Athens, GA – The Great “Classic City” Bar-B-Q Festival


Karen, Paul, Rebecca, Amanda, Ken, Mike “Big Dawg” Woods, Kay, Ben and Matt

Major Q’s Barbeque Team Comes to Athens.

There is always something going on in Athens but if you have stumbled head first past your seventh decade, it takes something really special to make you push up out of that broken-down old easy chair, try to clean up your head and face and step out the door to go downtown.

It was the Classic City Bar-B-Que Festival calling us and it was hosted by the fine folks at the Classic Center who along with many Athenians are always looking for a way to raise money for charity. I have never seen so many people so willing to give their money to a noble cause and it just makes living in Athens that much more fun.

We were graciously invited by Major Q’s Bar-B-Q team to come out Friday evening and we not only got to watch them set up for Saturday’s Bar-B-Q competion but we were invited to eat supper with them.

Major Q is Ken Holland, Major, USAF (Ret.) and he is one of the most, “In Charge” kind of guys I have ever met. Since he and his lovely wife, Karen, were so blessed with two very bright and beautiful daughters it only makes good sense that his Bar-B-Q team stalwarts consist of himself and a bevy of beautiful women. The pretty and intelligent daughters are Rebecca and Amanda.

Their back-ups are Matthew Wosotowsky who so capably won the hand of Ken and Karen’s youngest daughter, Amanda, in marriage a few years back and my son (Katy Mae actually had the most to do with him being, “My Son”) Paul who is Matthew’s good friend.

I still have a childlike fascination with gadgetry and Ken Holland had enough strange apparati (my word for apparatus) to keep somebody like me confused, confounded and puzzled for months.

All those cookers, smokers and grills could keep a pyromaniac happy for weeks. This was the first annual Barbeque Festival for Athens but if this is any indication of great things to come, there will be great things to come.

The facilities are excellent for such a festival. Major Ken had his truck drawn up close to an area he had covered in chairs and tents and tables and coolers and food and more food. His cooker and grill are an integral part of the trailer he had behind his truck and he even had nice cots to crash and burn in once the evening grew long. He never had to take more than a dozen steps to get his hands on the food, the drink and, once in a while, the utensils.

I, being the senior citizen, am the only one who came near to crashing and burning. Isn’t it inspiring to watch young people work and not get tired? One of the best parts was the nice bathroom facilities inside the Classic Center. I am getting old and bathroom facilities within limping distance are wonderful.

Major Ken had the girls working in such sisterly synchronism I was amazed. I had never seen sisters work that hard while being that close together without trying to kill each other. They never even raised their voices. They worked quietly (I know that’s hard to believe) and efficiently and their daddy worked in the same orderly fashion. He never raised his voice but he had the remarkable ability to hear practically everything that was going on around him.

I learned a few new things but I can’t share it all or he would have to kill me. There are many secrets in the barbeque festival competition and one team may be constantly trying to learn the other team’s secrets. They even have a name for this surreptitious eavesdropping. It’s called shigging. They innocently come around your cook site and try to learn all about your sauce secrets. It has to be done in a sneaky manner. They can’t just outright ask you. It has to be shady shigging.

I also did not know that you can take one of those machines that people use to package and seal food when they intend to freeze it and you can seal precooked meat in a marinade inside until you have let it marinate to your satisfaction and you’re ready to cook it. It makes good sense so that’s probably why I never thought of it.

This particular competition was sanctioned by The Kansas City Barbecue Society and your entries had to include chicken, brisket, ribs and pork butt. I understand the KSBS prefers an entry have a sweet taste so that’s what the Major Q Team was looking for and as far as I am concerned they found it right out there behind the Classic Center where Major Ken had his wagons circled.

One of the evening’s highlights was a visit from Mike “The Big Dawg” Woods. We had pictures made with him and he helped us call the Dawgs until we got it right.

Katie Mae and I had the best time we have had in a while. I didn’t stop eating the entire five or six hours I was there. When I was about to bust from the chicken wings in two different sauces and the chicken thighs stuffed with a spinach and cream cheese concoction, Major Ken broke out the really serious meat. He had a beef tenderloin so good I kept both hands on my plate the best I could because I was aware Paul and Matthew were in close proximity to my chair and they were like young wolves leering at my steak.

In a true team effort the Major Q Bar-B-Q team helped me get up from my chair and I managed to lumber to the car with Katie Mae towing me. I made my way home with the sweet girl of my dreams with a lingering thought that the best part of the evening was getting to share the Holland recipe for keeping a cool head and a civil tongue in that head to insure you stay cool.

They have a short phrase that goes like this. “Tone and Tude.” I’m not sure if they first coined the phrase or not but I’m giving them credit for it.

What it boils down to is (or how I interpret it) you always stay aware of the tone of voice you use and the attitude you are projecting when addressing others. You will find that things will always go much easier for you and those around you if you watch your “Tone and Tude!”

It reminds me of something a fellow said many years ago to a group of us in a meeting. He said, “There would be a lot less offense given if there were a lot less offense taken.”