The Barbecue at Cha-Che’s
My mother was Ara Ann Williams Champion and her mother was Ollie Rebecca King Williams. ”Miss Ollie” had a sister, Eva King Johnson, whom we called “Aunt Ever”. She was the mother of Bertha Johnson Kinnaird, known to us as “Cuddin Bertha”. Cuddin Bertha married at a very young age to Will Kinnaird whom we called “Cha-Che”.
A pig and a goat were prepared
Every Fourth of July, Cha-Che had a barbecue at his house located in Bibb County. A pig and a goat were prepared. The pig was split and wired to a frame. At the dusk on July 3th a hickory fire was built, and the pig halves were placed over the pit. A hired man stayed at the pit all night and shoveled hot coals into the pit using a rag on a stick. He rubbed his special sauce on the meat as it cooked and at intervals the halves were turned over. During the night a wash pot filled with gumbo as set to simmer over a separate fire. (The memory of how the goat was cooked has disappeared from my memory.)
Lunch was served at noon on July 4th and family, friends and Bibb County Bureaucrats all came to dine. After lunch the families and kids loaded into a wagon pulled by a case tractor and we headed down to the near by Cahaba River for a swim.
It was a dog-trot two story house
I remember Cha-Che’s house and it is still standing today. It was a dog- trot two story house and had a stacked chimney and a large fireplace. I, as a ten-year-old boy wished I could explore. The yard was full of various hound dogs of the kind of-a-sort-of-a-breed. The hounds barked mightily when visitors drove up.
My hunting buddy was one of Cha-Che’s grandsons who had red hair and his name was Billy. We liked to look at all the family’s guns, including a muzzle-loading shotgun. Billy and I had Daisy Red Ryder BB Guns and one July 4th Billy took a shot at me with his BB gun, missed and left running. I immediately reacted and took a shot at him as if shooting quail and cut him down. My mother saw this and immediately corrected my misbehavior. When my yelling slacked off, I went to check on Billy. He was down on the ground and groaning dramatically. Mother and I decided he would live, since the BB shot only left a beautiful welt on his leg. I don’t’ think Billy and I shot each other again. Now that I am an old man I can see just how dangerous playing with BB guns can be.
We played with dynamite!
I still have my BB gun and it still works. It was used by my nephew and my son when they were young, but with strict supervision. The stock has bubbles in the varnish from being left too close to Cha-Che’s fireplace on one winter visit.
Another one of our dangerous activity was playing with dynamite! One time we went to an old house on Cha-Che’s property to a storage shed used for storing dynamite and our favorite past time was playing catch with the dynamite sticks! Glad my dad didn’t find this out! Again looking back on this, I see how terrible this activity was!
Those days are gone now, but many of these events are stored as memories.
This story was submitted by Jean Butterworth and written by her brother Randal Champion
Written: September, 2005
Randal Champion retired and was a resident of Tuscaloosa County. He attended Tuscaloosa County High School and received his undergraduate education from the University of Alabama. He was employed as a high school biology teacher in Mobile and retired from the State of Alabama Medicaid Agency. He has recently passed away.
Chinaberries and Other Memories of Alabama by Jean Butterworth – See review!