Friends gather for birthday celebration

Published 12:12 am Monday, June 2, 2008

NATCHEZ — Though it was a hot day, friends Levi Dee Sr. and Roy Kennedy didn’t mind standing around flames Saturday afternoon.

When The Dart landed at Dee’s Old Providence Road residence, the two buddies had already been grilling chicken and ribs for several hours — since about 9 a.m.

“We’re cooking for about 50 people,” Dee said. “There will be a lot of friends and family here at about 5 p.m.”

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The soon-to-happen gathering was to celebrate Dee’s 64th birthday, which — though retired — he had spent working on various jobs that needed to be done.

“I looked forward to this year just like I looked forward to every year,” Dee said.

When the grill was opened and the smell of barbecued chicken and ribs wafted over, Dee pointed to Kennedy.

“The chef over there, he’s got a secret ingredient in the barbecue sauce,” he said.

Kennedy laughed, and said, “I’m the cook, not the chef.”

But his secret ingredient wasn’t too big a secret to share.

“We mix Hennessey and Crown Royal in with the barbecue sauce,” Kennedy said. “We discovered that ourselves. It cooks all the alcohol out, and it gives it one heck of a flavor.”

Pointing to a plate of ribs, he grinned.

“We’re ready to put (the sauce) to work,” Kennedy said.

The birthday gathering was a special occasion, because the large group of family and friends expected to show up can only get together once or twice a year, Dee said.

Though they try to do something a little different every time everyone gets together, there is one common element.

“We just like to get together and have some fun,” Dee said.