||[Feb. 4th, 2004|09:39 am]
First of all, thanks to everyone for their well-wishes for my kids (I feel silly sending 20-odd "Thank you" comments, so please accept this universal gratitude) and for your tremendous help in choosing a birthday present for my daughter. Since she already has a camera, we went with the karaoke machine, which I was able to order today and rush ship so it will be there in time for the slumber party this weekend. Yay!
And while I was shopping at the online WalMart store (like Microsoft, whatever you think of WalMart itself, you have to give them credit for moving with the times), I spotted something I want: this portable cooler/gas grill combo. We inherited a gas grill with the house, but it was completely rusted out and we disposed of it after only a short time. I love summer barbecues, though, and had told Ferrett that we were definitely getting one again this year. I intended to get a regular one, but this puppy is really tempting. How cool would it be to haul this to Blossom and actually have fresh, hot food out on the lawn before the concerts? And we have not in any way taken advantage of the fact that we are on the shores of Lake Erie - surely there are good beaches not too far from Cleveland. There's also the whole MetroParks system - the Rocky River Reserve is close by, with lots of parks, hiking, playgrounds. We just aren't getting out enough.
When I was a little kid we picnicked regularly throughout the summer. Part of that was motivated no doubt by 90 degree weather and no air conditioning, but a lot of it was just that it was a great way to get the cousins together outdoors where we couldn't destroy anybody's house. My uncle had a portable, tabletop grill and we ate hotdogs and burgers in our swimsuits, sandy hands clutching the buns, then ran back into the lake to swim in the tepid water and escape the heat. Or one of the relatives would be grilling in the backyard, lawn chairs scattered about, as we ran through the sprinklers and got yelled at for tracking grass into the house when we went to use the bathroom.
My memories of summer gatherings from the happy years when I was young all seem to involve being outdoors, the menfolk clustered around a barbecue debating whether more lighter fluid was needed, the shouts of appreciation at the fireball that went up when the inevitable determination finally came, the cheers when the briquettes were at last pronounced ready. Women bringing forth raw meat, and then platters of garnish, bowls of potato and macaroni salads, baked beans, Jello, potato chips. Steaks were a rarity at these occasions, chicken an occasional undertaking, but mostly it was burgers and dogs, simple food garnished with laughter and children at play.
Yeah, I think I'm gonna need that grill....