Sunday, June 6, 2010

Memorial Pig

On February 13th, 2010, my father-in-law Michael Courtland Bailey (a.k.a Mike Bailey) died. It was tragic, it was catastrophic. I wanted for months to write about how sad I was, and how sad we all were, but I couldn't find an appropriate medium of expressing just what I felt. There was no way for me to find an appropriate way for me to honor him as the man I knew. The blog was to be about him, not about me, certainly not about my sadness.

Yesterday we honored him through memorial, and one of his best friends roasted two 220lb pigs in his honor. You see, Mike was a born foodie. He wasn't a complicated gastronomic moleculizer with foams, froths, dusts, and trendy new frosted hairdos. Nope, he was a "Pit Man". A down home pig roasting, cole slaw makin', pancake and scrapple breakfast griddlin' fool. Knowing Mike, he was a student of any game...a renaissance man if you will. Ex-Marine, Welder, Sculptor, Saw Mill Operater, Motor Cycle Enthusiast, Tractor Puller, Hopeless Romantic, Fox Hunter, Mechanic, and relevant to the pig....A "Pit Man".

As we shared our stories via podium speeches, alligator tears, pictures, gregarious hand laden gesticulations with throw your head back laughter...the smell of the beautifully cooked pulled pork galvanized an epic event of some three hundred odd people there to celebrate a man who met no strangers.

Semantically, Mike was my step-father-in-law. However, to my heart he was my father-in-law, and more importantly my friend. And nothing says a more beautiful memorial service than a million friends showing up to tell stories, drink beer, and roast a pig in your honor...conjuring up the deceased's "pit skills" saying..."This one is for you Mike" if to say, "I only hope it is half as good as the ones you used to roast for us".

The purpose of my blog is to share food, but more importantly share the humanity and emotion tied to food because of the relevance it has to all of us. The emotions associated with food are entwined with our humanity...poor or rich. Yesterday was a profound statement reminding us all of just that. Death was celebrated with friends, tears, laugher, and drink. Most importantly however, a simple succulent multitude of pork honored our beloved Mike. And in many ways it helped heal our sorrow, reminding us of his legacy, and closed the chapter of a life he lived and loved with intense sincerity and reverence.


  1. That's beautiful! I am sorry for your loss but it really is an amazing way to remember someone special in your life.

  2. My fingers still smell like Bar-b-que

  3. I hope he is happy and content where ever he is and I'll bet he was right along side of you all when you were toasting and celebrating his life.