Saturday, February 10, 2007

Pulled Pork Heaven

George & Charles - The day was off to a rousing start since I decided to head to the Bikram studio for an 8AM class. Little did I know that this early Saturday workout was going to come into play later in the day. My gastrointestinal system was about to take a delicious hit.

The first two interviews at the Waterford went great, George Walker and Charles Berndt, both set up with Liz's help, of course. George is 97 and the advance word on him was that he adored the game of golf, having played it from early childhood. That love was certainly evident as we sat for a half hour and he told me stories of how he knew and played with Byron Nelson.

While waiting for Charles to come by the room, I sat and read on a lobby couch, then saw Charles’ walking slowly down the hall toward me sporting a red and gray Texas sweatshirt, smiling, of course.

“I know who you are?” I smiled back at him. “Is your name Rocky?”

"You saw that?" he said, his eyes lighting up about eight levels.

Explanation: Yesterday, Liz showed me a special promotional poster, something to do with the opening of the latest "Rocky" movie. Some local radio folks came to the Waterford and shot a photo of Charles, complete in boxing gear, mimicking the look of the real "Rocky" poster with Sylvester Stallone. It was a cute idea and Charles looks terrific on the poster. If I can get a hold of a copy, I want to post it on here so you can see it.

[NOTE: A word about the Eldercation interviews. You'll notice I'm not going into too much depth in this, the "Blog" section of the site. To read about the seniors I'm meeting while on road, simply click on the links I'll provide in the posts or just go to and click on "Tapping The Resource." ]

After I packed up my gear and chatted with some folks by the door, I ran into Charles' daughter, Judy, who wanted to know how the interview went. I told her what a great smile her dad. "I know. Charley Brown smile," Judy agreed. "His eyes are so warm and when that smile breaks out, the grin is from ear-to-ear." Charles had a stroke a few years back and, from what Judy told me, he shouldn't even be here, it was that bad. But the fact is, he is here and he was able to share some special thoughts with me about his life as a dad; a role he never expected to play in his lifetime and a role that became very special for him.

I had a chance to show Judy a portion of his video and she started to cry while watching it; tears of joy, trust me. My eyes welled up while holding the camera so Judy could watch. Charles' story is a good one, so please take a look at his interview excerpt when I post it.

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Pulled Pork Heaven - After finishing up the two interviews, I had a chance to hang out in the lobby a bit with Liz, Judy and her husband, which gave me a chance to ask the three of them for recommendations for some real Texas barbecue.

Liz reacted immediately. Judy chimed right in behind Liz.

“Shelby’s” – right down the road.

I'd heard about Sonny Bryan’s, Anderson’s, Marshall’s and Dickey’s but “Shelby’s”? That wasn't on any list of mine.

“You wouldn’t have heard about it, necessarily. It’s this woman, Shelby, who has a small truck where she sells barbecue from, right off the road. She's only there on weekends and … only until she sells out. You have to have this, Harry! It’s right out here to the right and then down the road only about a mile or so on Town East just before the Belt Line." Judy said she and her husband would probably be right behind me.

Well, it didn't take me 48 seconds to find it and, as I took the turn off the road, four cars drove up just in front of me. The competitive eater in me came alive, as I pictured the last of the pulled pork being snagged my someone in one of those four cars. But, I’d made it on time. I walked up to the truck and introduced myself to a short-haired brunette woman in the window who was being helped by a young girl, perhaps her daughter? That older woman was Shelby and I told her Liz and the residents from The Waterford had suggested, no … they ordered me to come down and get something to eat.

One pulled pork sandwich, one red hot and some beans - that was my order, which, as it turned out was way too much to eat for me. (Those of you who really know me - can you believe I just said that?) It’s not that it wasn’t good. It really was the best barbecue I have ever tasted; I almost got into a Texas-sized accident when I took my first bite. But, now get this. I didn’t put it together until that first bite hit my taste buds. This is Shelby’s barbecue in Mesquite, Texas, and the smokiness, as delicious as it was, really started to work its magic on the drive back up to Las Colinas. It's now eight hours later and it's still going strong, and this is after downing four bottles of seltzer. Now don't get me wrong, there will be a return engagement at Shelby's, but I will order smarter and smaller next time.

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