Everywhere I have ever gone, I have noticed that people are open to human touches – friendliness, compliments, smiles, gifts, tips, kindness, appreciation, a listening ear. These are the kinds of things that nurture human relations. It is in the exchange of human relations that we influence others for eternity. Ministry to people depends on human relationships.
Campton is the county seat of Wolfe County, Kentucky. Every Thursday night all summer long there is a singin’ on the street in front of the courthouse. People sit on the courthouse steps and in lawn chairs on the grass. There’s free lemonade as long as it lasts. For two or three weeks this summer the Pierponts were among the singers.
On the south end of the street is a little barn-looking building on wheels. It is the barbeque trailer from Mark’s Mountain Barbeque. Mark mans the stand himself. He sells prize-winning ribs, pulled pork barbeque, and barbeque brisket sandwiches. He also sells a sweet ginger ale they call Ale-Eight-One to wash it down. He serves it ice-cold and it comes in little green glass bottles.
The Wolf County cheerleaders work the crowd with baked goods, raising money for new uniforms.
I have a serious weakness for barbeque, especially on a warm summer evening with singin’, free lemonade, and cheap baked goods.
Mark sold me a half-dozen barbeque pork sandwiches for the family and I treated myself to a BBQ brisket sandwich. He was a quick study. He sized me up and I’m sure he was a little more generous than usual with my portion size. I gave him a tip. He seemed to appreciate that and then he watched be closely when I bit into the brisket sandwich.
“Whata’ ya’ think o’ that brisket?”
“Well, I’ve never had better,” I answered honestly. His face lit up with a smile.
It was a holiday and we don’t get to Kentucky very often. I wasn’t sure when I would have a chance to have Mark’s Mountain Barbeque again so I went back for seconds for myself and my always-ravenous boys. Mark smiled again and said, “You really have to try my ribs.”
Without waiting for a reply he went to the grill and pulled off a generous chunk of ribs for me to try. He had a reason to be proud of them.
“Whata’ ya’ say?”
“Ummm, good. Real good,” I mumbled. “Real, real, good.”
He picked up a big container and tongs and slapped a huge slab of ribs dripping with sauce into the container and handed it to me. “Take these along with ya'”
I walked away with my barbeque windfall – strains of bluegrass music in the air – evening fading into twilight.
We’ll sing on the street again in September. The color will be creeping into the hills by then. My mouth waters when I think about it. Come to think of it Mark also sells blueberry cobbler. I wonder if that’s as good as his barbeque?
July 28, 2008