As a sentimental male, I tend to get too attached to things. Cars, pocket knives, tools and stinky lawn mowing shoes.
Conversely, I am married to a woman who is not attached to anything and periodically will tear through the house like a Tasmanian Devil pitching everything that she has not used in a year. Thankfully, she can’t open jars, or I would have been gone years ago.
My latest heart-wrenching decision for property disposal was my charcoal grill. Originally, it was a small gas grill that threatened to level a good portion of my neighborhood when its gas tank began leaking and hissing and bubbling.
Rather than put it away in the garage in this condition, I moved it to the middle of the back yard and said, “Come on kids, let’s go have some fun in the crawl space for a few hours or until the shock wave has passed. You can come too, dear,” I said to the wife, but she was too busy pitching stuff that she hadn’t used in a year.
That was 35 years ago. The tank emptied itself and I decided then and there that I would never have another gas grill. But rather than pitch the grill (which I seem to be genetically incapable of) I converted it to a charcoal grill.
For decades, that little old grill served me well, searing and scorching most every kind of domestic meat available. Very often my grilled entrees looked like the charcoal I cooked them on.
I went through umpteen coal racks and grilling grates trying to keep my faithful grill going, and for years the wife made her pitch about the grill’s future.
“Honey, it’s time we get a new grill and pitch this one. Look at it! The only thing holding it together is the 2-inch coating of grease and rust. The last time I gave blood, my iron level was off the charts from the last steak you cooked on that rusty grate. Hamburgers should not have a breading of rust. IT’S TIME FOR A NEW GRILL!”
“FINE!” I said heart-broken, but resigning that she was right. The last time I flossed, I got a bolt out from between my incisors, which I’m sure came from a loose hinge on the grill lid.
So the next day I had a private little ceremony with my grill, thanking it for its years of service, and then I dismantled it (basically by blowing on it) into parts that could neatly fit into my garbage can. I gently laid a bouquet of hot dogs on top of the garbage can and wheeled it out to the curb for trash pick-up. (I will pause here for a moment of silence… anyone need a tissue?)
After an appropriate period of mourning, roughly 37 minutes, I left the house to purchase a new charcoal grill. (Still no gas grills for me. The kids went through years of therapy after our stint in the crawl space waiting for a propane Armageddon from our barbecue of mass destruction.)
I selected the “acorn” grill, aptly named for its shape. It is awesome and can grill, smoke, sear and bake. You can even make pizza in it. My very first meal on it was barbecued chicken.
“Honey,” the wife said coming outside to see how I was doing, “shouldn’t the coals go under the cooking grate?”
“That’s the chicken,” I said proudly. “I think it’s almost done.”
The chicken was almost edible. I guess there is a learning curve when you get a new grill. But at least I won’t be spending any time in the crawl space with this one.
Raul Ascunce is a columnist for the Bowling Green News-Sentinel, a sister publication of The Lima News.