Today’s Wedgewood lunch meeting is at Lupies, a Charlotte landmark and tradition. It’s one of those hole in the wall joints. Nothing fancy, but good food. And the owner is a very good person. She’s been very generous to worthy causes in Charlotte.
Personally, I am surprised Lupie’s owner has not been sued. Her chili will “kill you.” I confess that I’m a chili wimp, but even taking that into account, her chili will kill you.
Jose Garica, a dear Wedgewoodian, who died several years ago – well, let me stop there for a second. Jose was a dear, but he was as much of a pain in the butt as he was a dear. He was both extremes. You loved him and you wanted to strangle him. Now that I’ve gotten that straight I’ll proceed.
Jose was one of the people who loved watching me suffer as I put spoon after spoon of Lupie’s chili into my mouth headed for my digestive system. No preacher exaggeration here. I suffered. And not only for one day, but two days.
Jose, who proudly and frequently told everybody “I am a queen, not a mind reader,” grinned from ear to ear as he saw my great discomfort, sweat beading off the top of my head, saw my gut wrench in agony.
And then he told me something he could have told me before I placed my order. He said, “Food should not hurt. Next time ask them to mix a half order of sweet Cincinnati Chili with a half order of the Fire Alarm Chili.”
“I’ll do that, Jose. If I live to place another order.”
I’m still missing Jose. His black beans loaded with garlic gave me bad breath for a month. My wife loved his Flan. He loved to take my wife on shopping trips. There was never a dull moment if Jose was near.
Rest in peace, Jose. Rest in peace. Be careful about that chili in heaven.