I like biscuits and gravy in the wintertime. Hot black coffee to sluice through the grease in your mouth. Maybe even hook it up with some cheese grits on the side, (y’all know how I like to make ’em with the garlic powder, the louisiana hot sauce and the sharp cheddar). Scrape up the cracklin’s off the bottom ofthe pan before you hit it with the milk. Yes Sir, yes M’am, that’s what I like before a ride in the wintertime.
Sometimes I’m all about a big pot of black beans sitting on the stove, morning, noon, and night, cruise by and take a swat straight off the the top. Mmmmm, a little onion and a lot of fresh herb. Chase it down with a cold glass of tap water.
Late summer night, back from a ride, big ribeyes on the grill, marinated in fresh garlic, olive oil, and rosemary. If there ain’t no rosemary, I don’t even want a steak. Roll the corn up in foil with a pat of butter and a sprig of the piney good stuff too. Asparagus dripping and sizzling. A 12 pack of mountain sodas nestled in the fridge, patiently waiting their turns. Legs all tired and good, mind blown clean from the ride. That’s the soul food right there.
Somebody throw for bull.
Fall comes in, you get caught that first cold afternoon out, “Damn I’m freezing!” Pull into some country convenience store in the middle of nowhere and fix yourself up a 16 oz styrofoam cup of trucker coffee with a pack of hot cooca mix stirred into it. Might as well get a few tater logs if they got ’em right? Sun is so bright, and the air so cool you could just lay in the grass by the store all afternoon, except you’ve got to clip in and get home, 20 more miles of highway, powerlines, sidewalks, singletrack, parking lots, and neighborhoods (remember the little black girls who hollered, cheered, and jeered us on the way out? Let’s go back that same way. )
Fix a torn sidewall with a dollar bill, tighten up a bottom bracket with a tiretool and a log, whatever comes up along the way, you have an answer. That’s the soul food right there.
Coming up the St. Marks trail, catching roadies, hammering away like you’re building the railroad. Legs are tired, but so warm and loose you could ride the sun down, and you probably will have to actually.
Bunny hopping over coke cans, broken glass, curbs, imaginary curbs, empty 40’s in brown bags, (sounding pretty good right now?)
Threading the perfect merge into traffic, catching the light, carving down the hill into the cemetery, traffic noise falls away in the company of the dead.
Bombing campus from the Wescott fountain down to the Union, never touching the brakes, just surfing. Pulling up somewhere, completely awash in memories of a 1988 Yellow Dakar and a pair of High-Tec’s. (Follow for Now is playing at Mama’s, I heard the skinheads are gonna try to crash it, let’s go over there!)
Been back in town seven years, that’s pretty hard to believe. Am I ever going to leave again?
Not if the menu keeps serving up soul food, and everybody knows you have to cook it up yourself if you want it to be good.
-Back on the road tomorrow, I’ll catch up with you somehwere.
Maybe a couple of guest hosts this week, we’ll see.
Cornbread and collards, Juancho