Collard sandwich on Fourth of July?


Reggie ponder lifestyles chowan herald


By Reggie Ponder

Thursday, June 28, 2018

We’re starting to discuss Fourth of July plans at our house and I guess we have it narrowed down to three options: two quite similar and the third very much out-of-the-box.

For most of the last 10 years, we have enjoyed the Independence Day festivities in either Elizabeth City or Edenton. Both towns do a great job, though Edenton has the undeniable advantage of having such an illustrious history around the fight for independence — including a hometown signer of the Declaration of Independence, Joseph Hewes.

The entire Albemarle area, though, is soaked in Colonial history and you can’t go wrong anywhere around here if you’re looking for a festive and exciting Independence Day.

The one year out of the past decade when I didn’t celebrate Independence Day was 2013, when I went to Raleigh to participate in the “Old School Aquathon” at Harris Lake Park. I had a lot of fun that day but the event is no longer being held and I have returned to my regular habit of fireworks and hot dogs.

This year, however, we have contemplated doing something we have talked about for nearly 20 years but have never followed through with: Going to Pembroke for the Lumbee Homecoming, which is held every year during the week of July 4.

We are not Lumbee, so we never would have thought about attending the Homecoming had we not been invited years ago by good friends who are Lumbee: the Rev. Herbert Lowery and his wife, Connie.

Herbert and I became friends when we were students at Duke Divinity School and were both pastors of small churches near Durham. Herbert preached a revival at our church one year and I think the folks there still talk about it today. He is a dynamic Gospel preacher and one of those people you feel like it would be great to have around if the sky were to start falling in.

I used to hear Herbert talk about Lumbee Homecoming and one year he mentioned that we ought to come.

Since then we have had a standing invitation but it has been almost 20 years now and we haven’t made it.

Of course it’s a ways off. But it’s not so far that it would be a hardship, either.

We’re still weighing the pros and cons but the Homecoming has a new “pro” in its column this year: the collard sandwich.

I saw a documentary on the collard sandwich a few weeks ago on North Carolina’s public television channel. The collard sandwich is made by a Lumbee family and served only four times a year, including during Lumbee Homecoming.

It’s not particularly healthy, either, so I wouldn’t want to eat one more than once a year. It’s a big helping of collards cooked in bacon grease, served between two big pieces of fried cornbread.

Again, it doesn’t sound healthy, but it might just be the missing piece that finally gets me down to Pembroke for the Fourth.

Reggie Ponder is a staff writer for The Daily Advance.