Blackman Barbecue integral part of life

Source: The Daily News Journal, July 3, 2010

Sometimes, it seems, the rat race is running faster than ever, with people working so hard to survive the recession they rarely have time to relax and talk to friends.

In its 61st year, though, the Blackman Barbecue afforded local folks a chance to gather, reflect on old times, look to the future, show off their children, talk politics or simply share a laugh. The event isn’t quite the same as it used to be after moving to Blackman Middle School from the friendly confines of Blackman Community Center. But it had little choice because the crowd outgrew the grounds.

Barbecue, beans, coleslaw and iced tea continue to be the main fare, and this year’s gathering drew its fair share of political candidates, too, each looking to gain an edge at an event guaranteed to attract a large crowd. The Cripple Creek Cloggers showed their old-time dancing skills, and a modern version of Ben Franklin attended wearing 1700s clothing while some handed out pocket-sized copies of the Constitution. That is fitting, because we believe the Constitution and Bill of Rights, in part, make gatherings such as this — including the politicking — possible for American citizens. We are free to gather, to speak, to listen and to campaign, all without worrying about government interference.

Freedom, family and friends — the Blackman Barbecue provides us a sense of community within Rutherford County and a solid place in the national community as well.