I like my cheap little charcoal grill, just a black metal box on a rusty stand. For the past several years, it has worked well enough for the grilling that I’ve done: hamburgers, hotdogs, corn on the cob and, rarely, cedar plank salmon. It easily handles the cooking for four or five people and with a little advance work, six or seven. Yesterday’s get-together, though, was more in the range of twenty people.
So, without her even knowing about it or having to bother going to Lowes, Randa bought me a new grill for Father’s Day.
This isn’t a little box on sticks, throw a few shrimp on the barbie, hurry quick before it rusts kind of a deal, either. This is a big black, thirty-five gallon barrel on its side, get your buddy to help you carry it kind of a cooker with a smokestack and cast iron grates kind of a deal. This is a cook enough meat for twelve adults and six kids at one time kind of a grill. In fairness, though, I did use the old, smaller grill to cook the corn.
After we offered thanks, I shucked hot corn while my nephew, Jeremy, stood by the big new grill and served the meat. After everyone else had gotten a steak or a burger, I fixed my own plate and sat down in one of the lawn chairs. While I ate, I looked around, watched my stepson and his kids, my in-laws, nephews and their kids sitting around the lawn, eating. Later, some of them played together, pitching washers, whirling ladder golf and tossing beanbags while the others watched and talked.
All in all, from the burgers to the birthday cake with thirty-five candles, it was a thoroughly pleasant gathering of family who genuinely like each other, who enjoy getting together and who appreciate one another. If the success of a family gathering is measured by smiles and hugs and deep, rolling laughter, this one was very successful.
I think the feeling I had watching all this and being a part of it might be a bit like the pleasure our Father takes when he sees his kids loving him by loving one another.