David Carlson's Virtual World

uNkLe eD in his best suit

uNkLe eD, aka Ed Barber, is a snappy dresser and, as you can see, his personal hygiene is impeccable.

uNkLe eD's
weB sitE

My "UNkLe" eD has been making his roadside red, a concoction of "ingredients" most people find similar to Texas-style chili, for 24 years. It's a wonder he's survived.

Ed, general manager of the Independent Florida Alligator, the student newspaper serving the University of Florida in Gainesville, invites friend and foe alike to his annual Chili Feast every November. He won't divulge the recipe for roadside red, and even his friends agree that's a good thing.

All he'll say about how roadside red began is the following:

tHe baLlaD of unkle eD’s
roadSide rEd

now lissen to ma tale of a man named jed...

no dat thars anudder one

dis eres bout ole unkLe eD

hit wus ah time a gret need in tha lan wen ole unikLe eD e hitched up his pants spitted in tha road an sed ifn I gotter starve plum up I rekin I kin starve jest as good or gooder in them thar piney woods as I kin rite chere

so unkLe eD e up an lit out fer tha tal tember an as close as anybody kin tell aint bin back but a fue times asince

corsely hit took a heep of a gettin use ter im from them thar other critters in tha woods im bein such a lowdown cus as ta oncet wurked fer a noospapcr but oncet they seen e jest lacked good sents e done jest fine wid em but hit wernt eazy fer im

no siree

hits a dadgum good thing theys a road cut thru them that woods cuasely that dere wat reely up an saved is baken

ya see hit wuz liken is ere unkLe eD e hadd agrub ere an stratch that an whupp up on ole hard scrabble ta git is next vittles they wus mostly bits a leefs an grassis an bark an roots an sech but hit wus made mo flavorsum frum tha bits an pieses a snake an possum an coon an armydillyoos an toady frogs a that like e wus able ta scrapin up offen ta road

e owned up oncet that is best bet wus ta git out thar early ta mornin an walk tha roads befer tha sun hit got up to hi and tha nites roadkil started ta spile

unkLe eD is rul was ifn wen e bended ova an is eyes started ta water frum tha smell then e jest said nunt-uh ta mista snake or mis possum and gitted on is way but ifn hit wus jest a little ripe an not to flat e throed hit in is croacker sack til e gotted enuff ta cover tha taste ofa somethin that mite be jest a litle to spilled ta is tong dang ifn e dittent frow in sum peppurs ta tri an heet hit up a litle an at thars how hit come ta be called roadside red n that thar receipt am tha way hit am done today

Email UnKle eD:
cebarber (at) alligator.org
(maybe he'll invite you over for some chili)

I know it's a stretch after reading the above, but Ed Barber actually is a fine cook, an outstanding newspaperman, a well-respected member of the community, a great human being, and (believe it or not) quite literate. I'm proud to call him my friend, even if he's not really my uncle.