Smorgasbord Letters from America – March 1986 – Road Trip Atlanta-Houston and BBQ Cookout by Sally Cronin

When I was given the folder of my handwritten letters to my parents when my father died in 1996, I was amazed that he had kept them for ten years. But so pleased that he did. We tend to remember the major events, and we had plenty of amazing experiences in those two years of living in the United States, but it is easy to forget the everyday…

By the pool Monday 10th March 1986

Dear M & D

It is a cloudy day but 65 degrees so I decided to write you letter by the pool instead of in the apartment. Sorry to hear you have had the flu Mollie, and hope it is much better by the time you read this.

We set off from Atlanta at 11 a.m last Monday and were intending to stop at Pensacola in Florida that night and then again in Mississippi on Tuesday night. However, you know what it is like!!! We felt quite fresh, and decided to push on and stop when we got tired, and at 3.30a.m we arrived back in Houston! 780 miles which is not bad. We took it in turns driving, 2 hours on and 2 hours off and stopped each time for a break and either a coffee or something to eat and it worked well.

We have spent the rest of the week recovering and getting sorted after nearly ten days away, and thankfully David has not had to travel.


This weekend was spent at our first BBQ cookout. We went up to Debbie on Friday night to Conroe where 80 teams were competing with their sides of beef and secret recipes.The smell was amazing and all thoughts of being good flew out the window. Impossible to try everyone’s BBQ but we learnt from our friends that the pits with the longest queues where well known for the quality of their meat.. and some of those sauces were hot, hot….

We met some really great people including some real cowboys who were fascinated by our accents. Eventually I was forced to give a rendition of Molly Malone to the owners of one of the BBQ stands, although I think they lost a few people out of their queue!


That evening.. with very full stomachs, we sat around a campfire and drank wine, comparing notes and enjoying the music.. In good country style, guitars were dug out of the campers and there were some great musicians and we enjoyed a good singalong. I have discovered I like country music since we arrived here and hearing it in an authentic setting does make a difference.

Yesterday we went back at midday and sat in the sun, but it was very windy  with dust blowing around all the time and I spent most of the day sneezing. When we got back to Houston late afternoon, Debbie and I had our first tennis match of the season and I was in bed by 9.00pm. When she finishes work today we are off to play again… the exercise is working..

I am so happy with my new car, it is great and it is so good to be able to go out shopping during the day rather than wait for David to come home from work. I don’t want to leave it behind if we move back to the UK at the end of the year and we are looking into how I can import it.

Walter sends his love and he has done something very constructive. He has given up his weekends to work in the apartment office which means he lives rent free. We are delighted for him and he seems to be very settled with his latest girlfriend.

Hopefully in the next week or two we will hear from the attorney about changing my status so that I can work too. Although he is not hopeful.. Until David has a firm job offer they are unlikely to change by Visa, but always we know things will work out for the best.

Time to get back inside and prepare chilli for some of the guys who are coming over to catch up on our trip and the BBQ weekend.

Love from us both…. S & D

©Sally Cronin

The images are from Pixabay as mine are packed away in the attic…..


Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you have enjoyed the latest adventure. I am so glad we made the most of our two years in America..the partying stopped on our return to the UK and I was back to work full-time.

29 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Letters from America – March 1986 – Road Trip Atlanta-Houston and BBQ Cookout by Sally Cronin

  1. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – December 20th -26th – Christmas Carols, Short Stories, Books and Funnies | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

  2. Another great installment, Sally. There’s a series on Netflix called American Barbecue Showdown which our daughter recommended – clearly, the experience has been ongoing for a while! I wish there were footage of you singing Molly Malone! xx

    Liked by 1 person

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