I just returned from my trip to the South. I grew up there (Nashville and Tuscaloosa, Alabama) and my dad still lives in Tuscaloosa, so I get to “go back home” once in a while. One of the highlights of my trip, as always, is eating at the meat and threes. For all you Yankees who don’t know what that means, it refers to the southern restaurant tradition where you choose one meat from the list (fried catfish is one of the popular “meats”), with three vegetables of the variety that are cooked in plenty of bacon fat, or fried in lard. Nothing better than a plate full of turnip greens, fried okra, and field peas, topped with a piece of cornbread. That with a glass of sweet tea at the City Cafe in Northport is as good as it gets, trust me. And I am a gourmet cook. We were a bit confused when we ordered the meat and three and the waitress, who looked and sounded like a truck driver, insisted we order one more vegetable. We were too scared of her to ask why, and obediently chose the fourth. In our estimation, that brought it to meat and four, but who’s counting when it comes to down home southern cookin? In fact, that much food comes on two plates, not one. I’m still full.
While visiting my dad, he insisted that I go through copious amounts of old family photos and take any that I wanted. He is dying, and wants to begin distributing his belongings. (Not really–he’s a raging hypochondriac in perfect health, but we humor him by doing things like taking the family photos. BTW–this is a test to see if you are reading us Dad.) I came across this photo of me in my early days as an artist. That there is true dedication to coloring. I still occasionally fall asleep while I am working, but now it is with a paint brush in my hand, and when I wake up there is a still life across my face.