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Archive for July, 2019

his way

We don’t normally celebrate Father’s Day in my family. Hallmark holiday as it is, his personality as it was, my father didn’t ascribe much value to a special day just for him. And when we did get together, he always treated. That was his way.

Was. Didn’t. Treated. Was.

Does the blow of the past tense ever soften?

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Three Sundays ago was rough. We knew it would be. I filtered out and automatically filed away emails with subject line “Father’s Day” but the taunting was everywhere. I opened up Amazon to an Echo ad emblazoned with “Alexa, call dad.” Oh how I wish you could, Alexa.

The day arrived, and my mom suggested steak for dinner. It was the only thing he cooked, and he only cooked on the grill. (In all fairness, he did chop vegetables for my mom’s chicken soup, and he called himself the “stupid chef” instead of the sous chef. It was their own little joke.)

But he had brought the grill inside over the winter, and it still sits in the corner of the kitchen. And there it remains, the fireproof mat to protect the wooden deck (and house) lost to time. Or possibly the garage. But a plan is a plan, and my plan was to grill so I went with the next best thing: at the pool just a few steps through the woods from our house, the pool where I learned how to swim and to be part of a team, live several grills up for grabs.

I prepped a feast at home. While the rib-eye came to room temperature, there were roots to peel, florets to separate, leaves to clean, scapes to untangle, nightshades to halve. And then a rubdown with olive oil and a liberal shower of salt and pepper. I packed everything up in a mishmash of plastic containers and grabbed a long, sturdy pair of tongs.

The day was winding down at the pool, a few families lingered. I approached one of the grills, opened the lid, and scrubbed down the grates.

I turned a knob. Nothing. I turned a different knob. Still nothing.

Eventually, someone else’s father showed me how to turn on the flame.¬†Research and trial and error are carrying me the rest of the way.

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