Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Grill, Weather, and Death

Charbroil 860

Let's start this story about my grill by tying in something completely unrelated.  On my Facebook Page last week, I posted a picture that Kathy took of me fishing on a Sunday morning at Wolf Lake on the Indiana-Illinois border.

There were the usual comments that you would expect for a picture like this:  "Did you catch anything?", "Really looks peaceful."  One comment, though, made me think a little longer.  It was, "Sometimes my imagination is an awful thing... while looking at this picture of Dan relaxing by the water, I thought, "What would Dan do if a tsunami rolled in?"

I am actually fairly certain of what I would do.  I would sit there, watch it roll toward me, instantly realize that there was nothing I could do, and I would calmly wonder if I would catch a fish before I died.  I would have a smile on my face that I cracked a joke to myself just before I met my Maker.

Now, the reason I am fairly certain of this is because of the several times in my life when I had a decent chance of being killed and I rather calmly experienced what I was going through.  Well, actually the first time I wasn't very calm.

The storm moving into the city

Ilene, Phil Nava, Jean Nava, and myself were walking across a sage flat in Utah in the late 70s when a storm blew up.  We could see it miles away, but had a long way to go until we reached shelter.  Jean and I were walking in the front and Phil and Ilene were walking several feet in back of us.  As the storm blew in, all of a sudden I felt as if I were hit hard on the head by a baseball bat and a jolt went through my body.  Jean felt the electricity on her side facing me and Ilene and Phil felt it on their front.  I instantly started screaming, "I've been hit by lightning!", "I've been hit by lightning!"  My second thought was, "How stupid would I look if I crawled the mile or two until we reached shelter?"  I was really freaked!  It certainly changed my view about the denial of mortality that most of us live under.

The beginning of the rain hitting downtown

The second time I was un danger of serious harm occured when Danny and I were swimming in the ocean and we got picked up by a rip current.  It is every bit as powerful as they say.  You cannot, and I mean cannot, swim against it.  We were being dragged out toward a jetty where several people had been killed just that year.  I grabbed Danny under my arm, with his face up, just as I was taught to do years earlier by Coach Pretzel in the Red Cross life saving class I took in high school, carried him on my left hip and swam with all of my might parallel to the shore until I got out of the current.  I wasn't nervous or scared.  I was focused.

Some serious rain blocking our view of downtown

The final time I thought I was in serious danger was when Danny and I were camping in the Ozarks on a fishing trip during his early teen years.  A large and powerful storm front moved through around midnight, bringing massive thunderstorms with lighting and intense winds.  Our Eureka Timberline tent was almost pressed flat and the lightning storm was like a flickering flourescent bulb.  I laid over Danny for about ten minutes (in case a branch would break off) and waited until we had a chance to escape to the car.  As we drove around after the storm passed, we saw a lot of damage and listened to radio reports of funnel clouds and damaged buildings.  Again, no fear, just focus.

The view after the storm

Why am I not afraid of death?  Well, it's not because I am brave or fearless.  I honestly think that it is that I am comfortable with my relationship with God.  I have tried to do the right thing most of my life.  I have failed miserably on any number of occasions, but I really feel like I could stand before my Maker and say, "I have tried."  After that, it's all about His/Her Mercy.  So, let the tsunami roll!

Hello?  Hello?

What does this have to do with the Grill? 

The grill was a Father's Day present the first summer after we had moved into the Kilbourn Homestead.  It was 1987 and Danny was about 2 years old.  From that time on, I had a grill that I would totally love.  I can't imagine how many meals have been made on it.  I have used it for family parties with up to a hundred people being fed off of it at one time.  When Kathy and I moved into the condo, I could not be without it.  I actually had to hack saw off the side shelves so that it would fit on the balcony.  The guarantee on the firebox was something like five years... it is going on twenty three.  I will spend whatever I need to in order to repair it and keep it cooking until I do some grilling for Jesus when I get to heaven.

Has Dan lost his mind?  Where is his train of thought going?  Has the bourbon finally fried enough brain cells to make him incoherent?

It all fits together here.  While I was grilling tonight, a huge thunderstorm rolled into the city.  As the coals were in the starter chimney, there were sheets of rain blocking out our view of Downtown.  I thought of the time in the Ozarks and how thankful I am for all of the blessings in my life.  I am comfortable with my mortality because I am thankful for all of the good things God has given me.  And yes, I am very thankful for my grill.

Here's my recipe for Grilled Lamb Steak

2 pieces 1 inch thick leg of lamb steak (not shoulder chops) 
Juice of one lemon
Freshly ground black pepper, about a tablespoon
2 cloves garlic, passed through a press
1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano.

1.  Place all of the ingredients in plastic bag and marinate for 2 to 3 hours.
2. Grill over a high heat for 7 minutes on each side.  (Preferably in a 23 year old Charbroil 860.)
3.  Let rest for two to three minutes in a warm area.
4. Serve and enjoy.

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