Back to the days of raising a family. We were enjoying summers at home. This article was written for the Houghton Lake Resorter, the weekly newspaper in my home town. The time was the early sixties. My boys were 13, 11, and 7. Dad was working at his Ace Hardware seven days a week. I was a stay at home Mom. The editor’s instructions were: “Write about any subject you choose”. Readers were invited to send recipes which were printed at the end of my column.
LET’S EAT OUTDOORS TONIGHT!
Here we are in the midst of the “let’s eat outdoors” season, and it’s a hearty and appetizing family time
for all ages.
Just mention grilled steaks and you’ll find Dad with eyes aglow and seasoning in hand
preparing to take over at least this one chore from Mom.
For him, the grill must be at a precise measure above the coals.
The steak must be of proper quality and thickness.
No one is allowed to infringe on Dad’s outdoor culinary domain. The man who enjoys this natural cooking is quite adept at presenting a pleasing and palatable taste treat for family and friends.
Cooking outside is relaxing, a fanciful comparison to his usual workday routine.
The approach is precise and scientific. Dad’s in command.
Let’s not overlook the fact that Mom also enjoys Dad’s taking over
in the grilling department.
The kids are wild about grassy carpets that lap up spilled milk. There’s a noticeable lack of such parental reminders as “don’t slouch” and “don’t talk so much” and “for heaven’s sake haven’t you eaten enough?”
Outdoor eating is fun time and the entire family welcomes the change of routine along with the cooling breezes after a warm day engaged in summertime tasks.
June, July and August are the months when hot dogs, hamburgers and potato salad become household words. Fried chicken, ham and iced tea are old standbys that we’ve come to love and enjoy.
Today’s family shares memories of the days when the picnic table beckoned, and everyone awaited the enjoyment of the outdoor eating season
* * *
“81″ Is Really Younger Than It Sounds..(That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)
The” Twentieth” something also sounds wonderful, although not nearly as poetic as the calendar would like us to think.
The grill now resides in a lonely spot on the deck.
Dad still does the grilling, then brings the meat into the kitchen. Hamburgers and pork chops will be eaten at the two table settings which Mom has prepared.
There we find two plates, two glasses of something, forks, knives, spoons and two slices of bread. (You get the picture.)
The call to dine finds the two of us already at the table.
There are no reminders about slouching
or talking too much.
Slouching is permitted.
There’s not much to talk about. The chops have been joined with potato salad, Dad’s baked beans and Mom’s cookies.
Iced tea remains a necessity.
The picnic table broke a leg.
It had to be sent to a table retirement home.
Let’s eat indoors tonight.
* * *
Here I am and times have changed once again.
Now it’s easier for me to go to a nearby restaurant alone and order a salad or a hamburger and a cup of coffee.
My husband and one of our sons have passed to their next life.
My oldest son lives “downstate” and the youngest remains in our hometown. Grand-kids have homes and children of their own along with busy lives.
And life begins again
with three great-granddaughters and another on the way.
That really is life and it’s still wonderful.
There are many plans for the future
with no limitations of time.
(As far as we know.)
Memories are good!
[email protected] Mary Anne Whitchurch Tuck
Photographs by Mary Anne