'Push on, push on'
May 9 2003 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

'Push on, push on' | Friday, May 9, 2003

Friday, May 9, 2003

'Push on, push on'

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

A pre-project visit for a summer mission trip in Lagrange, Ga. provided the opportunity to visit with my old friend Johnny Brown in nearby Hogansville.

I served a church in Hogansville many moons ago, and met Johnny through what I jokingly called my "hog-killing ministry."

Johnny's wife Carol had been attending our church, and I learned from her that Johnny was planning to slaughter a couple of sows for sausage one night. So, I sharpened my best knife and just showed up.

It was so cold that the porkers' blood froze before it could soak into the ground, but we managed to get the job done. It was the first time I'd ever skinned a hog, but when you're making whole-hog sausage and not curing the hams or side meat, there's little point in saving the hide.

That night led to a friendship that's now almost 30 years along.

Johnny retired from Southern Bell some years ago, and opened a barbeque restaurant in a pasture behind his house. People drive from all over on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night for "Q & Stew," ribs or steaks.

The fare is good, but Johnny is more fun than the food. He's known for spouting a collection of aphorisms like "Don't worry 'bout the mule going blind, just load the wagon!"

Or, "If that ain't so, then grits ain't groceries and the Mona Lisa is a man."

When obstacles arise, you can count on hearing him say "Push on, push on."

Johnny has faced more than his share of obstacles the past few years. He lost a kidney to cancer some time back. Since then he's had heart surgery, developed severe diabetes, and had to go on dialysis three times a week. He has no feeling in his legs or feet and has lost all but the "went to market" and the "stayed home" piggies from his left foot.

It took me a while to catch on when he first explained that he'd had surgery to amputate his "roast beef" toe.

With the faithful help of family and friends, you can still find Johnny's famous "washpot beans" on the menu every weekend, served up with bottled Cokes, a healthy dose of rustic atmosphere, and the afterglow of Johnny's famous good cheer, even when he's not well enough to preside in person.

Just watching him "push on" was well worth the trip.

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5/9/2003 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments
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