Small Beginnings: I should have quite while I was ahead

Apparently, I am slow on the uptake. I don’t always get the subliminal messages that life is trying to send me. They are there, but I am oblivious. Take last weekend. It was the day before Memorial Day and I couldn’t take a hint. Allow me to explain.

Sunday tradition requires our family to eat hamburgers and French fries for lunch. So true to form after getting home from church, I embarked on lunch by starting up the grill and slapping freshly patted beef on the flaming grids. After cooking for a while and sensing that there was just enough smoke escaping from under the lid, I sensed that it was time to flip those little rascals but I couldn’t find my grilling spatula. The sturdy long handled one that allows you to move food on the grill without fear of singing your arm hair. Where could it be? What should I do? These burgers needed flipping and I didn’t have my flipper.

Just then, my knight in shining armor appeared at the back door and I anxiously implored him to find my spatula. He returned lickety split with a small nylon, nonstick spatula in his hand. Err, nice try, but nope, that wasn’t going to do the trick. I described in detail the specific spatula that I needed and he just stood there looking puzzled. Why wasn’t he scampering back into the kitchen to find my missing tool? These burgers were in jeopardy! What was he thinking?

“Are you looking for that spatula?” he asked with a curious grin. “The one hanging there, on the side of the grill?” Oh. Yes. That’s the one I have been missing. The one I hung there myself just moments before as I walked out the back door and started the grill. This, my friends, was the message I should have paid attention to. This was the clarion call to which I turned a deaf ear. What this should have been screaming to me was “You should not use the grill any more today. You are completely done grilling. Back away from the grill before someone gets hurt!” But I didn’t take the hint.


I finished cooking the burgers and served them up for the family when I remembered the squash. I had seen a lovely dish on Facebook where you season the squash and sprinkle it with cheese and grill it to perfection. That’s what I wanted to do, so while the grill was hot I hastily prepped my three lovely squashes, tucked them into the corner of the grill, turned it to “low” and then went inside to eat my lunch.

The afternoon was quite pleasant. After enjoying a lovely visit our family, I pushed up the foot rest, laid back on the recliner and fell asleep. Rested and refreshed, after my kids went home, my husband and I decided to go fishing! I have a few columns coming up as a result of that adventure so I won’t ruin the details now. By the time we returned home from a fun night fishing and then an impromptu ice cream date, I was ready to call it a night. We put our tackle away and headed off to bed.

Now, if you’re following this tale, you will notice that there was something important that I plum forgot about. Yep, the squash was still on the grill, long forgotten and roasting away to nothing. In fact, it wasn’t until around eight o’clock the next morning as I began to cook breakfast that something triggered in my mind. Squash. Oh my gracious, the squash! I dashed out the back door and lo and behold there was the squash, rather unrecognizable after eighteen hours on a grill. It greatly resembled long shriveled up blobs of charcoal sprinkled with mummified cheese. It crumbled into dust when I attempted to pick it up. Needless to say, after much laughter and many prayers of gratitude that the house did not burn down, I came to the conclusion that this incident was my most epic culinary failure to date and it may be hard to top. All I can say is that I should have quit while I was ahead!