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Chitlins

Over forty years ago, during a construction project in downtown Atlanta, I met one of the most unique and colorful individuals I’ve ever known. He was a retired Atlanta Police Officer named Sarge, who was hired to take care of two inherent problems when working in downtown Atlanta — traffic and security.

Since Atlanta in those days didn’t offer many restaurants with inexpensive lunch cuisine, the working man usually depended on a brown bag lunch. One day, as we were eating and people watching (which most workers do on a downtown job), Sarge offered me some of his fried chitlins. I almost said, “No thank you,” but a spirit of adventure kicked in and I reluctantly accepted his offer.

Now, folks, I had heard about chitlins all my life, but the very thought of eating pig innards turned me off — however, to my surprise, those things were very good. Sarge also gave me a wise old saying: “Eating chitlins will give you guts.”

Just recently, after making a fresh batch of “Clyde Harbin’s Special Recipe” barbecue sauce, I thought about Sarge and his chitlins. I was trying to think of something unique that I could enjoy them with. Then I suddenly remembered Sarge’s chitlins and I said to myself, “Gosh, if eating chitlins will give you guts — then a mess of those critters with my daddy’s barbecue sauce will have to give you “raw courage”….

(e-mail: [email protected])

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