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In addition to the thoughtful remembrances that I make a point of making during Memorial Day there is one thing I can count on during the holiday.  I will find myself, at some point over the course of the weekend, standing before a grill.  Grilling is one of those few small things that I find that I have a certain talent for.  Of course, I can’t take all the credit for it, most of it rests with my dad.

I can’t speak for other families, but the manly art of searing large portions of meat over a flame is something that was definitely passed down like a family heirloom.  I remember many summer evenings where I would sit and watch y dad as he barbequed chicken, fried up burgers and dogs, or even seared a whole roast on a rotisserie.  He always had a way of getting the combination of flame, propane, and time to sit up and do tricks with meat.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that he’s a fair hand at cooking in other respects as well.

I remember those nights fondly.  Grill nights were always special in our family, a time when we all came together in a little different, even a little closer, way.  I remember the sound of crickets on the “lake” behind our house in Tennessee while we sat on the patio, I remember the cool breeze through the trees in our backyard in Charlotte, I remember the picnic table at the bottom of the Florida room steps in South Carolina.  And backdropping it all, dad at the grill.

I spent a long time away from my family.  It is time I would give anything to have back.  But no matter where I was there were always memories.  And, one of the most powerful were the visions of my dad every time I took up the spatula and tongs (or “tushie-getters” as we called them when we were kids), fired up the grill, and cooked up some steaks or burgers while nursing a beer.  The imagery was always with me, and act of grilling brought tears to my eyes for years.  Now, it just brings smiles as I think of those days. 

Thanks for the memories, Dad.  And, thanks for the love of the grill.

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