What’s your best “excuse,” (well, “reason”) for having a cookout?
In Catfish Country, it can be anything from church suppers and family reunions to rehearsal parties, tailgate picnics or weekends at the river.
During my childhood, the “excuse” was relatives who came to visit.
Cookouts usually meant hamburgers, hotdogs, a slab of ribs or pile of catfish, and all it took for us to bring out the big, iron pot was a kinfolk or two and especially half a dozen.
With large families on both sides, our relatives were scattered from Maryland to Ohio to Arizona to Florida. Some came for 10 days in the summer, others for a few days here or there. An Ohio uncle joined us every year at Christmas, and that doesn’t begin to cover all the family in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and Tennessee!
Our place was the perfect stop. We lived in a big, high-ceilinged house with several bedrooms and a wraparound front porch. Extra room might be had in one of our duplex cottages, part of Greensboro’s first motel. Plus, my dad loved to talk and my mother loved to cook, and there were lots of cousins for us to play with.
While family fish fries once meant bass or bream from a river or pond, the meaning of “fish fry” eventually changed to catfish that were raised in ponds near town.
The kinfolks were enthused, and at the end of their visit, often stopped by the processing plant to pack coolers with fillets for the trip home.
Well, let’s see. No kinfolks are visiting, but August is National Catfish Month, and Labor Day is right around the corner…reasons enough!