Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Heavy D and Fat Robbie visit Ronny

Last weekend saw my final two days of liberty in CONUS (military speak for Continental United States) and two very good friends traveled to Columbia, SC to see me … and eat a few pounds of barbecue: Dave McDonough traveled from Philadelphia and Rob Perkins from D.C.

Dave (a.k.a. Heavy D) is principal at Mastery Charter School in Philly and married to another friend of mine, Mary Ann. We all met during our time in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. Dave and Mary Ann swear they never dated as Jesuit volunteers even though they lived together in the same community. I’m not sure I believe that, but I do know this about Dave: The man can grow a full beard in approximately six hours, and if HE went to Afghanistan the respect and admiration for his facial hair alone would likely have him as a tribal leader within two weeks and nationally elected official in three months.

Fat Robbie (a.k.a. Dr. Robert Perkins) is a nephrologist at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He and his wife, Trish, met when we were at Bryn Mawr College in the Post-Baccalaureate Premedical Program. Rob is lucky that Trish began their relationship by accosting him one night on her sister’s sofa, as she is primarily responsible for his admission to the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Trish went to Pitt for an “interview” that turned into a recruiting session as the school desperately wanted her as a student. When she informed the interviewer that her fiancĂ©, Robert Perkins, would also have to be admitted for her to consider Pitt, the medical school admissions staff went into a state of panic as it rifled furiously through the stack of applications awaiting rejection letters until it found the paperwork for Rob.

A brief note on Columbia, SC: The city has it charms. Unfortunately, the Confederate Memorial with the Stars and Bars flying in front of the statehouse was not one of them. We also could not justify patronizing one of the most famous barbecue establishments in town as the owner, Maurice, is a notorious Confederate apologist who has caused so much controversy that Walmart will not carry his sauces. We were able to find excellent alternative barbecue establishments, thankfully, and feasted on the mustard-based sauce that is unique to this area and quite nice on pulled pork. We also marveled at the number of streets, highways, buildings, squares, parks, parking garages and gas stations named for the late Senator Strom Thurmond, a man who first won a South Carolina Senate seat as a member of the State’s Rights Party (a title that sounded better than the party mantra: More Power to White People) and then proceeded to stay on Capitol Hill for something like 100+ years. No kidding, we saw a local news report from the Strom Thurmond Wellness Center? The man’s idea of exercise was running black people out of his neighborhood.


Helena said...

Safe travels - we look forward to hearing all about it!!!

Fat Robbie said...

Thanks for the great hospitality at Ft Jackson, Ronny. Great times all around. I won't soon forget the tutorials on low-country cuisine as well as tales and dreams of the still-imaginary "Talibar." Heavy D and I want in on the ground floor on that deal. Keep your head down and your spirits up. We're with you all the way.