Harl "DoRight" Johnson remembered his best 4th of July ever.
The custodian at the New Madrid County Courthouse for many years, DoRight had a long and colorful life in New Madrid. Even after he died at age 80 in 2001, there are many stories recalled about him. His widow, Sidney, now lives with their son Nate.
The July holiday was special for DoRight because he always barbecued a goat.
I've eaten goat one time. It is tasty.
On the year in question that DoRight remembered as the "best ever," he purchased his goat, led it home, and roped it to a tree in his side yard. In the house he went to gather what he needed to prepare the goat for the grill. When he returned, the goat was gone.
The goat had chewed the rope in half and escaped. If you've been around goats very long, you will appreciate their intelligence. This goat must have guessed what was in store when he spotted the nearby grill.
Well, DoRight figured that the goat couldn't have gone far, and he went looking for it. But, after searching a while and not finding it, he began to worry that he might not have barbecued goat on the 4th of July.
Since this was a long standing tradition, he abandoned his search and went and bought another goat.
This time, DoRight safely secured the goat to the tree. He then made fast work of preparing the second goat and getting it on the grill. He settled down in a chair to tend his barbecue and enjoy a few beers.
Seeing the smoking grill, friends began to stop by. They knew it was the 4th and that DoRight would be barbecuing goat, and they didn't want to miss out on the party and his special treat.
The "best" part came when DoRight looked up and saw that the first goat had wandered back into the yard. This time there was no escape.
"I had two barbecued goats that year, and it was the best 4th of July ever," he said with a grin that stretched ear to ear.
I bet it was.