Thursday, May 13, 2010
Close to Nowhere
Another Holly Springs icon has passed on and once again, our town is poorer for the loss.
Ray Smithers, griller extraordinaire, passed away last week. His funeral was held Tuesday and his obituary is in this week’s paper.
And as with everyone’s obit, there’s so much left out.
Mr. Smithers was a devoted Rotarian — a Paul Harris Fellow. He worked with the city schools in food service. And he loved to cook!
Several years ago, I did a story with Ray and Ann Smithers. I was astounded when he began opening closets, cabinets, etc. and showing me cookbooks.
He had way more cookbooks than I did! Even today, I think the only person who comes close to having the same huge collection of cookbooks is Martha Ruth Leonard (who graciously shares her yummy recipes — and cookies — with us.)
More precisely, Mr. Smithers was a consumaté griller — and known thoughout this area for his beef brisket.
For many years, Mr. Smithers also “did” the Rotary bulletin. Before the age of everyone having a computer and printer in their home, he would gather the information and bring it into the office, where Barbara would type it and lay it out to print.
I substituted for Barbara sometimes and Mr. Smithers never failed to remember both of us with goodie baskets at holidays.
Mr. Smithers became one of my favorites (I have many favorites who regularly come in the office. Some, I don’t even know their names, but their faces are as familiar as family.)
But I digress — one of the many reasons Mr. Smithers was well known for his brisket was a special, secret “rub” that he mixed from a very, very secret recipe.
I’ve been purchasing “Ray’s Spices” for years, ever since being introduced to the spice. Before meeting Mr. Smithers and his spices, I used Tony Cachere’s Cajun Spice — which is good, but just not Mr. Smithers’ spice.
To my understanding, Mr. Smithers, while in the Air Force and in Texas, came up with his secret recipe. He made and sold it for many years.
I often had to get double, as when friends and family tasted, I had to send some home with them.
I’m really going to miss seeing Mr. Smithers every Wednesday, with his bright, cheerful smile and wave.
I’m going to miss his spice also. I’ve only got half a jar left...
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