It was a dark and rainy night. And day. And day before that. And day before that…..well, you get the idea. I was heading down to the Volunteer Fire Company June Chicken Barbecue via the shops at Eagles Mere…both the Book Store (discounted books!) and the Bird’s Nest (stationary, home things – all the lovely things you want all in one place) were calling me as an alternative to writing papers or watching rain. I found a cook & quote book by Helen Nearing, browsed…and headed on down to the barbecue.
But I was going by a different road than usual. I remembered mostly driving this way in the winter when I was younger, going up to the (very small) ski slope and winter festivities. And I was thinking about the differences between the north and the south. The first year I had moved to Chattanooga, in the fall, a school-age girl came bounding up to me one day, and asked if I wanted to buy a toboggan from her school fundraiser. “Ummm…no, thank you,” I said, and she bounded off while I considered why they would be selling toboggans — which I knew as big, multi-person sleds — in the south, and for a fund-raiser. These thngs are expensive! In fact, the ones I remember best were in Eagles Mere at the toboggan run that their Volunteer Fire Dept sets up in the winter. http://www.eaglesmere.org/emslide.html They cut huge blocks of ice out of the lake after it freezes, make a trough/track down a steep street that heads out over the lake, and you and 4-9 of your friends or family get onto the toboggan in the track – you get a push, and whoosh, you zoom down the track and out onto and across the frozen lake. On a good year, when there is not a lot of snow, you can slide across the ¾ mile of the lake. And then, yes, you have to walk back across the lake and up, up, up that steep hill, on the packed snow. We loved it!!
It was later that I found out in the south, a toboggan is a knitted pull-over-your-head hat. Oh, well.
And the chicken barbecue that I am heading toward? It is the best ever, wonderfully grilled/smoked chicken with homemade – really homemade! – sides and desserts. Not a “southern” barbecue with sauce. Just seasoned and slow smoked, browned and moist and tender. Mmmmm. Delicious, no matter what you call it!