David and I don’t have a regular date night. We enjoy each other’s company enough that watching a movie on our 47” television with a bag of microwaved popcorn seems like a date. But thanks to David’s growing reputation as a chili cook-off judge, we had a special date night last Friday in Quitman, another small East Texas town about 25 miles from Emory.
A couple of weeks ago, David got an urgent call from a friend in Quitman. They went to school together in Jonesboro, Louisiana, and the tale of how they reconnected after all these years is a tribute to coincidence, but that’s another story. For now, she was in a bind and needed help. She was coordinating a chili cook-off to benefit the Special Olympics, and one of her judges had pulled out for medical reasons. She needed someone from a county other than hers and preferably someone with a little bit of experience. Lured by the chance to expand his resume and by all the free chili he could eat, David said yes, and I went along to watch the show. I didn’t take my camera, and my phone didn’t have enough of a charge to take a lot of pictures, but I took enough to show you that people in Quitman know how to have fun.
There were 19 entries, and they were judged not only on their chili but also on booth set-up, costumes, and showmanship. There were entries by local businesses, clubs, and even the police and fire departments. David was one of the booth judges.
A local performer entertained us with hits from the 50s and 60s, and folks from the Community Theater got into the swing.
The Sportsman’s Club served their chili from Madam Laveau’s Voodoo Café…
and this is Madam Laveau and one of her lackeys.
One of my favorite booths was the one set up by the Quitman Red Hat Ladies who call themselves the Downtown Divas.
We met some new friends and ran into a few old ones. We had lots of chili, and helped raise money for a good cause. It was definitely a date night to remember.