On that hot Fourth of July I was thankful for two things. That indoor air condition exists, and that my iPad was fully charged. It's not that I plan on going to family functions wanting to be anti-social, it's that after Aunt Suzie has talked in depth about the latest inflammations on her body, you too would be begging of the sweet release of death. As I sat in one of the spare bedrooms, hiding away from everyone until there was food to be had, someone went looking for me.
I was being summoned for food, not the eating aspect, but the cooking aspect. Something was wrong with the Uncle Reeve's “Char-Master 9000” and I was being called to duty. Uncle Reeve had long thought of himself as the “Grill King” of the family, he had an old “Kiss the Cook” apron that was so old, so worn, the material had become so thin that Victoria's Secret could be designing their upcoming Fall line around it.
The “Char-Master 9000” was an old grill but Uncle Reeve had kept it in great condition, it was his pride and joy. The Char-Master was one of the first grills that could use both charcoal and gas, I'm pretty sure at one point it had a diesel tank on it too. But it seems that nothing was working quite right this day, Uncle Reeve had bought a fresh tank of propane for the grill the night before, yet the burners were not igniting.
In my capacity as a generally decent all around moderate handy man, I did what any other man in my situation would do. I walked around the grill twice, and said “hmmm” a lot. I began to slowly move my eyes over all the connections on the grill, from tank to tube, tube to the burners. I tested the ignite switch, and it was still sparking. I lifted the grates off the grill, and look a good while, that is where I found it. The connection tube from the tank to the burners was loose. I fixed the situation using my brain at its MacGuyver best, with a combination of foil and duct tape.
After telling Uncle Reeve that I had fixed everything, Uncle Reeve then told me that he would actually prefer it if I took over grilling duties this year. Who am I to deny a man in a frail “Kiss the Cook” apron? So I stood there on the deck, sun beating down around me, apron-less, while I fixed burgers and hot dogs till my arms fell off. Everyone wanted them in different degrees of doneness. Ranging from medium rare to “charred to the point I'm not entirely sure what I'm eating anymore.”
It took two hours of cooking before everyone was happy, then I was finally able to stop and eat something for myself. Uncle Reeve decided he had found his second wind, and gave us all an important lecture on fireworks safety. All while swigging occasionally from a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon. Fire and beer, it was pretty gal durn American. Happy 4th y'all.