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Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Goat's Revenge


Excerpted from The New York Times, August 25, 1884.

The greatest barbecue that has taken place in Georgia since the war was enjoyed by citizens of DeKalb County yesterday at Clarkston. It had an ending, however, that was anything but romantic.
Several weeks ago it was arranged that the people should have a holiday... when barbecue scenes of 40 years ago were to be repeated, to show the young people how much of life they had missed by not being older. Late on Friday night the woods on the outskirts of Clarkston presented a weird appearance. The night was intensely dark, and here and there were blazing fires in the background. 
The attendant cooks for the feast of the morrow could be seen placing carcases upon spits, and all night long using long poles, having at the ends swabs of mustard, with which the meats were kept thoroughly saturated. Ten o'clock Saturday found perhaps 5,000 country folks assembled. The smell of fresh woods, the aroma from the spits, the jocular salutations so much recalling Longstreet's Georgia scenes, all conspired to give exhilarating effect to the scene. The orators were also there, at the head of whom was ex-Congressman Milton Chandler. 
The Government was redeemed in flights of eloquence, and hearty cheers showed the approbation of the people. A little distance off were arranged long tables, capable of accommodating 100 persons each. The fragrant meats were arranged, and when the word was given that the feast was ready a rush was made for the best places. 
One table was specially reserved for distinguished guests. The Master of Ceremonies, in calling the eaters to order, drew their attention to one beautifully browned carcase. He narrated that it was none other than the famous billy goat so familiar to all who have ever visited Stone Mountain. Twelve years ago, as a goat of mature judgement, the animal had appeared on the mountain. For eight years he jumped from crag to crag and won a State reputation. Growing older he took up his residence in Clarkston, where for four years he butted his way. 
A citizen shot at a mad dog on Friday. He missed the dog but fatally struck the renowned goat; hence the goat's appearance on the table as the chief dish. It was not long before the whole party was discussing the delicacy of the old goat's flesh. In less than half an hour after dinner, different persons who had sat at that particular table felt symptoms of uneasiness. The symptoms grew worse, and soon as many as 50 victims were lying around under trees, sorry spectacles of holiday enjoyment. Several doctors who were present were kept busy with their pill boxes. It is safe to say that a goat will never again reign as chief carcase in a DeKalb barbecue.

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