Coffee in my left hand, grillin’ memories of Dad in my right…

I’m currently running two grills, cooking potato salad in the kitchen, and waiting for the clock to strike rosé.

Even though Christmas was our favorite holiday, summer time grilling is what makes me think of Daddy the most. Daddy used to do the grilling when I was growing up. He’d put on his ComEd jumpsuit, grab this raggedy old lawn chair and the newspaper, and get busy. Mama would season and prep everything and he’d leave the kitchen with raw meat and come back in with perfection. Around 9 or 10, I started sitting out there with him, just to be out there with him. He worked 2nd shift so I only saw him on weekends: wherever he was on Saturday, that’s where I wanted to be.

Pause. I’m doing the prep, sides, grilling and cocktails: no wonder I’m more exhausted than he ever was. I need all future Bae applicants to be able to do one or the other. Geesh.

Anywho, over the years I learned to grill and it was part of our bond. So much so that after he died and I got my first house, Mama told me to take his grills: “that was you and your father’s thing.” It may not seem like much of an inheritance, but I pray my children have a memory of me as precious as those grills.

On days like this…wait, its rosé o’clock; cheers!…I am immersed in memories of him. The smells, the sun, the pride he took in the outcome, that utility jumpsuit; Lord knows why after his retirement he still wore that old thing, but who am I to sweat the technique? I sit outside in a slightly less dorky outfit, but with the same quest for slab perfection.

Two dear friends lost their fathers this year. Having been down that road, I tried to comfort them that as time moves on, the memories will be less painful and more comforting. The oddest things will make them smile, and out of nowhere they will remember things about him they’d long forgotten. I hope it helped, so like me on days like today, 22 yrs later as the tears fall in my rosé, they too can smile and be grateful for times spent and love shared.

And for the raggedy green and white lawn chair in the basement that I’m certain is the reason the ribs always turn out just right.

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