“A Pig Roast”…the words bounced around in my head and there were thoughts of a Hawaiian Luau themed party. In my mind were beautiful young ladies in grass skirts and coconut bra-type tops swinging their hips rapidly to the sound of hands pounding on drums and ukuleles sweetly holding them to a rhythm as voices chant a story of Polynesian warriors returning from the sea.
“Hold on Juanita, this is a Pig Roast in Selma, Alabama”…(the little voice in my head jerked me back to reality abruptly).
My son Eric Erdman (a musician) and I were headed towards an unknown adventure. Neither of us had any idea what to expect. The person who booked him for this show gave no real details that guided our minds..all we knew was it was “A Pig Roast” in Selma, Alabama. It had been on his calendar for months and each time I checked the calendar I paused as I read, “Pig Roast”.
Headed north on Highway 43, I remembered the trips I had taken on this same road as a child when we went to Winfield, Alabama to see my maternal grandparents and other relatives in the area. Such happy memories filled my head as I drove and immediately I could see that most of the area along this highway had changed. The little country road now becomes a four-lane highway for great lengths of the way.
Once we got off the main highway, we would lose connection on our GPS and hold our breath in hopes of it returning so that we could get to the Spencer Farm in plenty of time for this event. The Gods were with us and GPS popped on, guiding us down long one lane roads for many miles. We even passed a sign that warned “ROUGH ROAD”. This was something we had not seen before and oddly enough, the miles just passed the sign were the smoothest.
While on the one lane road we passed bee-hives, farm animals of all kinds; we even observed at least one peacock along the way! I just knew at this point we were headed towards FUN.
Once we arrived at our destination, there was relief. Everything was set up fabulously on part of this huge farm owned by the Spencer Family. There was an enormous campfire type area that was surrounded by huge stones in a circle. There was a massive lake that looked so peaceful and sported a nice wharf to walk on and get a closer look. There was a 25 foot work of art that had the influence of American Indian Culture and at the top, it said “Welcome to Shangri-La!”
Spencer Farm CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) is family operated and they produce vegetables, meat, eggs and honey completely free of synthetic chemicals.
One of the largest tented areas I have seen contained many tables that bore beautiful white linen tablecloths and centerpieces of wildflowers in wonderful vases. Each place setting included real china and silver utensils (unusual out in the yard like this, I thought); each had a program with a menu inside and a beautiful napkin that included similar printing to the menus. This program explained that everything we would eat was grown on the farm(chemical-free). A 30 foot bar with waiters and bartenders all in matching tops, greeted us with smiles. They offered a huge array of liquors from beers to wines to mixed concoctions of your choice. Plus there was even a lemonade that included beet juice and rum. Eric tried that one (he asked me to taste it and see what I thought). I tried it but I will stick to my diet coke.
It was my first time to eat okra fritters with a sauce of maple syrup and thai sauce. (That was oddly delicious!) The grits with goat cheese was my favorite, followed closely by the muscadine tart with a dollop of homemade whip cream. Of course there was a roasted pig and it was
The guests who came, paid $100 a plate and were proud to support such a cause.
Hundreds of people were there and I knew none of them. Most looked very upscale and were nicely dressed, also they were warm and welcoming. I learned that Chip Spencer (the owner) is a person who is constantly looking for ways to help his community. He is a sponsor of the community garden in downtown Selma and this was a fund raiser to help with that project. This was the third annual Pig Roast for the garden project.
I met people who live on the farm who were displaced from the Louisiana flooding. They had lost everything and Mr. Spencer heard their stories and invited them to stay and be a part of his program. He also has a joint program with the local community college here and they offer a popular internship to the students for real experience and education on Spencer farm.
Night had come upon us, the keynote speaker had finally completed his talk (my personal opinion of his speech---it was WAY too long)…but he was done and everyone walked down closer to the lake and the firepit to take their places for the entertainment.
Mr. Spencer is also a musician. He had his upright base and his guitar at the ready when the music part of the evening commenced. His 16 year old daughter (he introduced her as VK), played the violin like a pro and her singing voice was fabulous. It did not hurt that she is also gorgeous. In addition to them, there were three other musicians from different parts of Alabama, including my son.
The show did not include hula girls, nor ukuleles, nor hands slapping drums, there were no stories of Polynesian warriors returning; but it was still an inspirational story.
I saw beautiful sights, I ate good food, I met wonderful, caring people who were helping other people. The people of Selma, through Spencer Farm CSA support one another; and support people who are in need throughout the south (i.e. flood victims from Louisiana). I am impressed at the outreach and their reach up for help and reach down to give it where it is needed. Thank you to the Spencer family and the community they represent.
Humanity took a front seat in Selma, Alabama and I was honored to be along for the ride!