"Junior and Katie can't help with the Southern Sisters catering job this weekend, could you help out? It's a wedding reception with a growing guest list and we really need help."
I said yes, of course.
I haven't survived 25 years of marriage without learning a thing or two about survival.
Between the "Yes" and the wedding, my college roommate Dave showed up to meet with his contractor. You regulars may remember that Dave is building a BK Cypress Log Home nearby.
When I told Dave that he was welcome to stay with us, but we would not be around much due to this big wedding job, he jumped right in to help.
That is how Dave and I became, "Men In Black" last night. I had spent the morning of the day before as a grunt setting up chairs and tables while the sisters handled other things. That was a come as you are job, but the event dress was black pants, black T, and black apron. We added the shades.
There were a lot of chairs and tables. The guest list had grown rapidly in the final few days before the wedding so the sisters were a little stressed out as they adjusted their supplies and cooking schedules.
I toted chairs and tables and stayed out of their way on set up day.
Last night was the big event (a full sit down meal) and it was a real eye-opener to see the behind the scenes work of a large catered event. They pulled it off beautifully as usual, but after keeping buffet lines full, serving, washing dishes, running constantly, and packing it all up at the end, I now understand why they are all exhausted after a catering job.
This was a whirlwind of a week also due to Emma's graduation ceremony for the honor society of the college of education at the University of South Florida. We traveled there on Thursday to honor Em's achievement and approaching USF graduation. In the picture above, she is standing with her honors advisor, Dr. Lori Delik.
Obviously, Emma cleans up nice, but in the picture below, we see her in her natural environment.
Katie and Emma told me a while back that they had found a great BBQ place near Tampa called, "Hot Rods".
"Dad, you have to try it! You will LOVE it!"
So, after her ceremony, we all headed out Livingston Avenue for "Hot Rods". Livingston is one of those roads that goes almost immediately from Tampa urban hubbub to rural calm of Lutz.
As we were heading out into the more rural area, we noticed a school bus in the oncoming lane stop and then start to creep over towards the roadside.
When we looked closer, a huge gopher tortoise was in the road, right in front of the school bus. The driver was trying to inch around it, but he could not go off the road.
Mrs. FC was driving, so I said, "Pull over!" but she was already doing so.
I dashed out of the truck and made eye contact with the oncoming driver who stopped and held up a line of 5:00 pm Tampa rush hour traffic while I snatched the gopher and got him safely off the road. The school bus driver held the traffic back in the other lane.
I ran back, jumped in the truck and traffic commenced again.
Everybody cooperated and not one horn was honked.
Like most good BBQ places, the outer shell does not always do justice to the wonders within. Hot Rods was no exception to this rule.
Most of us chose this sampler plate ... ribs, chicken wings, two pulled pork sliders, and two sides (I chose collards and green beans) ... all for about $9.00.
It was all excellent and what I really loved is that Hot Rods cooks the sauce on the meat ... just like I do at home.
Let me say here that all styles of BBQ are wonderful to me when done right. I like 'em all, but my very favorite is what I was raised on (surprise) and that is slow cooked with sauce added near the end to coat and glaze the meat.
THAT is what I think of first when BBQ comes up.
Hot Rods must agree. You will not find any squeeze bottles of sauce on the table to apply post cooking.
It was spectacular and right now, if I could beam myself to any BBQ restaurant I know, I would choose Hot Rods first.
And finally, here is my friend and former dorm roomie, Dave, standing at the prow of his soon to be completed log home.
If you want to see interior shots, go to Dave's blog, Thunder and Lightnin.
Not much wildlife in this post, but you can see why.
Not to worry mon, soon come.