Adele Elliott: Love and smoke


Adele Elliott



We fall in love for mysterious reasons. I fell I love with my husband because he said kind things about his boss, and because my knees got weak when he hugged me. That love had nothing to do with wealth or status. It was an intuitive knowing that this man was something special. I proposed to Chris four months after we met and have never regretted one second of our marriage. 


I have that kind of love for Columbus. Like romantic love, my affection springs from things small and subtle. I love the creativity here (art and writing and music), and the barbecue, and the way all ages come together to have fun. 


All those wonderful pieces merged last weekend at "Grilling on the River." This is a combination outdoor festival and barbecue competition held on the lawn near Ruben''s. It is the conception of its innovator, Harvey Myrick. 


On Friday night, the band CatDaddys performed all those songs we never tire of hearing. They have a sound that is comfortable and polished. No easy task, I am sure. 


Saturday afternoon, "C-City" (the "C" stands for Columbus) sang familiar and original tunes between the open mic acts. 


My good friend, John, helped emcee and treated the audience to a new "nekkid" poem. This one featured Roger Larsen snapping photos for The Packet. Not to worry; these poems are all fiction, truly hilarious, nonetheless. 


Larry Priest and Joseph St. John are always everyone''s favorite duo. Both sing, and Larry has some guitar licks that would make Eric Clapton jealous.    


After the performance they came to plant kisses on the cheeks of me and my friends. 


"We can''t forget the fan club," they told us. 


"Fan club?" protested my friend, Miss Cherri Moonpie. "I want to be a groupie." 


"Me, too," I agreed. "Can groupies be married?" Chris listens to these sorts of conversations so often that all he can do is roll his eyes. He is not terribly worried. 


The air was thick with the wonderful, smoky aroma of smoldering wood. Sauces and drippings from the pork and chicken curled across the grass making us all ravenous. We shared sandwiches and sausages and funnel cakes, so much more than we would ever eat on a normal day. No one felt a bit guilty. 


Adults reclined in lawn chairs while children with snowball-stained mouths, purple and orange, bounced in giant inflatable structures. 


Even non-humans benefited from "Grilling on the River." Donations were collected for our Columbus-Lowndes Humane Society. 


Many potential pets were in attendance to observe the fun. A crate of plump black and white puppies tumbled over each other, while soft kittens stumbled into their water dishes and food. It was all too exciting to pay attention to small obstacles. 


I fell in love (as I so easily do) with a fox-like "teenage" dog. He seemed lonely, separated from the really young ones, but so obviously wishing to join their play. How could anyone resist dropping a dollar or two into the big plastic jars? 


I keep adding to my list of much-loved things. Some are obvious: my husband and "children," my city with its wonderful musicians and artists. But, now I must add Harvey Myrick, and whoever (I hope) took home that pup with the elegant, foxy snout and jaunty kerchief around his neck. 


It''s a curious thing, this concept of love. Sometimes affection is so obvious that we wear it like a bright garment for all to see. But, most of the time, love is ephemeral, like the scent of smoke and wet puppy-kisses, too soon evaporated in the spring air. 


Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina. E-mail reaches her at [email protected]  




Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina.


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