Stephen Fahey: First BBQ of the year

Yesterday, venturing deep into the back of the haunted cave, also known as the garage, past the cobwebs, under a blanket of dust thick enough to kill an asthmatic, I found the BBQ. He wasn’t in the best shape he’s even been in, having been neglected for almost a year. But I wheeled him out, cleaned him down, gave him a little pep talk, and then lit that sucker up like a Christmas tree.

The first BBQ of the year is always a fun event. This time it was just a little meal of sausages and pork neck, with aubergine and chillies. But, getting to play with fire, drink beer and choke half to death on the smoke, at the cost of little more than one eyebrow, one’s inner ape was only delighted with itself. Once it managed to get the pig to sit still on the grill, that is.

The fact that it didn’t rain for a whole day was also a blessing. Most BBQs in Ireland end with, or entirely consist of tongs in one hand and umbrella in the other. But this time no such preventative measures were necessary. It was almost as if the Gods knew that dead things were being torched for human enjoyment, and that they agreed with such a practice and so kept the clouds elsewhere.

That sweet scent and the sonorous sizzle, the smiles and songs and the glint of sunshine on tanning skin all swam together in a soup of superb splendour such that one was as were the apes of old when they first discovered fire. The mix of sights and sounds and the excruciating wait with plate in hand, and the eventual, but never soon enough, moment of succulent indulgence that finally followed, all made that simple, ancient warrant of emotion so fine.

Today, however, the lazy remnants of smoke still linger in the air and make me long for a breakfast BBQ, but, of course, one didn’t get the bag of breakfast charcoal, did one? No. To one’s dismay. But soon, after a brief run to the shop, one shall lose that second eyebrow – because BBQ makes everything ok. It is the cure to disease and war and famine and to this raging hangover that yesterday’s BBQ forced on me, ahem, entirely against my will.

Go. Kill something. Light something else on fire. Then hoist your dead thing onto your burning thing. Then get tipsy while the burning thing makes the dead thing a tasty dead thing. Then eat that glorious marvel. And sing, and dance, and be merry, for summer is finally here and tomorrow it could rain.

Stephen Fahey

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