BBQ season begins

“You know what this weekend is?”

“A honeydew weekend? Honey, can you do this.  Honey, will you do that.  Honey, over here.  I have another chorrrreee…”

I turned and glared at my husband.  “No silly.  Remember last year at the Delmont’s?”

He clutched the arms of his chair and moaned.

“Yes,”  I paused. “It  is 4th of July weekend.”

As long as we have been neighbors we have gathered together for this annual event.  But this year, like last, the outdoor table was laden with goodies: corn on the cob, sweet pickles, potato salad, pickled beets, deviled eggs, kidney bean and macaroni salad, coldslaw, fresh melons, corn bread, apple pie, strawberry tarts and brownies.

Appetites where whet and the meat was ready to grill.  Then it happened.

“Twenty-four thousand BTU control burner with 225-square inch cooking area, push button igniter and view window, model 5450,” smirked Lawrence  Delmont, our host for our 4th of July barbecue, as he wheeled his new toy onto the deck.

Libby, Lawrence’s wife grinned and rubbed Lawrence’s arm playfully as she told the other guest, Margo and her husband Bill and me and my husband Tom, about their new gas barbecue.  “It taste just like briquettes.  It is the lava rock you know makes the meat taste better.”

Lawrence had put on his chef hat and apron with the words. ‘Cook with Class Use Gas.’

Libby continued on. “Well, no more bags of briquettes everytime I go to the store.  No more lighter fluid, no more. . . ”

Behind Margo, Bill groaned. “Yeah and no more taste either.”

Lawrence coughed pointedly.  He paused his oven-mitted hand lingering over the meat, looked at Bill intently and said, “Oh, are you one of them?”

“Them?”  Bill inquired.

“Yes.  You know. . .there is no difference.”  Lawrence said authoritatively.

“Who are you kidding.  If it ain’t barbecue with the real thing it ain’t barbecue.” Bill scoffed. ‘You might as well cook in the oven.”

Libby appeared at my elbow and nodding toward Tom said, “Well you guys know how great gas is.”

I bit my lip and looked at Tom, who was fighting with a lawn chair.

“Well to me it is kinda like Coke and Pepsi.  There’s a definite difference,” I stammered.

“What?!” hollered Lawrence, throwing up his hands in disgust.

Margo was at the table putting olives on each finger and pretending she didint know us.

“You see,” said Bill.  “Any connoisseur would have an electric starter to put on their briquettes and would not use a lighter fluid.  And would never ever stoop to plugging in an outdoor oven that will never give you the flavor of that delicious charcoal-grilled…”

“Well I suppose,”  Lawrence interrupted. ” that you are the type that can bake bread on a stick and broil trout on a hot rck.  And have you ever taken a look at that old oil drum you cut in half to make into a barbecue? You lose your appetite just looking at it.  But I must say, that was better than what you use to use a wheelbarrow full of sand with bricks holding up the grill. . .”

It never really got too ugly, I recalled with a sigh until they brought out the Coke and Pepsi.

“Yeah, said Tom, as he got out of his living room chair. “I would have rather have sat around the house with a lip full of Novocain.

I began to hum and pick lint off my shorts.  He stole a glance and our eyes met.  “Oh, no we’re not. . .” Tom said, alarmed.

‘No honey, we’re not going over there this year.  They are coming here. Were having Pizza.”