Took Gabe to a Big Brothers/Big Sisters event today, which featured several Northwest Missouri State University Bearcat Football players.
There is something special about Division II football where fans (and kids) get to spend time with their favorite players.
Bearcat Running Back LaRon Council (pictured with Gabe) challenged the kids to Wii bowling during the event. Not sure how many games he and the other players won. Nice guys, those Bearcats. In any case, it reminds us that football season is just around the corner....
“This,” I said with hands on hips while glancing at the large charcoal grill that sat on the driveway, “is exactly why I asked the pastor to leave out the word ‘obey’ in our marriage vows.”
My husband, Jon, looked at me in complete innocence. “Come on,” he pleaded. “It’ll take two seconds. I swear.”
The day had finally arrived. The first game of Bearcat football season was set to kick off in less than five hours, and Jon was gearing up for a pre-game tailgate starting so early that the sun had barely cleared the horizon.
I knew this was an important day. I sighed and my shoulders slumped in defeat. “OK,” I said. “What do I have to do?”
His main objective was to load the heavy-as-hell charcoal grill onto the cargo carrier connected to the hitch on the back of our SUV.
“Tell me again why we’re doing this?” I asked as I bent down to get a good grasp of the grill’s bottom support. “Don’t you already have one of those travel grill thingies? Wouldn’t that be a lot simpler – and smaller – to take to a tailgate?”
Jon rolled his eyes and sighed in his must-I-explain-it-again? kinda way. Or, as a 100 percent-certified male, he was extremely disappointed to hear his wife refer to a grill as a “thingy.”
“No,” he answered, “because that is a gas grill and I need a charcoal grill today.” He said it slowly and patiently, as if I were a few IQ points short of the normal range.
I think, given the circumstances, one would legitimately understand my confusion. We have more grills in our house than the lawn and garden section of our local hardware store. Each, I am told, has a purpose that is unique to time and place. Like how we women feel about shoes.
“So,” I said with just a hint of sarcasm, “you want me to help you lift this bulky, heavy grill, weighing at least 100 pounds, three feet into the air then carefully set it down on that carrier without dropping and smashing it into a gazillion pieces?”
Jon nodded with enthusiasm. I think we really know who’s missing IQ points.
“Hello, have we met?” I asked and held out my flabby, granny-like arms and waved them in the air. “I jammed my finger last week just playing ball with the baby. You think I can actually do this?”
But he was a man on a mission and willing to overlook the small matter of my obvious lack of upper body strength.
“On three, let’s go,” he said cheerfully and smacked his hands together. Clearly the man was insane.
We both grabbed the grill and lifted. Well, Jon lifted. I managed a loud oomph noise, stumbled and veered a little to the right before finding my balance.
“You OK over there?” Jon called out.
“Gimme a second,” I answered. “I think my spleen just fell out onto the driveway.”
But he didn’t seem to notice. Or care. “OK, move it over and set it down,” Jon said. He might have been speaking English. However, with the blood pounding in my ears, it sounded more like Swahili.
With one final heave we managed to set the grill onto the carrier. Jon stepped back to admire our handiwork. I stepped back and took a good look at the car. And that’s when it hit me.
“Hey, babe,” I said with a smile. “Did you forget something?”
I reached over my head and grabbed the car’s rear hatch, which stuck high up in the air. I slowly began to pull the hatch down and looked over at Jon.
As I lowered the hatch inch by inch, his big smile slowly turned into a frown. Halfway down, the hatch was blocked by one large charcoal grill setting atop a cargo carrier. There was no way he could drive across town like that.
Jon’s jaw dropped. Then he muttered, “You gotta be kidding me.”
I howled with laughter at the look on his face. For all of about two seconds. That’s when I realized what this meant to me. We’d have to take the grill off the carrier, close the hatch and then lift it back on. Again.
“OK,” I said to Jon, “but you’ll have to let me find my spleen first.”
(originally published September 2005)