It’s all about the people

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Tex Robert of the Kentucky Smokehouse rib team works the sauce into a rack of ribs on the grill during Chatham’s Rib Fest on the weekend.
Tex Robert of the Kentucky Smokehouse rib team works the sauce into a rack of ribs on the grill during Chatham’s Rib Fest on the weekend.

One of the awesome elements of my job is the different people I meet. Take Tex Robert Jr. for example.

I slipped over to Chatham Rib Fest Friday to take a few photos. When I got out of the truck after parking at the Cultural Centre, my nose came under assault. Five rib stands smoking up rack after rack of ribs, and all the smoke drifting out of the park and across the parking lot where I was.

Pure sensory heaven.

I slid between two of the stands and turned to see who or what would catch my eye.

It was a who, and it was a large man from Louisville, Kentucky – Tex Robert Jr. – taking care of rib business for the Kentucky Smokehouse.

The frontman had three racks of ribs going, and his efforts drew the interest of passersby, for sure.

As we chatted, I learned he was a proud grandfather – “grandpappy” in his words – and he loved coming to Canada, particularly Chatham. The U.S. Marine Corps veteran said he enjoys the people in our community.

And he knows his ribbing. I took home a sample pack of ribs and everyone in the office gave a rib-saucy smile and a thumbs up.

Those ribs go in the smoker for 4.5 hours before getting placed in a hotbox prior to winding up on the grill.

Tex said he waits until he sees the meat start to sizzle and then slathers on the sauce in a circular pattern to work it into the meat better (yes, I took mental notes for the next time I’m doing ribs at home).

After we chatted, I received a firm handshake and a head nod, one big fella to the other.

Speaking of people, I had the pleasure of attending the Asian-Canadian Cultural Association’s picnic on the weekend in Kingston Park. I’m not sure you could meet a friendlier group of folks, or ones any prouder to live in Canada.

After chatting with several, and taking photos, I could not leave without trying a plate of various cultural dishes.

Spicy? Yes. But nothing over the top. And talk about flavour!

I thank the group for the hospitality and the tasty sampling.

As I looked around Kingston Park, it was cool to see how busy it was on Saturday. The Lupus walk had taken place there earlier in the day, but while I was there, members of Theatre Kent held a picnic in one pavilion, a large family birthday party was taking place in another, right beside the Asian-Canadian gathering. That’s hundreds of people, not to mention the families just there to enjoy the splash pad or the walking trails, and it was still no problem to get a parking spot.

I realize the price tag on revamping that park was steeper than initially budgeted, but it really is a great spot in our municipality.

Drive-thru faux pas

I don’t always barbecue, especially for a late lunch mid-week. But maybe I should. Other alternatives aren’t always a simple affair.

Silly drive-thru moment: As I was next in line at a drive-thru in town recently for a late lunch – one of the drive-thrus with two lanes – I laughed at the guy in front of me. He leaned out of his truck, took off his sunglasses and placed his order.

Who does that?

And then I promptly one-upped him.

I pulled up to the window and waited until someone faintly said, “Can I take your order?,” and then gave my order. A loud voice came over the speaker repeating part of the order. It wasn’t the same woman who I had initially heard.

At that moment, I realized I had responded to an order request from the staffer servicing the car beside me.

Who does that?

Me, apparently. Ooops.

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