Beer With Me

It was as natural as eating and, to me, as necessary. I would not have thought of eating a meal without drinking a beer.”

Ernest Hemingway

The world is divided into two categories of people: those who drink alcohol and those who won’t. Whatever your viewpoint on alcohol and its effects, people will continue to drink – even as others tread  the path of sobriety.

I like to drink beer, you prefer apple juice – and that’s fine. It’s freedom of choice that makes us unique individuals.

But to deny yourself the chance to enjoy the guilty pleasures of this great world is to spend a lifetime with a brown paper bag on your head. With luck and perhaps a small dose of fortitude, your gastronomic adventures will lead you to a slice of foie gras seared medium rare with caramelized bananas and brioche,  or the salty clean taste of the ocean from a fresh shucked oyster.

Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza.” 

Dave Barry

Personally, I like beer, it’s an unpretentious drink made from four simple ingredients – grain, hops, yeast and water. When combined and allowed to ferment, the result is a slightly effervescent alcoholic beverage which can be bought at any convenience store, supermarket, gas station, pub or restaurant. The bottle is easily opened. Twist the cork with your thumb and forefinger or use a bottle opener. If none is handy, improvise with a spoon, a knife, the butt end of a lighter, or just use your teeth. Whatever your method, its intent is the same: to allow the amber liquid inside- to flow from bottle tip to tongue  tip. Beer is a blue collar drink, its steel toe boots and blue jeans sitting at the local bar.

 

Beer is meant to be enjoyed without great expense or pompous adjudications. Beer is a wonderful chameleon that blends in at a picnic, backyard barbecue or at the dinner table.  It construes itself to taste exactly as it should. Beer is aromatic and bittersweet, refreshingly delicious without need for garnish, mixers, cranberry juice or glass. It needs no further transformation by shaking, stirring, decanting or even blending.

ANYONE CAN OPEN A BEER

It needs no special location, time, or place to be enjoyed. You can enjoy beer in solitary silence or in a crowded room amongst friends. Beer is ethnic, cultural, and diverse. From the dark amber-colored liquid of Guinness from Ireland, to the clean hoppy taste of Sweetwater Ale in Atlanta, Georgia, or the heady brew that is Jamaican Red Stripe.

I particularly enjoy drinking beer on the balcony of my third floor apartment. This is my quiet time, sitting in the semi-dark watching cars drive in and out of my apartment complex. The MICROS is silent, my knives have been put away, my station is clean, and I am finally home.    

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Diverse Impressions of a Passionate Cook’s State of Mind Eating New Orleans Soul Food – Part II

The swamp gives life and it takes life. This primordial cycle is simple, brutal and unforgiving: the laws of nature rigidly enforced in a lonely landscape painted pastel colors of green, blue, and gray.

The heat, humidity and mosquitoes rise from the swamp to assault human inhabitants with unbridled ferocity.  They state the obvious: “You Are Not Wanted, Stay Out”.

This vast expanse of marshland is interspersed with bodies of brackish water, cypress trees, Spanish moss, marsh grasses, vines, palmettos and irises. It is wild, pristine, harsh and beautiful. The marsh is teeming with life – crayfish, frogs, snakes, turtles, catfish, snowy egrets, blue herons, pelicans and alligators. 

The city of New Orleans stands as a solitary fortress in the middle of this alien landscape. Its citizens have erected barriers of concrete, roads and highways along with the trappings of human habitation to keep the swamp at bay. But Mother Nature is an implacable adversary. The swamp is hers, and all who choose to live in it must eventually bend to her will.

“What is born of me, shall return to my bosom, and the earth will shelter and provide shade in this, our final resting place.” As the citizens of New Orleans are nudged closer to deaths’ embrace, The City of the Dead waits patiently to house them. Rows and rows of concrete tombs bleached white by the sun stand as testament to the futility of fighting the cosmos.

In the years 1787 and 1788, New Orleanians suffered and died by the thousands from plague and disease. Smallpox, influenza, and mosquito-borne yellow fever and malaria filled the cemeteries to the seams. Conventional burial practices did not work: if you dug more than a few feet into the ground, you would hit water.

During times of flood, the coffins and bodies would float to the surface, sparking a fresh round of disease and death. The city started the custom of burying their dead above ground in mausoleums. Every year on November 1st and 2nd, All Saints and All Souls Day respectively, residents clean and paint the cemeteries and pay their respects to the deceased.

Camel back shotgun houses

The swamp is more than the harbinger of death and decay; it also nurtures life in the plants and animals that spawn and reproduce instinctively. The pattern weaves as it will, each birth a celebration, as joyous as a newborn’s first breath. The circle of life also unfolds in the shotgun houses of New Orleans.

Shotgun houses are long and narrow instead of wide, with an entrance at the front and an exit at the back. A widely-told tale is that one could open both doors and fire a shotgun through the front and the bullet would fly through the back, without hitting anything. Having a door at the front and back also allows the house to stay cool in the hot and humid summer months. The history of the shotgun house can be traced back to the Caribbean, namely Haiti and by default Africa. It was the Haitians, who are of West African descent, who brought this style of home to Louisiana.  Evidence suggests that the name “shotgun,” is actually a corruption of the word “shogon.” In West Africa, “shogon” means “God’s House.”

This monument show the height of some of the houses in the Lower Ninth Ward and how high the water rose

Hurricane Katrina and the Mississippi destroyed many examples of these homes in the lower Ninth Ward – and almost a decade later, the rebuilding process is slow.The effects of Katrina are still painfully evident in the hearts, minds and stories of the people who suffered through it.

People had to cut a hole in their roof to climb to safety from the water. The spray paint on the wall were made by rescuers as they searched the houses for survivors or corpses. The top of the X is the date they searched the house. The left of the X tells what division searched the house. The 0 tells us no bodies were found in the house.

 

There are neighborhoods where houses still wait: desolate, abandoned, shuttered and forlorn. But the people of New Orleans are accustomed to hardship and heartache.

Movie star Brad Pitt actually spearheaded a project to rebuild houses in the devastated Lower Ninth Ward. These homes are aptly named Brad Pitt Houses.

 

In this city, life moves forward resolutely: hurricanes, floods and mosquitoes are faced with the strength of spirit of a people who have been dealing with the ravages of nature for hundreds of years.

This is Grandma Davis’ shotgun home. This house is called a double shotgun, because there are actually two homes side by side. Most people buy both the left and right side and convert it into one home. If you look closely on the right, you can see another door.

 

This home is Grandma Davis’. She has spent her life in the Ninth Ward, marrying, raising four children, and burying a husband. She held the same job for 51 years and was laid off seven years ago, but retirement didn’t sit well with her. Instead, she found another job and continued working – just as she has done most of her life. She’s 78 and these are her twilight years.

Grandma Davis is New Orleans soul food. Her small garden overflows with okra, butter beans and collard greens. Her pantry is stocked with a lifetime spent in the kitchen. Cast iron skillets and baking utensils share space with birthdays, family cookouts, and the laughter of children playing in the house. Over the years this collection of bric-a-brac has meandered onto shelves and into drawers and cupboards – an old wire whisk, a hunting knife, a butcher’s block,  plastic Tupperware, antique teacups,  a cook’s treasure chest.  I consider myself a fairly good cook, with an extensive repertoire of recipes and technique, but in Grandma Davis’ kitchen I bow before a master.

Collard Greens

As she cut up the vegetables for dinner, her touch was gentle and minimal. Collard greens sautéed with ham hocks, Spanish onions, a pinch of soda, salt, pepper, then left to stew without fuss or fanfare until done – mouthwatering.

Candied Yams ( Sweet Potato)

Sweet potatoes peeled, cut, then boiled until fork tender, a pat of butter, a sprinkling of nutmeg, a few drops of vanilla and a dash of salt- candied yamalicious.

A whole chicken, cut into eight, then breaded in seasoned cornmeal and flour, bubbling in a skillet of hot fat until golden brown and crispy – exquisite.

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Grits, andouille sausage, red beans and rice, stewed okra, fried catfish, creamy potato salad, sweet potato pie, New Orleans 7-up cake.  Classical dishes from the South; a lesson in the subtle nuances of taste and texture.  Fried, steamed, baked…

New Orleans 7-up cake

I ate it all: buttermilk biscuits and eggs for breakfast, oyster po-boy sandwiches for lunch, and gumbo for dinner.  While grandma was busy in the kitchen cooking, friends, cousins, her son, his wife stopped by to say hello and chitchat on the porch.  Somehow there was always enough food to share an extra plate.

Imagine the smell of sweet potato pie

No one left without a bite to eat, a slice of cake, a generous portion of sweet potato pie. This is New Orleans, where generations of family live within a fifteen-mile radius of each other. This is New Orleans, where the bonds of family run deep and true like the roots of a magnolia tree. Where aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers help each other, rebuild, renovate and provide the support system that helps families stay together.

These are the lessons learnt in the bayous of Louisiana: life passes in the blink of an eye, like fireflies winking in and out of the night sky. Perhaps this is why everyone celebrates – Mardi Gras, the jazz festival, All Saints Day – it’s a parade, it’s joie de vivre,  because no one knows what tomorrow may bring. There is strength in unity and community. New Orleans – and the people who make this city special – is stronger for it.

Brother & Sister
Rose – Daughter- in Law

Diverse Impressions of a Passionate Cook’s State of Mind Eating New Orleans Soul Food – Part I

This has probably been the hardest post for me to write. I’ve sat with these beautiful  pictures for months, thinking on how best to put my experience in New Orleans into words. How do I describe the quiet majesty of the Mississippi River? It’s easy to imagine how commerce and trade and eventually towns and cities  sprouted along its banks.

The streams I knew as a child were easy to ford and were only good for swimming with the help of a bamboo pole as a raft. I grew up with The Adventures of Tom Sawyer  by Mark Twain. I’ve traveled this river a thousand times in my imagination, but never had the opportunity to see it for myself.

I can only show you some of the things I’ve seen and hope that each picture is worth a thousand words. Sitting on the pier taking these pictures brought images of Forrest Gump and river boats and shrimping.  Finally, I was able to appreciate the love great authors had for this river.

Crayfish… by the pound, boiled with a blend of spices and sold in the local corner store. I quickly learned that some of the best food that the city had to offer was to be found in the little neighborhood stores. In New Orleans, corner stores sell everything from crayfish to cigarettes, and that’s just aisle C. These critters were delicious, but only if you were willing to spend the time extracting the meat from the body. In true New Orleans style, take the head and drain the juices between your lips: the flavor is sweet, salty and spicy at the same time. It helps if you have a bottle or two of beer to wash everything down. I have a preference for Stella Artois with my crayfish, but I leave the choice of beer to you.

One of my favorite places to eat was a restaurant chain called Tastee.  It’s actually a cross between a doughnut shop, White Castle burger and a diner. This one was located in a strip mall and had an unassuming store front.

But eating is an adventure, where the true value of a restaurant is measured by the quality of its food. This one was worthy of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives hosted by Guy Fierri on the Food Network.

I had six tiny burgers. Each thin patty fit perfectly on a dinner roll and were cooked with onions on the flat-top and garnished with a generous squirt of yellow mustard. The server/cook/cashier wrapped each one in its own deli-paper before handing me my order.

New Orleans is a city that should be explored in spoonfuls, each spoonful distinct from the first: the smell of the Mississippi River, of mud and silt flowing to the ocean, the festive echo of music and parties. Music and the Mississippi – plus a distinctive social grace – have sunk into the brickwork and decorative ironwork of Bourbon Street.

The heritage of this city is as rich and inviting as a warm bowl of gumbo on a cold night. Like gumbo, it should be ladled from a slow cooker into warm bowls, with friends who appreciate a hearty meal and stimulating conversation.  This complex mélange of flavors, history, and culture has simmered on the Mississippi delta for hundreds of years, giving the city a unique imprint found nowhere else in the continental United States.

Whether at a  local restaurant in the French Quarter or the home of friends on Canal Street, the smell of deep brown, nutty, cooked roux, melding with peppers and andouille and okra and history, was meant to be savored and shared. Gumbo, a stew made from the vegetables of African slaves and the techniques of their French masters, exemplifies the character of the city. In fact, it’s impossible to separate New Orleans from its past. Walking along the streets in the Downtown area or Garden district is like embarking on a time warp to the early 1800s.

Initially settled by the French in 1718, followed by rich Spanish plantation owners in 1765, and their African slaves, the city grew as wave after wave of Haitian, American, Irish and Filipino immigrants moved to New Orleans.  The architectural influences of the French and Spanish are well preserved in the historic buildings and houses all over the city.

The city bears the signs of the people who have lived here: French, American Indian, Haitian, African. Walking through the streets of the French Quarter, one can easily imagine the lifestyles of its inhabitants of former days. This is a city wrapped in the past where time has stood still and preserved the history and culture of another era. Tourists can still enjoy a tour of the city in a mule-drawn buggy: you learn about history as you ride in a piece of it. What is now a tourist attraction was once the primary means of moving cargo from the barges that came to dock at the pier, to the warehouses located nearby.

There to serve the hungry dock workers and revellers as they recuperated from a night spent carousing and drinking was Cafe Du Monde.

They serve one thing and one thing only: beignets. Hot, fluffy and dusted with a generous coating of icing sugar, these deep fried treats are the French equivalent of the doughnut. The  recipe for beignets was brought to Louisiana by the Acadians. Cafe Du Monde, which is in essence a coffee shop, has been serving beignets  in the  French Market since 1862. It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and only closes on Christmas day. Your beignets come three to a plate with your choice of coffee, soda or orange juice.

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As the day draws to a close, and the ebb and flow of people on Canal Street swirl around me, I’m ready for my next adventure. Tomorrow it’s the City of the Dead and the Lower Ninth Ward. I’m tired; tonight, I’m going to sleep and dream of gumbo and “life like a box of chocolates” and Tom Sawyer and the mighty Mississippi river. My dreams will be pleasant, and I hope yours will be, too.

My Aunt Cooks the Best Roast Pork

“But I will place this carefully fed pig Within the crackling oven; and, I pray, What nicer dish can e’er be given to man.” Aeschylus, ancient Greek poet

Old school in a Dutch pot over a coal fire. The pork shoulder is seasoned the night before with thyme, pimento, minced garlic, fresh ginger, scotch bonnet pepper, soy sauce, kosher salt and black pepper. She takes her time.  My aunt also likes to cut up an onion, carrot and celery. She adds them to the pork and lets everything marinate.  I call it “mirepoix” she just laughs, “Mirror what?” There’s no rush, that’s what good braising is all about. In the refrigerator the meat absorbs all the herbs and spices permeate the meat, call it osmosis of flavor. The pork shoulder weighs about 5lbs, a medium sized roast, and a perfect fit for the Dutch pot. She likes cooking outside, there is shade at the side of the house. The overhanging ackee tree makes this the perfect spot. Cooking outside is the secret. A bit of cool breeze and sunshine trickles into the pot each time it’s opened. Is it true? I think so.

But first, a sulfur match and a wad of newspaper to coax the coal to fire.

My Aunt’s Dutch pot is heavy. This thick sides and bottom prevent the meat from scorching. It holds the heat while distributing it evenly. She adds a little oil when the pot is hot enough and allows the oil to shimmer and smoke lightly before adding the meat. It takes time to brown a large piece of meat. The longer it takes the better. Food scientists describe the caramelization of meat as a “maillard reaction.” They would love my aunt because her “maillard reaction” is perfect. Five to eight minutes per side, she leaves the meat to sizzle and goes inside to start the “rice & peas.” Kitchen towel in one hand, fork in the other, the lid is lifted and she proudly allows me to take a picture.

“Mirror what?”

That culinary term again? She adds the vegetables and all the seasoning saved from the meat. A cup of water is enough to start. The lid goes on. What happens inside the Dutch pot? The low heat, long cooking time and moisture breaks down the connective tissue in the pork. The added aromatics respond to the heat and gradually begin their own gradual “maillard reaction.” For now I was in charge. Every fifteen minutes or so, I would lift the lid and add water if necessary.  Never more than a cup or two.

At least I had company while I sat outside tending the roast pork.

Never trim the fat or skin from a pork shoulder. The skin is delicious; the fat bastes the meat and keeps it moist. Heat contracts and tightens muscle fibers. Over time, these fibers expel moisture and the meat becomes dry. The long cooking process allows these fibers to relax and absorb the melted pork fat and gelatin. Braised meats absorb liquid. It took three hours till the meat was fork tender. I’m sure it was done and tender, I told my aunt, and after all, it was my fork that did most of the testing.

 

Jamaica’s Mangrove Oyster in Pictures

“The flavor of an oyster must depend upon several things. First if it is, fresh and sweet and healthy it will taste good, quite simply ……… good, that is, if the taster likes oyster.” M.F.K Fisher – The Art of Eating

A couple strolling along the beach after eating fried fish from a nearby restaurant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jamaica’s Mangrove Oyster from Old Harbor Bay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


“People love the oysters because it’s a strong nature food. It puts lead into your pencil and strengthens your back. It increases sperm count for men who want to get their women pregnant.”
Leslie McKie, popularly known as ‘Juici’

 

 

 

 

Some sweetened with honey, some pickled, all just right for your oyster delight

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is my sister’s first oyster experience, I was proud to witness her first baby steps as a foodie

 

 

 

An Elegant Christmas Brunch

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appetizers, Salads and Platter Selections

Jars of Marinated Vegetables

Sun dried Tomatoes, Assorted Olives, Pickled Cauliflower, Chanterelle & Pearl Onions

Display of Roasted vegetables

Portobello mushrooms, Grilled Zucchini, Steamed Asparagus, Roasted Bell Peppers, Roasted Fennels

Red Onions, Roasted Pear with Cheddar Crumble

Braised Leeks with Dijon Herb Vinaigrette

Salads

Winter Greens with Cranberry Pumpkin Seed Vinaigrette & Buttermilk Dressings

Romaine Lettuce with Cesar Dressing, Brioche Croutons, Shaved Parmesan

Spicy Thai Pork, Lemon Grass and Vegetable Salad

Braised Beef Shanks & Leek Terrine, Herb Vinaigrette

Wild Rice, Roasted Butternut Squash, Marinated Veal Flank Steak

Russian Vegetable Salad, Quail Eggs, Caviar

Apple & Jicama Celery Salad with Grapes

Poached Salmon & Lobster Roulade

Crab & Fennel Salad with Creamy Lime Dressing 

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Goose Liver & Apple Compote

 Cheese & Charcuterie Table

Imported American & Marinated Cheeses

With Stewed Prunes, Poached Pears, Quince Paste, Dry Fruit & Nuts

Duck& Chicken Liver Terrine on Toast with Red Wine Onion Jam

 Bread Table

Mini Muffins, Croissants, Mini Danish, Apple Turnovers, Sugar Pies, Twists, Chocolate Croissants, Brioche

Bread Selection

Rustic Rolls, Fig & Walnut Ficelles, Sourdough Epi, Potato Dill, Assorted Foccacia

Fresh Fruit Station

Assorted Apples, Marinated Fruits

 Seafood Station

On Ice:

Gulf Shrimp, Crab Claws, Green Lip Mussels, Malpeque Oysters

 Sushi

Chef Station

Sushi Made to Order

Assorted Condiments

Smoked Seafood

Homemade Winter Cured Alaskan Salmon, Peppered Mackerel, Trout

Traditional Garnishes, Buttered Black Bread

 Caviar

American Sturgeon, Salmon, Gold Caviar

Pumpernickel Bread, Blinis, Classic Garnitures

Breakfast Station

Chef Station

Omelets &   Eggs- Made to Order

Eggnog French toast Sticks

Vanilla Waffles

Caramel, Chocolate Sauces, Cinnamon Whipped Cream, Maple Syrup, Chopped Pecans

From Chafing Dish

Roasted Red Bliss Potatoes, caramelized peppers, onions

Poached Eggs Benedict, smoked Salmon, Canadian bacon, Hollandaise Sauce

Ricotta Cheese Blintzes, Blackberry Compote

Chicken sausage links, Applewood smoked bacon

 Carving/ Entrée Station

Chef Station

Whole Roasted Capon, Georgia Pecan Jus

Slow Roasted Prime Rib, Pinot Noir Reduction

Traditional Christmas Ham, Pineapple Peach Marmalade

From Chafing Dish

Banana & Sweet Potato Puree, Maple Syrup Swirl

Braised Savoy Cabbage stuffed with House Cured Smoked Bacon

Creamy Roasted Garlic & Chive Potatoes

Winter Root Vegetables with Shallot Butter

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Pasta Selections

               Lobster Ravioli, Braised Leeks, Wild Mushrooms, Cognac Butter

Honshimeji Mushroom & Celery Risotto, Braised Oxtail, Natural Jus

Sautéed Seafood

Pan Seared Scallops, Blue Crab Orzo Pasta, Blood Orange Vinaigrette

Smoked Scottish Salmon, Lavender, Purple Peruvian Potato, Acorn Squash Glaze

Soup

Toasted Chestnut Soup, Crisp Pancetta

Christmas Brunch Desserts

Eggnog & Chocolate Chip Croissant Pudding

Poached Cranberry Vanilla Swirl Cheesecake

Candy Cane Mousse Chocolate Cups

Chestnut “Mini” Yule Logs

Ginger Pear Upside down Cake

Cappuccino Éclairs

Bouche De Noel “Brandied Cherry” Buttercream

Fruit Tarts

Pecan Tarts

Vanilla Brulee

Chocolate Mint Brulee

Assorted Chocolate & Bon Bons

Assorted Holiday Cookies

Pate De Fruit

Assorted Macaroons

Marshmallow: Peppermint, Vanilla, Mocha

Apple Cobbler with Crème Anglaise

Chocolate Fountain

Assorted Dipping Items

 Chef Station

Apple Cider Beignet, Warm Rum Butter Caramel sauce, Vanilla Bean Ice Cream     

“Ingredients are not sacred. The art of cuisine is sacred. It is at that altar I worship, and I shall go to sacrifice the fat geese and tender cattle to serve its ends. The holy icons of the chef’s faith—fragrant truffles, rich foie gras, well-marbled meats and other luxurious ingredients – these are not God. Their synthesis and their miraculous transformation into a sum greater than its parts is creation, and this is what I find most worthy of reverence.” Tanith Tyrr

 

 

 

 

 

East Atlanta Strut !!!

I got a phone call from Tracy , a good friend of mine that lives in East Atlanta. She said that there was a festival up the street in her neighborhood, cars were parking up  an down on her avenue and she could hear music in the distance. Normally on a Saturday I’m at work, in fact it’s rare  cooks never get Saturdays off. But I’m a lucky son of a gun and this particular beautiful, sunny day in Atlanta was mine, to do what I pleased. So she called and I was like hey, I’ll come over and we can go check it out, sounds like fun.

On the Menu

East Atlanta  put on a helluva street festival. Thousands of people turned out to show their support, have  fun, and just vibe with the funky music , good beer, the delicious food and outstanding works of art that was available. To say the neighborhood charm worked like a charm is an understatement.

Sticky, Smoky , Tangy , Sweet Ribs , Falling of the Bone

I had the opportunity to sample ribs and chicken sliders from Boners BBQ. This food truck served some of what I thought was the best BBQ ribs to be had anywhere.We actually went back for a second serving and bought more at the end of the night to take home. Nothing says summer like a bottle of cold ginger beer to drive away the heat. Even better, it was Jamaican…….. nostalgia in a bottle. I didn’t get a chance to take pictures of the food from Boners because we were so hungry, and the food disappeared in minutes.  What a summer festival without funnel cakes. I had to try them, the booth next to Boners was doing a brisk business, frying and serving them hot and covered in powdered sugar.This was too much for us to enjoy by ourselves. Tracy called her sister and told her to bring the kids.

Funnel Cakes and Corn Dogs

 

 

 

This was a party that needed the whole gang.There was something for everyone. The weather was clear, bright and sunny. A perfect Saturday afternoon for friends and family to support what was truly local and unique about East Atlanta. Despite the massive crowds the event did not feel congested. There was no rush like at a football or baseball game, where the press of a crowd can become quite claustrophobic and stuffy.

The East Atlanta Strut is a jolly good vibe. Live bands, a bull ride, and a carnival act keeps the crowd in a festive mood. It was a treat especially for the children.Tracy and myself who had now been joined by her sister decided, to let the kids have some fun in the Bounce House.Beer for the grown-ups and popsicles for the kids. They even had popsicles for big kids like myself , blackberry mojito anyone?

Blackberry Mojito in a Popsicle

It was delicious !!!! Reflecting on the events of the day as it unfolded; I was struck with an idea that grew in volume and side like flood waters cresting a dam. It’s an idea that I would like to share with you all, in the hope that it grows beyond even what I envisioned. Like the single raindrop, that grew into a stream and gathered strength until it swept   away all that opposed it. One raindrop, an event, where friends, family and strangers’ rubbed shoulders without bias or prejudice.  Imagine if instead of mouthing the words, we actually practiced tolerance for each other. If a man could respect another man for being unique and different then we could all move towards uplifting ourselves as a society with a conscience that acted in an ethical manner. Gradually, these ugly words like war, hate and prejudice would fade from our vocabulary. Like rainbows after the storm, we would look at the world around us, with an open heart and open mind. Imagine how uplifting it would be if we took the East Atlanta Strut and lived in harmony like the colors of the rainbow. It would be a brighter day, and we would be better people for it.