my back yard. Making my mouth water.

    Reply
  61. Marian B O'Briant - June 9, 2021 6:54 pm

    Besides waking up to my sweet Aussiedoodle in my face, your emails are the best part of my day. Thank you for defending Alabama and all things southern. Keep writing!

    Reply
  62. AlaRedClayGirl - June 9, 2021 6:57 pm

    Thank God I was born, reared, and still live in North Alabama. I did spend a few years a little farther south in Auburn. War Eagle! Alabama has it all…mountains, valleys, lakes, rivers, beaches, caverns galore, red dirt farmland, sandy soil, Spanish moss hanging from the trees in LA, and lots of small towns. It’s a wonderful life in Alabama!

    Reply
  63. RenaKirk - June 9, 2021 8:03 pm

    I love the south, too. I was born in Alabama and have lived here most of my life except a couple of years in south Georgia below the international gnat line.

    Reply
  64. Rebecca Souders - June 9, 2021 8:09 pm

    Love that you’d like that Texan to go home and enjoy his own barbecue. Well said. Personally, I love just about any barbecue (well, except those vinegary ones not so much), but my own is the bomb! Thanks again for your fine words!

    Reply
  65. Suzanne Moore - June 9, 2021 8:30 pm

    And I love reading what you write, Sean. Every single day. My life would be much less rich without your presence in it. Saying thank you seems totally inadequate, but I’ll keep saying it anyway.

    Reply
  66. Connie Pearson - June 9, 2021 8:36 pm

    Thank you. THANK YOU for this list of things you love. I feel better already.

    Reply
  67. Dee F.Hoomes Wichman - June 9, 2021 9:52 pm

    Reading your column is like a trip home. I’m from Damascus, the Hoomesville area and to hear you mention all the little towns I love warms my heart. Brooklyn, Teddy, Evergreen, Hope Hull. It makes me sad to go into Georgiana and see so many empty shops. Same in Brewton. My Daddy, Robert Hoomes, always hated Wal-Mart because he said all they would do is put small businesses out of business. To add injury to insult, here on the MS Gulf Coast, there are now neighborhood Markets, small WalMarts in the same town as the larger ones, competing against any supermarket and grocery they haven’t already put out of business. Keep writing. I’ll keep reading.

    Reply
  68. Russell Moulton - June 9, 2021 9:57 pm

    Love it. We end up on 31 a lot. Sometime due to I-65 traffic and sometimes just because. Kendall’s BLT like mama used to make!

    Reply
  69. Bill Harris - June 9, 2021 10:27 pm

    Thank you Sean

    Reply
  70. Robert L Chiles - June 9, 2021 10:32 pm

    Went to “Big John’s Texas BBQ” on main street in Mesa, AZ and it was fabulous. So good we went back the next day. And it was pork. But usually, public BBQ is not as good as you can make in your own back yard. One time went to a BBQ place a little bit north of Dallas and it was awful. But there is good ‘cue’ to be had all across the south.

    Reply
  71. Cathy M - June 9, 2021 10:47 pm

    Gracious, look at all the comments ! You are such a comfort to your readers. In this crazy, mixed up world you remind us of all the good things in life. I am from Mississippi originally but moved to Mobile in grade school. I have a tender heart for Miss. bc of wonderful summers in a small town in north Miss. when I have trouble sleeping I take myself back to that little town and all the sweet people who lived there. Great memories but I have to say I love Alabama. I live in a larger city but still love the small towns. Peaceful and a slower pace. Less stress and more kindness. Sounds good to me. Thank you for reminding all of us of the things that really matter in life. You are loved by many

    Reply
  72. Jc Collins - June 9, 2021 11:12 pm

    I understand that my maternal grandfather worked in the Bethlehem Shipyards with Hank. Never got a chance to confirm that, as they were both gone before I was here.
    I live on the Texas Gulf Coast, and I make a distinction between soils. There’s black gumbo and red clay. There’s a cultural line between the two as well. There’s the wet/dry line, the Catholic/Baptist (nothing wrong with Southern Baptists, ‘cept they don’t hold ’em underwater long enough), and perhaps most important, the availability of fresh oysters.

    Reply
  73. Tom - June 9, 2021 11:27 pm

    Like the way you write and ain’t nobody got better BBQ than Alabama. If it is so good in Texas, why didn’t he stay there. I think we did extra fine before he got here. Love driving me some of those Alabama backroads.

    Reply
  74. cekey44 - June 9, 2021 11:51 pm

    Your take on the Texan badmouthing Bama Barbecue might not be correct. I’m not sure the folks in Texas would throw him a party if he goes back. It kinda reminds me of a tale my Dad told about our local service station attendant, Jr. A man went in to the station and told Jr he was moving to the area and wanted to know what the local folks were like. Jr asked, how are the folks where you are coming from. The man replied they are terrible I can’t wait to get away from them. Jr said you are not going to like it here. A few days later another guy comes in with the same question. Jr asked him about the people where he was moving from. He said they are really great folks I am going to miss them. Jr said you are going to love the people here.

    Reply
  75. Ann - June 10, 2021 12:42 am

    Thisness is the best…I love it too and the warm all over smiles you bring!

    Reply
  76. Edwin - June 10, 2021 2:14 am

    Thank you Sean this one brought back a lot of great memories.

    Reply
  77. Marie Wildes - June 10, 2021 2:43 am

    My husband would tell our children ghost stories.every night they would get in bed with him, lights out and listen to his story, then screaming would erupt with laughter would follow. I love my memories of these moments.. He went home in 2009. I love reading your stories! Blessings

    Reply
  78. MAM - June 10, 2021 3:18 am

    Please keep telling us all the good things. All of us need that. Thanks as always, Sean! P.S. Good Texas barbecue IS good! But then, I’ve never had Alabama barbecue. Maybe I’m missing something. 🙂

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  79. Gigi - June 10, 2021 3:30 am

    Puh-khans and the devil’s beating his wife are two things of many, that those north of the mason dixon line are ignorant of…that and the beauty of southern barbecue- Alabama to Texas and all states in between! Northerners think a barbecue is hot dogs and hamburgers;-)

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  80. Dorothy Divis - June 10, 2021 4:11 am

    I just wanted to say hey, my name is Dorothy but you already know that, I live in Pinson, any way thanks for standing up for our BBQ, we have awesome bbq lol.

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  81. pdjpop - June 10, 2021 9:59 am

    Thanks Sean. This is special as my wife and I will return to The Yellowhammer State next Tuesday. We grew up there. The difference will be the location. We grew up in Athens (Near Tennessee line) but will go to our Forever Home south of Fairhope. We are naming our property Way Down Here, after the Kenny Chesney song.”There’s a beautiful view of the end of the world from the pier.” We love Our home state. Six days we have to wait.
    Bama barbecue, seafood, fried chicken….. heaven. Southern drawls, Southern men and women, football (I’m AU she’s UA), small towns (communities, Ours will be Barnwell), roadside vegetable stands. ….. quite a list. We will view the sunsets over Mobile Bay but any body of water is wonderful. Either Hank coming out of the speakers, a cool drink ( tea even!) and my retired wife’s hand in mine will be the magnificent end of the day.
    You have inspired a great feeling today.
    Oh yeah, I’m Anticipating a Conecuh dog!

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  82. Sondra I Kephart - June 11, 2021 1:54 am

    Sean, this past year during the pandemic, I decided to do something constructive with my isolation and lose some weight so I could get into a favorite pair of pants that were too small. So I made different choices and ate less, but only ate things I loved. Every calorie I ate, I enjoyed. So I lost about 38 pounds so far. I’m within 8 lbs of my goal. But I have to say, your columns are making these 8 lbs the hardest. I get SO HUNGRY reading your descriptions of the foods you experience. I swear, I am living vicariously thru your eating!!! Thank you for sharing such yummy meals with me!!!

    “Full” in Tucson.

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  83. Ginger Smith - June 11, 2021 5:52 pm

    I’m late reading this, but it makes me think…Conecuh County, Butler County. One hundred and fifty years, cousins lived in both counties, not knowing (or remembering from the earlier generations) that they were related. Castleberry in Conecuh and Shackleville in Butler. All from chattahoochee county, GA. Now, the McNortons and the McNaughtons are reacquainted and visiting online. Thanks, Sean, for writing about these places. What a wonderful world.

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  84. Wendy Trivisonno - June 11, 2021 11:27 pm

    What a fun, uplifting column, Sean. I very much enjoy and appreciate these daily visits with you~ thanks much😊

    Reply

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