Thomas R. Lawrence
456 South 10th Street
Opelika, AL 36801
As I See It!™
Volume 3, Number 5
In This Issue:
Welcome from Tom
Front porch Press
Society South Magazine
As I Like it!TM
Doing Business in a Third World Country
Doing Business in Baghdad on the Hudson
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
TO BE SURE OF HITTING THE TARGET, SHOOT FIRST AND CALL WHATEVER YOU HIT THE TARGET.
There is nothing that will put you in touch with your own mortality than attending a class reunion. I recently traveled to Jackson, Mississippi to take part in the fifty-fifth reunion of the William B. Murrah High School class of 1957. The festivities took place in the recently renovated Duling Elementary School which now houses a meeting facility that is available for parties and community events. Many of the attendees had started their public school adventure at Duling in 1945 for first grade which provided an extra air of nostalgia in the old building.
We all enjoyed a buffet dinner in the school’s old auditorium, listened to early rock and roll and reminisced as we maneuvered carefully between walkers and oxygen bottles. No one hit the dance floor, but I noticed several folks tapping their feet in time to Bill Haley and Comets. I enjoyed visiting with several guys who had been team mates on the Mustang football team and discussing our gridiron exploits, hip replacements and the inevitability of prostate cancer.
There were several of the girls in our class who had seemingly dodged the aging bullet and remained as beautiful as ever, demonstrating how good genetics becomes markedly more obvious as time marches on. The youngest looking, and best preserved person in attendance, was Jim Merritt, our football coach. He was accused of having a portrait of Dorian Grey in his closet.
Considering the passage of the years, we had good attendance. There are always those who cannot travel long distances for health and family reasons, but many sent their regrets. Like every other high school class, there are some who feel that such stuff is below their status. There are a few who we have not been able to track down, perhaps attributable to their likelihood of being in the witness protection program. Personally, I enjoyed the weekend and look forward to our 60th in 2017.
FRONT PORCH PRESS
Lisa and I met last week and finalized the production and marketing plan for Cow College. We have set a date for the release of the book for sometime in mid October. Carolyn Abide at the Book Mart and Café in Starkville has volunteered to host the event and we will be working with Carolyn to firm up the plans.
One of the things that I learned from Delta Days is that I underestimated the market for the book by assuming that only those that either knew me or were native to the Mississippi Delta would have an interest. Surprisingly, the stories seem to have resonated with many coming of age situations and as such, the book has been well received outside of the Delta and Mississippi. I even received an e-mail from a man who said the book reminded him of his youth in wartime London.
The major marketing effort for Cow College will be centered on the use of social media venues and, as a result, will require a little help from our friends. We are seeking an expert in this field to assist us and help design an interactive marketing plan. I am sure we will be asking for your help as we begin implementing the plan.
SOCIETY SOUTH MAGAZINE
My interest in the magazine has grown to the point that I have made a financial commitment personally. Additionally, Capital Consultants will be helping Tim raise the necessary capital to take the publication regionally by next January. In the meantime, we began the production efforts that will allow the January date to be met and we have our sales representative calling on regional and national advertisers to line up the ads for the first six regional issues. I’ll continue to keep you posted as we move toward our first regional issue.
As I Like it! ™
Occasionally all of us reach a point of utter frustration with modern life. Recently, I have had to endure some situations that tested not only my patience, but my credulity. If you have ever experienced such things,click here for my experiences in dealing with the State of Alabama. Click here to get my on-going saga with the New York Times and Click here to read my latest movie review. Come vent with me.
Meat and Three
Most Southerners, me included, are drawn to the old style country cooking we all grew up with. I can only vouch for me, but this phenomenon manifests itself about once a week in the form of an almost uncontrollably hankering for cornbread and grease. When in such a state of compulsion, I am drawn to one of our local eateries that we Southerners call a meat and three. A meat and tree is a joint that offers plate lunches with a meat, usually fried chicken, country fried steak, fried pork chops or fried catfish. The plate lunch is generally filled out by your choice of several vegetables and starches, fried green tomatoes, fried okra, fried potatoes or fried onions.
You might notice that there is a whole lot of frying going on. In addition to the fried menu, you can usually get greens, squash or cabbage, which has hopefully been cooked in bacon grease. This little artery clogging adventure is usually accompanied by cornbread slathered in real butter, sweet iced tea and topped off with something like banana pudding. All in all, a feast of comfort food and a reasonable explanation for the short life span of many southern men.
It is only fair to point out that all meat and threes are not created equal. Some are genuinely reminiscent of your grandmother’s kitchen and others will remind you of your average school lunch room. I have developed an early warning system to ferret out the quality of a meat and three without actually having to test it. There are two common denominators that I have noticed in a lifetime of eating country cooking.
First, check and see if rutabagas are on the menu. If they are, you are very likely safe to try their fare. It takes a really secure establishment to offer rutabagas. Most people, even southerners, have an aversion to this tasty tuber even though most of those have never tried them. The second litmus test that I have come to trust is to be sure the cornbread is square. People who make cornbread in a muffin tin usually don’t know how to make it from scratch and use a commercial mix. Not fatal, but telling.
Recently I stumbled on a little gem of a meat and three near the Atlanta Airport and if you would like a review of The Barbecue Kitchen just click here.
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