Today was the day that my sister and I had designated as “Barbecue Day”. Thanks to the National Holiday, Memorial Day, we both had the day off and figured it’d be a great way to kickoff the summer. It also served to introduce us to the wonderful world of planning as well as carrying newly defined traditions that started in our own backyard.
The sunny days were our inspiration as we delved into the planning head-on with a visit to the meat-market. We brought along our Meatopia guide , Carlos and were so happy we did because we had absolutely no idea what we were doing. This isn’t a big mystery as it has been a family tradition to go about clueless through endless aisles saying to one another, “Do we need this? I’m certain that we have some in the pantry. Are you sure we don’t have this at the house?” and so on. Back then, it was easy to set my Dad to his boiling point as all three women of the household made a decision over what condiment to purchase or which charcoal would light the best. I often felt that my Dad would get overwhelmed as we all took turns at looking completely lost, wandering aimlessly at the 7-11 while all of the other families seemed so organized. You see, it was also traditional for our family to plan these outings on a whim which left no time for grocery lists. And it would never fail: there would always be something that we forgot that was so completely obvious to us once we got there. Say, the missing charcoal fluid as we shuffled through the grocery bags disappointed at our lack of familial effort to get everything we needed because after all, we were “Right there!”.
Florav and I had become used to the unpredictability of our family events. For years our poor planning led to adventures such as, The Tan that Was A Burn and The Swimsuits That Never Were and Rainy Days and Picnics Always Get Us Down. But that’s what always made my family the BEST FAMILY EVER. Despite all of the mistakes, we always stuck it out; surprisingly resiliant to odd turn-of-events. Sometimes, these episodes of turning-lemons-into-limonada were the stuff of legend.
So as we scoured the meat market, buying everything at a “very good price”, we ultimately ended up with what we thought we needed, save for the ice and some C batteries for the radio. Well, we were wrong. Dead wrong. The one thing that I hadn’t counted on were the matches and the charcoal lighter fluid because I thought that I had both. This ended up putting a damper on things because we had to leave Carl there to attempt (in vain) to startup the fire with pieces of paper and a prayer. It was obvious that the charcoal was winning. This posed another unforseen issue: when we left, the park police have a history of bothering unsuspecting folks that have no backup. Since Florav and I were out buying the stuff, Carl was alone and we were hoping that he wouldn’t be bothered. Unfortunately, he was and the park police asked him to move our barbecue stuff further away (even though there was an unruly group setting up barbecue right next to our spot). Whatever. So Carl called us to get back as soon as possible which went easy enough. Then, there were…
Duh, DuH, DUH!!!!!
Yes, these can be spotted at every picnic / barbecue, tossing footballs into your food and skateboarding, flying kites and riding bikes so nearby that you could feel the wind as they race past. That was the only downside. And it got worse as time wore on, so we managed to hurry through cooking our eats and high-tailing it outta there as soon as the last batch of chicken was fully cooked. Yum!
And of course, we did manage to forget some key ingredients: ketchup and mayo. But no worries. Turned out the food was so filling, we didn’t need it anyway. Poor Carl did manage to get a little sun-stroke, though. That’s never any fun. But a good time was had by all. And, don’t worry mom. There’s plenty of leftovers.