Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Robert St. John: Home Again

 It’s great to be home. I have spent the last two months overseas. First in Spain leading a group of 25 enthusiastic Americans from the top to the bottom of that country while filming an upcoming television show. Then I spent a month or so in Tuscany leading tours for three weeks, and with a group of friends the final week. I've been home for six days. The adjustment back to Central Daylight Time in America has been easier than normal.

Typically, I spend the first week to 10 days waking up at two or three in the morning for a few days and then three or four in the morning for a few days. Eventually my internal clock adjusts, and I get back to my 5:00 AM routine. I'm not sure why, but I adjusted quickly this time, and it only took a couple of days to get back in the groove.


I love traveling in Europe and leading tours. But I love being home even more. I once had an uncle and aunt who spent a lot of time in France. They had a house in Paris and a cottage in the countryside in Normandy. Anytime they came to visit, all they could talk about was France and how great it was, and how everything over there was better than it is over here. It was obnoxious. They spoke French to each other in front of us, and I am the only one in the family who knows any French, and the only French I can speak is menu French. They were insufferable Francophiles. 


I love Italy. I love the Italian people. I love the food, I love the countryside, and I love the history. But I love my home in Mississippi more. I am a Mississippian at heart and that will never change. I will return to Italy in the fall and lead six different groups. Some will be through Rome and Amalfi and several in Tuscany. Next spring I will be leading tours in Tuscany as well as Spain, and Holland and Belgium. But I am a Mississippian traveling abroad. I have none of that loathsome desire to push Italy on other people as my aunt and uncle did with France years ago.


They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. I don't know who “they” are, but they are spot on. I am happy to be back. I love being home. I love it so much I made a list of all the things I love most about being home. These may seem like small things to some. But they are all quality-of-life components for me.


10.) Driving My Truck. Most people that know me wouldn't peg me as a truck driver. I don't hunt much, I barely fish, and I don't drive in the woods. But a truck suits my style of driving. I don't slow down for speed bumps. I run off the road often. I bump into curbs, and I drive hard, fast, and aggressive. I really could care less what I drive, if it’s comfortable, durable, and has good air conditioning and a great sound system.


9.) My Bed— Even when I didn't have any money, I always spent what I could on a good mattress. For anyone who gets eight hours sleep that ends up being a third of your life. I've always felt that a substantial investment should go into the piece of furniture you're going spend a third of your life on. I don't get eight hours of sleep a night. I'm probably in the five-to-six-hour range. But I spend money on a mattress. And I love being back home on mine.


8.) My Office— I've been in my office for the past 25 years. It doesn't have any windows and it's in a state of glorious clutter most of the time but it is my sanctuary. It where I write. It is where I develop concepts, and it is where I occasionally take a nap.


7.) Being In the Restaurants in the Early Morning— I love the solitude of an empty restaurant in the morning. I often walk around in the restaurants when no one is there. It's quiet before the prep cooks show up, and the deliveries start hitting the back door. There's still an energy in the room left over from the night before. I am a restaurant junkie at heart, and the dining rooms and kitchens are my sanctuary.


6.) My Seat at Table 19 in the Midtowner— I am a creature of habit in the morning. I sit at the same table, in the same exact seat, and do it at the same time, every morning when I am home. I don't always order the same food items, but I keep a daily rotation of five or six of the same menu choices. I have always loved breakfast joints. I love owning a breakfast joint.


5.) The People of South Mississippi— I have written often that the people in Tuscany remind me of the people in South Mississippi. They are friendly and hospitable. They love family and sharing a meal with friends and family. But there is no place on earth I would rather live than South Mississippi. I am a sixth generation South Mississippian. This is my home.


Morgan Freeman was giving an interview once and the interviewer stated, “You can live anywhere in the world. Why do you live in Mississippi?”

Freeman replied, “I live in Mississippi BECAUSE I can live anywhere in the world.” Amen Morgan.


4.) Work—My mother always asks, “When are you going to retire?” The answer is easy. Never. I do what I love to do and I earn a living doing it. Restaurants are my hobby and restaurants are my “fun.” It’s been that way for over 40 years since the first shift at the first restaurant that hired me. From that moment on, a majority of my waking hours have been workin on, developing, creating, and managing restaurants.


3.) My Family— My roots are deep here. I often think about the people who grew up here and then move away to the mountains or the beach. Sure the scenery is better, but I could never do that. My friends and family are here in this place. It wasn’t until I hit my 50s that I figured out, it’s not the material and monetary things that matter most in life. It’s the spiritual and relational things.


2.) Sharing a Family Meal— I am a blessed man. I eat lunch with my wife almost every workday. We have always had supper together as a family, but lunches are reserved for the two of us.


1.) Dinner with my Daughter—Now that my daughter has moved back to town, we will get to share the evening meal together, often. My son will be back home from working in Italy at the end of June. But, in the meantime, we’ll enjoy quality time with our firstborn. No Italian rolling countryside vistas or exotic Spanish beach could ever top that.



Deviled Eggs


1 dozen           Eggs, hard boiled, peeled and cut in half

2 tsp.               White balsamic vinegar

1 /3 cup           Mayonnaise

1 /4 cup           Sour cream

1 1 /2 tsp         Salt

2 Tbl               Yellow mustard

Pinch of white pepper

1/8 tsp             Garlic, granulated

Paprika and sweet pickled relish to garnish (optional)


Remove the yolks from the hard cooked eggs and place in a mixing bowl. Add all ingredients and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Use a pastry bag to fill the egg whites. Sprinkle with paprika and place a tiny amount of sweet pickle relish on the eggs. Makes 24 halves


Anonymous said...

We love you Robert !!

Anonymous said...

Tuscany is nice, but that is but a small region in Italy, made famous by that novel. There is so much more to see and enjoy, from the Alps to the tip of the boot, Sicily, Sardinia, Ponza, Ischia, etc.

The food and wine varies with the region. For instance in Sicily one of the main pastas is couscous, and is where cannoli originated. Who knew?

White wines are more prevalent in the north, while red wines are the main fare in the south.

Buon appetito!

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS