It was Christmas Day at Frey Smoked Meat Company and the usual gang of regulars was gathered to wish each other a happy Christmas and plant the seeds of good cheer that could be shared with familiar company before they scattered across New Orleans to spread that good cheer farther than Little Metarie. Everyone was in good spirits. We were in Mid City.
The doors to Frey Smoked Meat Company were locked and the lights were off at 11:00AM. Frey Smoked Meat Company is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and on New Years Day. Frey Smoked Meat Company is open on the 4th of July.
The usual gang of regulars showed up. It was all prearranged. A day without Frey Smoked Meat Company, even Christmas Day, is like a day without pulled pork and sunshine. We sat at the picnic tables on the riverside patio, facing the view across David Street. It was a real New Orleans postcard moment.
None of the owners, nor the general manager, where there. It was me, Mr. King, Destiny, Sophia, Mason, Claudia, and Jimmy. Sarah walked over from her house. Christopher and Ryan showed up, so did Vince, who was expected. It was the predictable cast of characters, characters, all. We were exactly who you would expect ot see any other afternoon at Frey Smoked Meat Company, but, it wasn’t a regular day. It was Christmas Day. That made it that much more special.
“We should have a toast,” someone said.
Mr. King said, “I wonder who should make it?”
Jimmy said, “I wonder who should do it, too.”
I said, “Destiny should make the toast. She has the name for it.”
Sophia, who’s name means wisdom, said, “Here! Here!” Everyone started clapping.
Destiny said, “Let’s all have a Merry Christmas, everyone!”
“Wooo-hooo!” everybody said.
Frey Smoked Meat Company is closed on Christmas Day but the friendships that are built at Frey Smoked Meat Company keep going strong 24/7/365.
There are no strangers in New Orleans, there are only friends that you haven’t yet met. We are all in this together. Familiarity enables friendship.
Somebody walking down David Street stopped and waved at Jimmy. “Hey,” Jimmy said to the guy on David Street, “do you want to come up here for a shot of Aperol?”
The guy came up on the patio and introduced himself. His name is Mortimer Snerd. Jimmy knew him. We all introduced ourselves. We are me, Mr. King, Destiny, Sophia, Mason, Claudia, Sarah, Christopher and Ryan, and, of course, Vince. Mr. Snerd raised his glass of Aperol and he toasted us. “A Merry Christmas!” he said. Then, Mr. Snerd emptied his glass and he said, “May God bless us, every one of us!”
It was a Christmas morning like no other, that 2020 Christmas. Good memories are made every day in New Orleans. That is what our city is known for. We can all testify to the truth of it, especially those of us who were at Frey Smoked Meat Company that Christmas morning.
To discover the real New Orleans off the usual tourist radar, I know a place where you should stay. It’s a small B&B hotel called La Belle Esplanade. Read the rest of this blog, follow La Belle Esplanade on Facebook and Instagram, and when you want to explore New Orleans like you belong here, not like a tourist, you know where you should stay.
La Belle Esplanade will be here for you.