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Smoke School Stories
Larry the Real Cable Guy and the Elephant Legs- August 16, 2009
Perhaps one of the finest most humble people I have ever knew during my 60 + years on this earth is our black laborer and yard man whom we call Larry the Real Cable Guy whom was born on a cotton field near Talladega Alabama some 63 years ago. Click your little mouse right here to learn more about Larry. Many times whenever Social Security will allow him, we take Uncle Larry on smoke school road trips with us. Whitlow Smoke School is known all over this great United States for our fine customer service. I have to admit that Larry the Cable Guy is one of the chief reasons why. He is the one making the fresh coffee and setting up the meals. He sees that the sodas and water are iced down. Well, it is true we have other fine members of our staff both in the Louisiana crew and the Indiana crew and they are all important to the team, but this story is about Larry. Larry brings me fresh cups of coffee and ice cold water while I am conducting the school. I have seen him bring yawl cups as well, if you ask. No matter who does the actual cooking, Larry gets all of the complements. I have overheard many of his cell phone conversations and conversations he has with yawl at smoke school. I have always heard words like we love you, we need you, and we appreciate you, we appreciate you so much. These are coming from his mouth, I never instructed him on how to demonstrate customer service- it just comes natural for Larry. I wish I had more of these words in me.
We just got back from a two week road trip through the lovely state of Florida that was a combination business trip and vacation. We did have a quick one day smoke school in Orlando where we trained 10 of yawl. Thank yawl all for coming that just about covered the expenses for the vacation. I think we may do this every summer. During the winter I think I will let Dave and the Indiana crew do it so they can be snow birds and escape the snow and ice. I never liked the feel of a snow shovel. Down here in Dixie we use them to as pooper scoopers.
We took Larry on the road trip with Angie our son Aaron- age 13, Aaron’s friend we call Billy Bob because I am old and senile and can’t remember his name- also age 13, and me- age 45 and holding. Larry was born and raised in Alabama and has never been to Florida, so this is the reason I chose him. That and many times, I have heard Aaron say that Larry is his bestest friend. Many times Larry babysits while Angie and I do road trips. Larry and Aaron love to watch wrestling together and have been to a match or two.
During the vacation we went to Disney World, Epcot, and Sea World in the Orlando area. We also visited St. Augustine, the oldest town in America. The Spanish established St Augustine 55 years before the Pilgrims set foot on Plymouth Rock. My favorite part of the vacation was an old little known tourist destination in Florida, Silver Springs. The Lost River in Silver Springs is born from underground artesian wells. The river just appears there from out of nowhere, and is 99% pure, and stays a constant 72 degrees year round. The visibility is more than 100 feet under water. The water is so blue and clear. The river bottom is covered in limestone that shines like diamonds. We took several glass bottom boat tours down the rivers and streams and saw many species of fish, turtles, wildlife, and alligators. We saw 2 does and 2 huge 10 point bucks feeding in the edge of the wildlife area in an old Seminole Indian village. This is near the place where Osceola cried hell no we want go to Oklahoma in the trail of tears.
Because of the visibility in the clear water, several television and movie productions were filmed in Silver Springs including one of my favorite childhood television movie series starring a 5 time swimming Olympic gold medal winner named Johnny Weissmuller ”Me Tarzan, you Jane.” The television series Sea Hunt staring Lloyd Bridges was also filmed in Silver Springs. Silver Springs was also the location for the movie The Legend of Boggy Creek.
One of the things I appreciate the most about Uncle Larry is his open gratefulness for anything that I do for him. Over and over I heard him say this is so beautiful, this is so historical, or I have seen some things that I ain’t never seen before. Sometimes I get more entertainment looking at his facial expressions and body language than from the sightseeing. I have certainly learned a lot from is humbleness.
Most of yawls are aware that I tell a few good stories at smoke school. Well I reckon that some of me has done rubbed off on Larry. The smoke machine and the smoke school signs on our trucks draw a lot of attention. Both in Milwaukee and here in West Monroe, the police have seen our signs and accused us of running a marijuana smoking school. We get a thousand questions at every truck stop in America. Not that many people need smoke school or have ever heard about it. I get tired of trying to explain the Environmental Protection Agency, air pollution, and visible emissions training so I just make up stories about working for the circus and shooting monkeys out of cannons, or chicken shooting cannons. I once told a fellow in Ville Platte that I worked for Lucifer and made Fire and Brimstone- He believed me. Most people down here in Dixie think we are pulling a giant smoker cooker. The most important social functions including weddings, funerals, football, and smoke school involve eating.
I reckon some of me done rubbed off on Larry. The truck stop conversation between Larry and the curious went like this:
Curious- “What is that contraption you are pulling?”
Larry- “A smoker.”
“What do you smoke?”
“Where do you get these elephant legs?”
“How long do you smoke them?”
“Right we cook them a long time until the meat gets tender and falls off the bone.”
“What do they taste like- these elephant legs”
“Got any samples?”
Larry reaches into the truck and pulls out a leftover chicken gizzard and says, “Here try this.”
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