Jon Dawson: Local church's barbecue sauce ends fight

Jon Dawson: Local church's barbecue sauce ends fight

Sleep is one of the greatest things on earth. It's free, it's healthy, and as of this writing, doesn't require a permit.

Admittedly, I'm a bit of a night owl, but I also like to get up early. Much like a hypochondriac who is scared of the doctor, someone who likes to burn the midnight oil while still leaving the house before the roosters turn over is eventually going to have to choose a side.

For the past couple of months, it's been a challenge to fall to sleep at a decent hour. No matter what I did during the day - be it run a marathon or help Neuse News Editor Bryan Hanks alphabetize his M&Ms - sleep has been elusive.

Comic Steven Wright once said he had a dream that he couldn't get to sleep and he woke up exhausted. My dream is that no one will notice I recycled that M&M joke from my inaugural column for Neuse News.

Saturday morning, I awoke to the sound of my phone alarm blaring that annoying cheerful harp music at 4 a.m. For a second, I thought one of our Tax Deductions had gotten into my phone and played a trick on me. Then I remembered I'd set the alarm so I could be at Hickory Grove United Methodist Church by 5 a.m. to help with their chicken and barbecue sale. 

Usually, I'd arrive at the cook site around 10 p.m. the night before and stay all night. When the initial flurry of activity dies down around midnight is when the stories start flowing. For one, they're great stories, and it's also a way to help chase away the drowsiness. A fair amount of the stories start off with "Don't run tell this in the paper, now", so for the time being the stories told at the cook site stay at the cook site.

As much as I like being outdoors and enjoy the camaraderie, I didn't stay all night this year due to one reason: greed. 

A client from New Jersey contacted me late Friday to ask if I could write a press release that night. I told them I appreciated their business but I was really tired after a long week. They then offered to pay double the usual rate, and suddenly I felt refreshed and jumped on it. 

Around midnight I'd knocked out the press release and sent it on its way. Around 12:40 a.m., I got a text from the client stating they were happy with the services rendered. With the client happy and me now sleepier than Rip Van Winkle after eating a bucket of chicken, I hit the hay for three hours and 20 minutes of glorious sleep.

I rarely use the alarm on my phone, so it won't surprise you to hear it took me upwards of four minutes to turn it off.

As the chirpy harp music blasted out of that phone, I was swiping that screen up and down, left to right. I must have looked like a NASCAR crew member trying to clean a windshield at Talladega. From high in the ether, I could hear Ned Jarrett calmly trying to explain what I was doing wrong.

For some reason around Minute 2, I started shaking the phone as if it were an Etch-A-Sketch. Doing this changed the music from cheerful harp music to some sort of polka/hip-hop hybrid that woke up our dog Lucille who was in a deep slumber on the porch. She was so startled she jumped from her sleep, hitting her head on the bottom of a wrought-iron chair. 

Thinking the chair had attacked her while she was sleeping, Lucille lunged at the chair and a fight ensued. I have to say Lucille held her on for a while, but eventually, the chair won the day. It took me several minutes to untangle the dog from the chair and other various pieces of patio furniture that took part in the rumble. 

Having slept for only three and a half hours, my hands, legs, and feet weren't interested in working properly at 4 a.m. I got out of bed with the intention of walking to the bathroom to brush my teeth, but when my eyes began to focus I found myself brushing my hair in the kitchen with a ladle. 

Later in the afternoon, I woke up at home. I was freshly showered and there were plates of barbecued chicken and pork in my kitchen, so I must have made it after all.

I looked out on the porch to see how Lucille was faring. She was still arguing with the wrought-iron chair, and just as I was about to step outside to calm her down she attacked the chair again. She grabbed onto the chair with her powerful jaws but couldn't make a dent in it.

In a burst of sleep-deprived inspiration, I grabbed a cup of the Hickory Grove Methodist Church barbecue sauce from the kitchen and dabbed a little bit of it on the wrought-iron chair. As of an hour ago, the chair was over half gone and the dog looked really full.

The sauce really is that good. I use it as cologne.

Contact Jon Dawson at and

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