One of the things I’ve liked most about this book tour, are the in between moments. The things I’ve done on the way to the book events.

The night before the delta dove hunt is one of my favorite nights of the year. It is full of food, and laughter, and guitar blues, and whiskey, and food, and cigars, and food.

It is full of ribs soaked in apple juice and smoked until rendered a caramelized crust.

Full of hands slick with rib grease.

Piled high and dripping in BBQ sauce.

This is the secret.

This is the other juice.

And it is full of the silhouette of men carrying meat.

And glossy crisped vegetable skewers.

And 25 chickens, rotating and oozing, and bewitched to a dark gold.

Chicken so tender, well…

Can you taste it?

It is full of a counter scattered with platters of many sizes, all calling my name. Many times over. And I keep going back.

And a bundt cake dripping with sticky white icing.

And baked beans as sweet as candy and musty as hickory smoke.

And people, so many warm people.

Talking about so many things in all corners of the place.

And very nice mantle displays.

And these. Crawfish corn muffins, brought from the New Orleans crew who drove up for the party.

And my very wise host, who never fails to impart deep life wisdom that haunts you for a long time after.

And clever things…

For what would a dove hunt be without dove cookies?

And squirrels for good measure.

Fun and friends and lots of food. And whiskey. And very old Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

And green antique lawn furniture.

The man of the house is going through an antique outdoor furniture phase. I like it.

And these hound dogs with their slobbery goo. Remember them from last year?

And guitar blues.

And lyrics made up on the spot. Poetic too.

It’s the kind of night that always lingers in your mind after you leave. The kind that seems to happen in this place more often than not.

Which always makes me miss it.

What’s your favorite night of the year?