Word & Image 

Art Taylor, 57, Realtor/Barbecue Maker

I'm a graduate of the University of Texas [flashes college ring]. I ran track and played football — played on the practice team with the [Houston] Oilers in '72. It was something to do. And I always say, life is meant to be lived.

I did 30 years in the Navy, before and after college, and moved up through the ranks to become lieutenant commander. I married a Virginia girl, end of story. That's how we came to Richmond. Being in the military, you know that where you hang your hat is your home.

[His cellphone rings.] Man, I'll let you brush your teeth with some brisket. We'll get you some tater salad — none of that po-tato salad. I'll be lookin' for your face at the place. When will you be coming — three or four minutes? [He hangs up. A car beeps.] See, if they can't stop, they honk their horns. I'm old-school and that's key. I throw up my hand and wave at everybody.

Hell, I didn't know I'd be out here on the side of the road cooking barbecue, but I thought about what I wanted to do in retirement and this is what I love, doing a little burning. See, I'm a deacon in my church and I pray for folks. This lady came through and said her mom was on life-support at Chippenham Hospital. We prayed real hard, and I told her about the blessings of Jesus and to prepare herself. She came by days later and said the next night her mom woke up and asked, "What's to eat?"

You see, I keep it real. No salt, natural sugar. I don't make or give people anything that would harm them. And from a ministry perspective, you can do a whole lot right here. — As told to Brandon Walters; photographed by Scott Elmquist


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