So, it's a Monday night, and I'm still worn out from a busy weekend of football, my lovely wife purging the house, a wedding on the 3rd Saturday in October of all days (365 days in a year and they pick Alabama vs. Tennessee Saturday), and smoking a pork loin on the Igor Mk. 1. I've also been feeling a certain stir and hearing a quiet call. A call to come back home.....to the BBQ competition home that is. I've been out of BBQ competitions for over a year now, and I must admit for the longest I didn't miss it at all. Heck, I didn't even want to discuss it, and I openly said words such as 'probably never again', 'why would I do that', 'I'm doing it just for fun now', 'I've got a trailer for sale.' For the longest time that was the truth. Maybe others can relate, maybe not. And then it began. Slowly and incrementally, I started to miss competitions and competing. To quote Kylo Ren from Star Wars, "There has been an awakening." Being the mental health professional that I am, I automatically assumed I had gone completely whack-a-do. Way out there and completely nuttier than squirrel poop. Who in their right mind would give up $750.00-$1,000.00 in costs, a full weekend, good sleep, and a lot of time to go and do a BBQ competition? No one, right? Well.......maybe not 'no one'. To quote Lee Corso, "Not so fast my friend!" For whatever reason, I've resurrected the craving for BBQ competitions; to be out on the road; seeing my old friends; and generally winding up in the middle of the pack. I used to refer to Grandpa's Pride BBQ as the Cleveland Browns of BBQ competitions. We weren't the best, but we weren't dead last either. So there's that. The best finish we ever had was at Porktoberque where we finished 8th overall. I got a nice clock out of that one. I do like to think some things with me have changed in the past few months. No, I didn't return an e-mail to a Nigerian prince that wanted to share with me his incredible wealth. No, I didn't hit the Powerball or lotto, and no the sales of the 12 Months of Shirtless Sexy Jeff Calendar didn't suddenly skyrocket ($14.95 + S/H order now and be just in time for Veteran's Day). I just miss it. Not all of it of course as there are some elements I could do without; however, there are the important parts. I like talking to strangers.......a habit picked up as a kid much to the dismay of my parents and my teachers from the 3rd through 8th grades. I like making new friends (real ones and not the imaginary kind), and I like to root for those folks around me. I think I forgot that part. If, and it's still an 'if', I decide to return to the rough and tumble world of BBQ competitions, I have some goals for myself. Some professional and some personal. I would like to outscore and place ahead of my old sensei Rub Bagby in at least one competition. I still think the school he puts on is a top-notch BBQ school and was good money spent wisely. I'd like to go to cook's church with Jeff P from Louisiana. I would like to add to the BBQ bucket list of maybe getting to Bentonville one day for the Nationals. If I get there, I'd love to see Wink, Bobby Lankford, Forrest, Jacob Ray and a couple of others there competing too. I can't do a lot of competitions....I accept that, but I think it isn't about quantity as much as it is about quality. Granted, if you are going for Team of the Year, you have to be a bit of a road warrior. Sadly, my job won't allow for that currently. What I can do, however, is to focus on what is important: Seeing people, spreading the good word about BBQ, being an ambassador for what we all love and enjoy, and treating where ever I may roam as a new adventure. So to quote another band that got back together, "Sky dive naked from an aeroplane......kick start my heart!" Y'all take care, and Riley says, "Hello and stop singing."