Grilling as a metaphor for life

Noah grill 3

This is what I am thinking about as I take a photo of Noah holding a beer and tending to his community grill fire. Wings, wings, wings. And not chicken. Where is that little boy who came up the stone steps to the house crying, clutching a green construction paper notice that he’d been bad at school that day? Where is that little boy who ran downstairs every morning to climb in bed with King Daddy and me.

And then I realize. He’s right here. Grown up. Confident. Smart. Wings. He’s already flown away as he is supposed to do. But today I will give him a few of the last remaining roots I have to offer. I will teach him to grill, what I consider a primal and necessary skill.

So let’s get to that “community grill” at Noah’s apartment near the University of Tennessee. As I feared, it was a living, breathing path to botulism. Avert your eyes if you’re squeamish.

Noah grill 1

The clinging bits of food long past whatever prime they were in, and that is questionable, have been exposed to the elements for…oh… who knows how long? Flies. We could speak of flies, but we won’t.

So King Daddy cleaned off the grates and shoveled about 17 pounds of ash out of the bottom of the grills. Noah lit the fire and we waited. I had not counted on this. Generally speaking, when I am waiting for coals to ash in the grill, I can go about my business for awhile. But the sign next to the grills explicitly stated: DO NOT LEAVE THE GRILL UNATTENDED.

Noah went to fetch Mommy some wine.

Long story short, Noah used the pristine grill grate we bought him. He grilled a pork tenderloin entirely by himself. Mommy perhaps relived a few too many moments of her college career, sipping Chardonnay in a Solo cup and not being the least embarrassed about it. And then the three of us went up to Noah’s apartment and ate the whole thing.

Noah grill 5

I’m proud of you, boy. Taming the fire. Producing food. How caveman of you. And I mean that in the best possible way. As I said, grilling is primal. I will think of something else to teach you. Roots. Wings. I hope I have a trick or two left.

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