In the last months of summer I moved from my townhouse on the edge of the suburbs to a small apartment in St. Boniface, right on the edge of downtown. Even though my new place is much more attractive, cheaper and more efficient in a lot of ways, the one thing it’s missing is a grill.
Better known in these parts as a barbeque.
The barbeque is an essential part of a young person’s life. In fact, I would say being in possession of a ’que is just as important owning a wok or a slow cooker. Having one allows people to cook meals in a way that would be impossible in the oven. But on top of its general usefulness, the barbeque is also extremely symbolic.
For example, over the summer I would be sitting over my desk writing like a mad person, meeting deadlines while trying to keep sane in an overheated townhouse when my brother Gerard would climb up the stairs quick as a flash and bound down the hall to my room yelling something like: “I hope you’re hungry you bastard. I’ve got a couple of burgers on the grill and ice cold beers in the fridge!”
He would then slap me on the back, give me the thumbs up and take off towards the front stoop where the barbeque was slowly cooking four or five patties of ground beef. He would light a smoke — a Captain Black cherry single — and open a beer.
Even though some people find the smell of cigars revolting, I rather enjoyed the mixed aromas of the grilling burgers and the sweet smoke of the cigar, and before long I found myself filing my story and heading downstairs.
On my way I would, of course, swing by the fridge and grab myself a beer — or two if I felt like downing the first one. Either way, I could see the bright sun outside and smell the burgers cooking and immediately my mood would lighten.
Walking into the sun after a few hours of sitting in my corner office was always a treat, and it was even better when greeted by good company and delicious food.
This is what the barbeque symbolizes for me. Not just the idea of delicious burgers roasting away, waiting to be dressed and devoured, but the convenience of cooking outside, while drinking beer and talking. Hell, we even had a spatula with a beer bottle opener built into the handle.
This was always a brilliant feeling. Work done, dinner cooking and the sun shinning; a perfect example of what a barbeque symbolizes for me.
Not five minutes later, after sitting and talking for a while, my brother would go into the shed and grab two golf clubs and a small box of balls, and we would walk over to the river side, where we would hit golf balls into the Red for a few minutes while the burgers finished up.
After a few drives into the river and some good laughs, we would return to the stoop where the burgers were finishing up. We tossed on the last aspects of the burger, be it mushrooms or sautéed onions, and then went inside to eat.
Even though all we were doing was making dinner, we were also having a good time. A good time that was caused almost entirely by the idea and awesomeness of the grill.