Tastes Like Home Cookin’

The ribs were excellent, and the sailing was mighty fine, too.

To many Clevelanders, Memorial Day means one thing: ribs. For years, the Great American Rib Cook Off took place on the grounds of Burke Lakefront Airport, near the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. My claim to fame is performing at the jean-shorts-optional affair with my high-school band in 1999. The promoters left a sampling of award-winning ribs in the performers’ trailer, and our guitarist couldn’t resist trying every variety before we took the stage. After a quick pause following the first song to fetch a pack of wet wipes, the show went smoothly.

We were looking forward to moving in on those ribs after the set, but when we walked into the trailer, we were appalled to see the road-hardened wives and girlfriends of the headlining act, the Charlie Daniels Band, finishing off the remains of the smorgasbord. There was one cold slab in a styrofoam box at the end of the table, but I certainly didn’t have the cahones to reach for it, and neither did my bandmates.

The Rib Cook Off has since changed venues, and I haven’t returned. But the Charlie Daniels Band didn’t scare me off ribs completely; this past Memorial Day I saw fit to gnaw a few bones on two separate occasions.


It was a picture perfect weekend for barbeque, and the sailing wasn’t half bad, either. I sailed all three days aboard Robert Wilber’s IMX 38 Mister Ed. The friends-and-family crew includes Robert’s wife, Regina, sons, Rob and Tim, niece Liz, and a variety of friends, including me. There were about a dozen 30-some-footers racing PHRF in the opening weekend of the Cleveland Yachting Club’s summer series, and we enjoyed three days of steady southwest breeze, making for benign, flatwater conditions off the south shore of Lake Erie.

There’s nothing more relaxing than sailing from home—waking up at a leisurely hour, taking a right turn out of your driveway and slinking down to the club, leaving the lines and fenders at the dock, and motoring out to a familiar course. I’ve done a little bit of sailing in a lot of different places in the last few years, but this past weekend was the first time in a long time that I raced at home. And it felt like home. Mr. Ed coasted to a 1-1-2 scoreline, and we were back at the dock each day by noon, with plenty of time to tend the slow cooker or, in my case, go for another boat ride.


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