Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Ballad of Barbecue Dad

In the blistering heat of the sweltering sun,
By the best grill that money can buy,
Stands a man with a plan and a plate and a bun:
It’s Dad on the Fourth of July!

He stands tall and chipper, the flipper in hand,
Oh, no one cooks better or faster!
He’d match his grill skills with the best in the land!
His apron reads “Fear the GRILL MASTER!”

A grin curls his lip as he heads into battle,
He throws on the chicken and steaks.
The children grab plates and they line up like cattle,
When something above the earth quakes!

The sky has grown dark and the clouds have drawn in,
And yet, no one dares to complain.
Dad shakes his big head and he broadens his grin,
And says “It’s not going to rain.”

It rains.  How it rains!  Not a drop or a dozen,
But buckets and rivers and showers!
And every last sibling and uncle and cousin
Crowds into the kitchen and cowers.

Not Dad.  Oh, not Dad!  Not this hero of old,
This bold and invincible fella!
Before one hot coal has a chance to go cold,
He’s back with his mighty umbrella!

And there, underneath the magnificent dome
That says “Johnson’s Golfing Supplies,”
A conqueror stands, still defending his home,
The fury of war in his eyes!

The lightning!  The downpour!  The flooding!  The thunder!
The heat and the billows of smoke!
Just one small mistake, just the tiniest blunder,
And Grill Master surely will choke!

His apron is sopping, his eyebrows are dripping,
The smoke is obscuring his vision.
But Dad just keeps prodding and poking and flipping,
With laser-like speed and precision.

Until one by one each filet is well done,
Each drumstick is perfectly charred,
Each burger and wiener atop its own bun,
And Dad splashes through the backyard.

With grace and with skill he departs from the grill,
His trophy the topped off meat platter.
The Lord of the Manor!  The King of the Hill!
The Man with the Very Full Bladder!

“Ha ha!” Dad proclaims, “Feast your eyes on the feast!”
He lays down the triumph he brings.
He hopes for applause--an ovation at least--
But just then the front doorbell rings.

“Hooray!” cry the children!  “Thank God!” says Aunt Fran!
Dad falters a little and shivers.
He peers through the window and spies a white van
Marked “Paulie’s Pan Pizza Delivers!”

“I thought . . . just in case . . .” Mom begins to explain.
Dad drips from his toes to his collars.
“Oh, honey, my purse is at work.  Where’s my brain?
Can you give me forty-three dollars?”

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