We travel a lot. Some months I think we might be away more than we are actually home. It’s definitely one our favorite things to do together. We’re becoming pros at it too, except someone (not pointing fingers) is quite the over-packer. I’ll give you a hint… it’s the one that’s 6’5″ and has a beard. The only problem is… I’m not at all a good flyer. When I say I’m not a good flyer… really what I mean is I should probably be sedated with a tranquilizer strong enough to take out a lion prior to boarding a plane. Apparently that’s not an option, so Bryan fills in as my security blanket.
Our last flight to Memphis had a particularly rough landing… so bad that the pilot didn’t even open the cockpit door to say good bye as the passengers were exiting the plane. I’m not sure if he hid because he was humiliated by the pitiful landing or if it was because he heard me scream like an alley cat being struck by lightening as the plane rocked back and forth on the tarmac. It’s probably the later.
Luckily my fear of flying doesn’t stop me from going places because one of my favorite aspects of traveling is meeting new people. I’ve always found that when I’m open and let my guard down, the people I tend to meet are the same. I can talk to just about anyone but I always love chatting up my taxi or uber driver since many times I’m by myself going to meet Bryan. Most times, my driver has some interesting slice of their life they are willing to share with me during the drive. This was most definitely the case with Frank Williams. He picked me up from the Peabody Hotel when I was on my way to meet Bryan for a quick lunch before heading to meet Kelly English for his Oui Chef session.
Once Frank and I started talking, he candidly told me all sorts of stories. Most were food related, it just so happens that he is a passionate man when it comes to food and how to prepare certain dishes. Frank’s cornbread stuffing tips left me craving Thanksgiving dinner even though it was only March. My favorite tip for good stuffing was not to add too much sage… but if you do, “you need to make more cornbread, because that’s the only way to fix too much sage.” I can imagine that the meals his family prepares are nothing short of southern perfection, even though he’s from New Jersey originally. His more northern roots came as a surprise to me since most of the dishes we discussed were traditional southern plates… maybe some of us are just born with a southern soul regardless of birthplace.
Half way through our drive, Frank said my favorite thing of all. We were discussing what it takes to be a good cook when he exclaimed, “cooking is like singing the blues… it’s gotta come from inside of you. It’s got to come from way down here ” as he gestured from his belly, “not everybody is born with it and not everybody can do it right.” I immediately texted the quote to Bryan without a single other word or explanation.
Once I arrived at the restaurant, I was sad that my trip was over but was sure to get Frank’s card so that I could call him again in the future. When I saw Bryan, I immediately told him, “I think I just met the most interesting and genuine person in Memphis! He was my taxi driver and he had the best stories… I could have talked with him for hours!” All Bryan could say was, “ah… I bet it was my driver, Frank! He drove me this morning too…” We sat, had our lunch together and traded the bits of wisdom we had picked up during our rides.
When it was time to head back to Houston, obviously we called Frank for a ride to the airport. We talked about Memphis, music and of course food. Towards the end of our ride, I had Bryan ask him if we could get his photograph for a post on our site. He was more than happy to participate and after I got my shot he asked, “You got my number in there too, right!?”
I did and I’m happy to share it here with all of you! If you ever need a ride in Memphis, please call Frank. Tell him we sent you… I promise you will have the most enjoyable taxi ride ever.
P.S. I think the number on his cab is to the cab service however, his transportation company, Smooth Ride Cab Service, can be reached at 901-364-2793.