Don’t Forget to Thank a Grill Today

Are you having a cookout Memorial Day? Many Americans do because it’s a tradition – and you “do” traditions whether you want to or not.  Some Vets tell me it’s OK to celebrate today – any way you choose.  This is America, they say, and freedom is the thing for which they fought (and for which far too many died). Most Americans “do” cookouts only once or twice a year.  Another reason to be thankful.

Typically, the Dad drags out the Webber grill, fills it with old charcoal (vintage: Memorial Day, 2009), dumps on too much lighter fluid (a definite lack of creativity naming this product), lights it, and then jumps back from the 2-foot flames.

“I’ll be ready for those steaks in about 10-minutes!” he shouts to his eye-rolling wife who is just thankful he didn’t set the house on fire. The kids groan when they see a backyard inferno like they haven’t seen since the California wildfires. Ahh, charred rawhide for dinner again this year. The charcoal briquettes might be easier to eat.

“MOM! Can we go to McDonalds?”

”No!” she yells back. “We’re a family – and families cook and eat outdoors together on Memorial Day. It’s important to your Father.”

Louder groans. “Why?” one yells.

“God friggin’ knows…,” she thinks as she scoops salads onto paper plates from plastic containers.

“Go set the table! Use the paper plates and plastic silverware.” More groans. Even before the kids find the long lost picnic supplies, the wind picks up and a new species of aggressive fly is attracted to the smell of burning meat. Finally the family is seated. Paper plates are held down by mayonnaise salads and one hand – as the other tries to shoo away the unrelenting pests.

And despite the fact that everything on the grill is now uniformly burnt to a crispy black, Dad asks the punch line question, “How would you like your steak?”


Tomorrow’s Memorial Day post is by Joseph Belle-Isle, a frequent commenter on this blog and a Vietnam Veteran.  Joe always seems to have an “unusual” perspective on the world – tomorrow’s post is no exception.  I read it – and it’s good.  It will make you think too.
Joe, thank you for your service to our country.  It’s an honor for me to post your thoughts on this important day.

2 Responses to “Don’t Forget to Thank a Grill Today”

  1. Bill says:

    I have been to a few nightmare cookouts like the one you’ve described, but just yesterday I went to one where the chicken was grilled perfectly, the insects didn’t show, and the heavy duty paper plates stayed in place.

    Possibly things went well because a couple 60 something men were doing the grilling and have learned how to avoid the pitfalls through hard experience. As for the insects? I have no explanation. I’ll have to ask the host if he employs some strategy.

  2. Joe Belle-Isle says:

    Frank the intro is nice but I’m no war hero believe me. But I have seen and talked to and even worked a few times in noisy places around them. The Mexican Government is famously crooked, and Venezuela’s Chavez. How our President can give them a clean pulpit to spout lies is beyond me-WAKE UP AMERICA! But I say that today-Tomorrow has nothing to do with them, it’s for our freinds we left behind.

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