At some point in the next week or so, I expect to receive a couple of bottles of barbecue sauce in the mail.

Some of you might find that odd, but I assure you my friends in the newspaper business read that sentence and simply said to themselves “I should check my mail, because someone might also send me some barbecue sauce.”

I’m not sure when or how it became a thing for columnists to be a catch-all and/or tester for various products, but I have to admit it’s one of my favorite parts of the job.

On Tuesday, I received an email from a gentleman with PLB Sports and Entertainment offering to send me a few bottles of barbecue sauce he is sure will become a huge hit when it catches on with the masses.

He wants me to sample the sauces — a “Dallas Sweet Heat” style, which he says is a thicker, more traditional sauce, and an “East Texas” style, which is vinegar-based and “really captures that East Texas Flavor.”

The company creates and markets food products for professional athletes and entertainers, and the sauces they would like to send me come from Trevon Diggs of the Dallas Cowboys.

I agreed to sample the sauce because a friend gave the company my name.

Also, if a Texan is offered anything to do with barbecue and turns it down, there is a permanent mark put on his heavenly worksheet that can only be removed by saving a bus load of nuns delivering puppies to an orphanage on Christmas morning after the bus crashes into a river.

I’m too old for that.

As I await deliver of my barbecue sauce, it brought to mind some of the other things I’ve received by mail in nearly four decades in the newspaper business.

T-SHIRTS: I’ve gotten dozens of T-shirts promoting events or schools over the years, but my favorite came from a private school in New York — The Doane Stuart School — after the head man at the school read one of my columns about high school mascots back in 2011.

I still have my Thunder Chickens shirt, by the way.

PENS: I wrote about my collection of writing instruments recently, and several readers sent me pens in the mail. Be on the lookout for an upcoming column about my collection of $5 bills I’ve always wanted to start.

TURF: A company sent me a patch of artificial grass about the size of a piece of notebook paper back in 1998, hoping I would tell folks what a great product it was and how their fake grass would soon be on every golf green in the United States.

I contacted them and told them I needed a bigger sample — maybe 200 square yards — so I could really sample the product. That’s about the size of my front and back yard, by the way.

I’m still waiting.

BOOKS: I get asked to review a lot of books, which is really awesome because I love to read. Sometimes, however, the people who send the books don’t like my reviews.

For example, I once got a book on how to identify the different species of spiders and snakes in Texas. My review was short and to the point, but the author disagreed with my opinion the book was a waste of time and paper since there are really only two kinds of spiders and two kinds of snakes on the entire planet.

Dead ones, and ones that need to die.

BEEF JERKY: I won’t give the name of the company, and I’ll admit this was more than 20 years ago and ways to send food by mail have improved, but I’m pretty sure they sent me Woolly Mammoth jerky by mistake.

On a bright note, after a trip to the hospital to have my stomach pumped, I spread what was left around the perimeter of my house and haven’t seen a spider or snake in 20 years.

— Jack Stallard is a Kilgore resident and sports editor of the Longview News-Journal. Email:; follow on Twitter @ lnjsports

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— Jack Stallard is a Kilgore resident and sports editor of the Longview News-Journal. Email:; follow on Twitter @ lnjsports