I HAVE NEVER STOOD IN LINE AT MRS. WILKES BOARDINGHOUSE!
Let me explain the significance of that statement. If you are a foodie you have probably heard of Mrs. Wilkes in Savannah, Georgia. If you’re not (or haven’t, these being one and the same in my mind) I’m about to share a thing of beauty—the best southern country cooking ever!
Mrs. Wilkes began three generations ago as a boarding house that served three meals a day. Eventually they stopped taking boarders and later dropped breakfast and supper. (In the south lunch is called dinner and the evening meal supper.) Now they are open from eleven until two, Monday through Friday and the line to get in often stretches for well over a block. A line that I have never stood in though I have eaten there several times.
Before I tell you why I have never stood in line let me tell you about the food. If you love southern cooking as much as I do you will want to make a pilgrimage.
The meal is served family style at communal tables. That means you’re sitting with people that you don’t know but don’t let that put you off, you’ll know them in a moment. On my last trip we had a group of Jewish people from New York City. They looked surprised when my host asked, “Shall we say grace?” but said “Why not?”, whereupon my host launched into a lengthy and generous prayer. On a previous trip we sat next to the Episcopalian Bishop of Alabama. I introduced my friend by his place and position in the city. More on that in a moment. But I digress. The food.
Fried chicken like momma used to make—if momma was from the south and really knew how to make friend chicken. (Mine did.) Bar-B-Que pork. Irish stew. (What?!? That’s not southern, but it is boardinghouse!) Ham. Then the sides. Mashed potatoes awash in butter, macaroni and cheese, cheese grits, cucumber salad, navy beans, okra, corn, and my personal favorite, black-eyed peas. I love black-eyed peas and that is something that they don’t make in Dayton, Ohio. Then there’s properly made biscuits, and cornbread made with white cornmeal that is a thing of beauty. Most people drink southern sweet tea but I like mine unsweetened. They do have coffee but I’ve never noticed if they have other soft drinks because in the south, especially at a place like Mrs. Wilkes, you need to drink iced tea. Dessert is Banana Pudding! It is a place where you can easily overeat—I don’t, but I do walk away pleasantly filled.
And I’ve never stood in line.
In fact, on our last trip there one of our tablemates mentioned to my friend, “I didn’t see you in line.” An astute observation. We didn’t stand in line because we went in through the kitchen. Because my friend has connections.
You may have noticed that I have not mentioned my friend’s name. That is because when I told him that I was writing about never having to stand in line at Mrs. Wilkes he asked me not to use his name. Honoring his request, he will remain nameless, because he is a friend.
It’s good to have friends that can get you in through the back door without waiting in line. You need that kind of friends. I’ve been that kind of friend to a lot of people, and more than one has been that kind of friend to me.
When you join me “Behind The Door” I’m going to tell you how he and I became friends, what makes the friendship special, and how you can build your own friendship that will help you to avoid the lines. Because I always share something practical and applicable on this side of “The Door” let me say—If you want that kind of friend you have to be that kind of friend. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
When you join me “Behind The Door” I’ll tell you how we became friends, and some stories on unusual friendships that I’ve had that have helped me to avoid some of the long lines in life. More than that, I’ll tell you how to maintain those kinds of friendships. If you have your password you can go there right now. If you don’t have your password hit the “Sowing” button and sow a seed of any amount into this ministry. The default setting is $20 but you can raise or lower that amount. Many raise it and at this writing no one is lowering. They know the value of what I’m sharing. I’ll meet you “Behind The Door.”