The ‘mayor’ of Brock’s celebrates a birthday

Upper Shirley 3My cousin John Osborne’s birthday was yesterday. John was the older brother I never had while growing up. He was the oldest of his siblings, and I was the oldest of mine.

John is a natural comedian.  He always has a joke, a story, or something else to keep everyone laughing. As one more on the quiet side, I always marveled at his ability to hold a room spellbound waiting for the punchline of his latest tale, and then everyone would howl with laughter. Of course, I was right in there with them because he is funny.

Chesterfield County is home for John and his family, and his home away from home is Brock’s BBQ in Chester. As a small business owner, he has the freedom to eat lunch there almost every single day, and you could even say he’s the mayor of the popular barbecue restaurant. He is personal friends with the owners and, in his honor, the Brock’s folks installed a special plaque on the wall a few years ago beside the counter stool where John sits at lunchtime.

Did I mention he’s quite a character? Just about everyone in Chester knows him.

So for his birthday I was remembering a time about 20 years ago when all the family was at our cousin Bobby Waldrop’s home on the James River. Standing on the bluff overlooking the river, John could see the Annabelle Lee, the cruiser that used to offer river trips, heading downriver. To this day I can remember John standing on the bluff and bellowing out at full voice, “Hey! Annabelle Lee! It’s John … John Osborne of Chesterfield County!” It struck my funny bone and I remembered it to this day.

So I’m sending a birthday shoutout to my cousin on his special day. Happy birthday, John … John Osborne of Chesterfield County! It’s been fun being your cousin all these years….

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