Just a red wooden shack on the side of Highway 32 between Douglas and Ocilla, Ga. called Hunter's BBQ. The place where I learned so many lessons during my growing up years and how special the South can truly be. We lived in Jacksonville when I was a little girl, but even when I came to visit I knew there was something unique about watching my Granddaddy get up in the middle of the night to turn the meat that was smoking behind the restaurant. Chin in my hands, I looked on as he and my Grandmother made their special sauce, brunswick stew, stuffed sausages and pound cake from scratch. During the summer, I would stand to the right of the shack by the picnic tables and sell bags of boiled peanuts and sweet tea to the hard-working truck drivers on their way through our little town. There was also a time where we could grind sugar cane stalks and sell cane juice. When I was in sixth grade, we moved to Ocilla and many summers I worked at Hunter's. Here are some of my life's lessons learned on the side of that busy road:
1) Quality is worth the hard work. That Barbecue was good; I really haven't had its equal since they passed. Goat, beef, pork, and ribs smoked all night. Carl Hunter sat back on that stool and sorted through that meat to remove the gristle and fat. That took time, but time is what made that stuff so, so good.
2)Always count change back. Working with young people today, I realize this is a special skill, one that apparently isn't a focus. But my Grandma Nell was adamant that I would count the change back to every single customer. And the register? Old school. No cheat sheet numbers that told you how much the guests were supposed to receive.
3)Stick to the recipe. In my own kitchen, I am notorious for not following this rule. However, consistency is golden and you just didn't mess with the checks and balances of those measurements.
4)There is more about food than food. There was an experience involved. Manners were required—always.
5)Last but not least, the register was not meant for any bill larger than a 20. Those had a special hiding spot in Grandma's brassiere.....oops, maybe I wasn't supposed to tell.
Journaling through my growing up years, I have learned to appreciate what I took for granted then. Quite simply, I'm thankful.
Amanda Williams is a forty-year old wife and mother of two who can still swing her pony tail and display just a tad of sass. She is also a Jesus loving girl who realizes she is nothing without the One who saved her. Amanda has two degrees specializing in serving students with special needs and is currently working in the field of Leadership Development. She is a Christian author, speaker, blogger, and publisher who loves serving beside her husband at her local place of worship, First Baptist Church of Ocala.