I miss Sunday afternoons in the country.
Mom and I would get home from church.
I’d change into play clothes and aggravate my brother to play with him and his friends in our big side yard.
Dad would fire up the grill to cook either chicken, hot dogs or steak.
I can smell and taste his barbecue chicken now.
He had a “special” sauce that consisted of mild peppers and vinegar. I can still hear the sizzle of the vinegar dripping off the chicken and onto the hot coals.
Sometimes you could smell a trace of the barbecue sauce on a soft breeze.
Dad kept a rag in his pocket, mostly to wipe the sweat from his brow. Sometimes he used it to chase away the flies when he opened the grill top to check on that mouth-watering “yard bird” as he called it.
He’d sit in the shade underneath the old walnut tree, sip on a glass of tea and watch us kids knock each other’s blocks off playing football.
Mom stayed busy in the kitchen.
She always set a beautiful table that was filled with a feast fit for a king – corn on the cob, butter beans, fresh cut tomatoes, sliced cucumbers in pepper and vinegar and good ol’ homemade biscuits.
Of course, there was plenty of “house wine of the South” – sweet tea.
Sometimes, there would be dessert.
Dad loved pineapple cake.
My brother had an affinity for anything chocolate.
I preferred lemon meringue pie.
Regardless of what mom fixed, the sweet goodies turned me and my brother into ping-pong balls. We’d bounce around the house due to the sugar rush and mom would “shoo” us outdoors for fear we’d break something.
It was a lot of fun growing up in our house.
We didn’t have all those fancy gadgets that kids have today.
We stayed outside until mom turned the porch light on. Even then, it took some coaxing to get us inside, especially if it was the summer.
After our bath, we’d watch TV.
Then it was off to bed with dreams of yard birds, cake and pie dancing through our heads.
I can still taste it all today.
And boy, I sure do miss it.
Rudy Coggins is assistant editor of the Mount Olive Tribune. He can be reached at email@example.com.