Charcoal: (v) to cook over charcoal.
My dad tried hard.
I didn’t know it at the time–I was a teenager and I thought he was an old man. He was pretty old–older than most of the dads.
Sometimes he would imitate joy over having me as a son. I was usually watching television at the time, and unaffected by his attempts at
conversation. Then, when I needed five dollars to take a girl on a date, he distanced himself from me–protecting his pocketbook.
We never connected. But to his credit, he never stopped trying.
He even decided to go out and buy a really cheap grill from Buckeye Mart, complete with charcoal briquettes and lighting fluid. He was determined to grill hamburgers in our back yard.
He had no experience.
The first half hour was spent trying to figure out how to ignite the charcoal. Then he ended up wasting about two pounds of hamburger because he didn’t know you were supposed to wait until the fire went down. I faithfully stood by his side watching as he told me I would be taking over the grill in just a few moments.
I never did take over the grill.
The charcoal he bought was so cheap it wouldn’t stay lit and the lighter fluid was bargain brand and not very effective.
So at the end of the excursion, my father presented a platter of hamburgers that looked like charcoal briquettes, and some that were still raw.
It was a fiasco.
It would have been fine if he had laughed at himself or admitted his lack of foreknowledge. But he didn’t. He blamed Buckeye Mart for having inferior products and me for not being adequately motivated.
It is not a good memory.
But it does remind me that a sad man–who happened to be my dad–kept trying to please a very bratty son.