On a recent particularly crummy, rainy Friday afternoon, I made my way off the 6 train at 28th Street and Park Ave. I had a 1pm gym appointment and was ready to blast off some extra energy! It was pouring rain as I made my way across Madison Square Park. And that’s when I spotted the bar b q signs.
I had walked into the set-up of an upcoming BBQ weekend at the park. Being a southern gal, I enjoy an occasional BBQ and I’ve not found any that is even close to being as good as what you get in Arkansas. While Manhattan is full of amazing places to eat, no one has quite captured the art of really good BBQ. Or catfish, for that matter, as I recently blog about, too.
I spotted a crew setting up a tent and stopped to ask them what was going on. They told me they were setting up for the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party and that it started the next day. What unfolded next still amazes me. The conversation went something like this.
“So where are you guys from?” -me
“St. Louis” – BBQ guy
“I’m from Arkansas and I can’t get good BBQ here. I think I’ll bring my boys back tomorrow.” – me
Guy says, “where in Arkansas are you from?”
“I grew up in Carlisle.”
BBQ guy says, “I’m from Wynne but I work with these guys out of St Louis. I graduated from ASU. I know several people from Carlisle. Do you know Jill she is a pharmacist? My wife Lean was the made of honor in her wedding!!
I say, “Know her? She is my first cousin. So you are married to Lean?”
BBQ guy says, “Yes, I’m Kelly Dallas.”
“Well I’m DJ Cunningham- Duckworth.”
He says, “DJ from KAIT-TV?”
“Yes, that’s me!”
Then other guy walks up, introduces himself, says he’s from Jonesboro and asks me if know Brian Duckworth.
At this point, I begin to think I’m being punked or something! I say, “Seriously? Brian is my brother in law.”
Kelly and I look at each other like we can’t really believe what is happening. He calls his wife Lean back in Arkansas and tells her the story. She and I chat and catch up on life in a matter of minutes. I text Jill with the details of the sidewalk BBQ mash up all from under a big white tent on a sidewalk in Manhattan. We all start connecting dots. And firing off questions to each other. When did you move to NYC? Why are you cooking BBQ in New York City? And on and on and on.
I walked away with my crappy mood a thing of the past…shaking my head.
Weird how I just walked up to Kelly – who I’d spent a little time with about 20 years ago in a Baptist church in Carlisle at my cousins wedding – asked him a simple question only to realize we knew each other from a previous point in time many years ago.
This exchange still makes me shake my head. It is a small world after all.
You can keep up with DJ’s adventure in the Big Apple by following her on twitter @mrsdjduckworth and on her Facebook page I Am DJ Duckworth. Find out more at www.iamdjduckworth.com DJ is a contributing writer for New York Family magazine and Feast It Forward. She lives in Manhattan with her two boys and the world’s most amazing wiener dog, Leo – woof, woof.
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