Hawgeyes BBQ

2007 Senior Q

October 19, 2007

 Senior Q Month

Fountains at the Greenbrier BBQ Contest from my perspective

Independence, Missouri

October 19-20, 2007

What a beautiful weekend to have a contest! The weather was nice and warm with a little breeze thrown in for good measure. Jon & Clara Williams, contest organizers, greeted teams as they pulled in the parking lot of the Fountains at the Greenbrier Senior Care Facility. After we were placed in our spot and set up, we noticed numerous senior citizens walking about talking with contestants. Every contestant took the time out to speak to the residents, offering a cold beverage and conversation.

TheSlabs.com brought extra pork butts to cook, insuring that we had samples for the folks on Saturday as they milled around. Jon & Clara also gave teams pork butts to cook for the barbeque dinner they had planned for the residents at 4:00 on Saturday afternoon. Everyone participated in cooking the butts and we also donated a gallon of sauce to accompany the meal.

As Kyle was preparing the meat for competition, I noticed an older lady, in the house behind the parking lot, come up to the fence where we were located. She spoke quietly and called me over. This lady’s name is Eva. She had explained that Jon had gone to every house adjoining the parking lot to tell them about the contest. He invited those residents (whom I came to find out weren’t part of the senior care facility) to the dinner on Saturday afternoon. Eva asked what we were cooking and as I explained it to her, her face lit up. She told me, "Honey, I just love ribs! They’re my favorite!" I then asked her to join us Saturday so she could hang out and enjoy our barbeque fresh off the smoker and that the ribs would be coming off around 12:15.

Eva then told me her story. She had lived in that house with her husband (who passed away 10 years ago) and that’s where they raised their children. Eva explained that common sense told her that she wouldn’t be able to live in that house much longer and that she knew she needed to downsize. At 87 years young, Eva had a garage sale and numerous items were leftover and wondered if I knew anyone who would want to purchase them. She invited me into her home, which was decorated beautifully with lovely pieces of furniture. A beautiful plate hung on the wall in a wooden box that her husband had made by hand. Eva had numerous knick-knacks, plates, brass, etc. for sale. I told her that I would do the best I could to help her. The main piece of furniture she wanted to sell was a Magnavox stereo console. She and her husband had purchased it in 1964 and it was in immaculate condition with AM/FM radio and a turntable and had the original paperwork inside the cabinet! She pushed the power button and it was rockin’! I looked at her and exclaimed "Wow, Eva, you’re jammin’!" Eva replied, "I like the music, Honey." We laughed as we went out the back door and I reminded her to come over for a long lunch the next day.

Around 11:00 Kyle’s father, Lindy, showed up for our last contest of the year in our area, and soon after, Eva. We got her a chair and made her feel welcome by pouring her some lemonade and she started chatting with Lindy. When I had a few minutes, I joined them and she said "Honey, I’ve got a little something for you." I told her that she didn’t have to do that and she brought forward a small package wrapped in a paper towel with a rubber band around it. Eva had brought me a bar of lye soap that she had made. She calls her soap "Miracle Bars". Eva explained that she just loved to make lye soap and that she couldn’t do it anymore because the government stopped selling lye. I said that I recalled that they had quit selling lye and she said in her now, not so quiet, voice, "They quit selling it because people use it to make dope!" I laughed and replied, "I don’t know about that, Eva, but, it’s a shame that you can’t make your soap anymore and I’m honored to have received a Miracle Bar, thank you." As she went back to her chair, Kyle had some rib tips and we passed them out to passersby and Eva and Lindy. Eva took a bite and then wrapped it in her paper towel. I looked at her puzzled, and asked "Don’t you like the rib tip Eva?" Her reply, "Yes, Dear, but, I want to save it for my lunch." Kyle came around the corner and told her "Go ahead and eat it Eva, this is just the beginning." Prior to getting the chicken ready, Kyle went and asked if anyone had an extra styrofoam box laying around so we could make Eva a care package. Earlybird BBQ had one and told Kyle he had to take the leftover croissants they had. He came back with the box and offered croissants and Eva snagged one. Kyle had some candy that Lynda Showalter had brought for him and offered that and she proclaimed that it was her lucky day! We got chicken turned in and Kyle plated a piece for each of them. Then came the ribs! She LOVED the ribs! She said that she was going to call her daughter when she got home and tell her about the fantastic day she was having and all the good food that her new friends had given her.

We made up a box for Eva with chicken, ribs, pork and croissants. Before pork turn-in, she thanked us all and gave me a hug and I told her to enjoy the dinner they were having that evening. After we were done packing it up, Kyle and I went to her house, she was sitting on her back porch, watching everyone......we picked up the stereo console that I had purchased for a friend. As we were bringing it out the back door, Chris and Neal from Dodge County Smokers (who ended up giving her two ziplocs full of meat) came over and helped Kyle get it into the van.

Eva was happy that her beloved piece of furniture was going to get a new home. At one point during the day, I asked her, "Eva, when you move, are you going to live here?" pointing towards the Fountains. Her reply "No, Honey, everyday looking at my house....the life I had....it would be too painful."

The best part about the entire contest was getting to meet Eva. The cooking that we do, the people that we meet, the food that we share.....I, for one, have taken for granted. People that walked past that knew her looked envious, yet happy, for Eva. She was tapping her foot to the music, she had "people". Someone to sit and converse and to enjoy food with her. One hour. We spent approximately one hour with Eva before she went home.....before she went home to call her daughter to tell her how these two people that pulled up in a white van to cook barbeque in a parking lot............made it her lucky day.

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Ankeny, Iowa 50023
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