Monday, August 4th, 2014

In spite of the dark clouds overhead last night, I knew it wasn’t going to rain. Knew it. It was too hot to rain, it didn’t smell like rain, and it hadn’t rained in four weeks. I was gonna light a fire in the grill and burn some sirloin steaks for dinner, because there would be no rain.

Almost as soon as I lit the fire and went inside, it started to rain great big drops, the kind that sound so much like hail stones that I was looking around for them as I dumped the coals into the grill and covered it, just as a precaution. I still had no doubt in my mind this was just a passing shower and it would be over in a minute, but what I started the fire with was all the charcoal we had, so I wanted to keep it as dry as possible. The briquettes at the bottom of the chimney I use for firestarting already had orange-glowing fringes, but the charcoal at the top was cold. If it got wet at all, it would make starting the fire that much harder.

Almost as soon as I went back inside, the rain stopped. I figured, give it a few minutes, just to make sure, so I sat back to finish the newspaper article I had been reading.

I was three or four paragraphs from the end when the rain started coming down again, harder this time. I put the paper down and went to frown at the rain from the front door. The sun was shining! There was one – One! – dark cloud overhead dumping rain on us, rain that got heavier and heavier with each passing minute.

I would’ve wheeled the grill into the garage and started the fire in there if I’d thought for a second that it might actually rain so hard. Now the grill was too hot to move, all the charcoal I had was in it, and the fire hadn’t spread to more than a half-dozen coals. If I opened the lid in this downpour, even under the protection of an umbrella, I’d probably lose the fire.

There was no way we were going to eat sirloin steak broiled in the oven, though, not at the price we paid for it. Had to be done on the grill for that oh-so-smoky flavor and a criss-crossing of blackened grill lines. Nothing for it but to hop into the O-Mobile and drive to the corner store to pick up another bag of charcoal. Back home, I started a second fire in the emergency back-up Weber grill (got to be ready for anything) that I had wheeled into the garage.

Once that fire was hot enough to throw the steaks on, the rain stopped and not another drop fell on our neighborhood all night. Of course.

downpour | 6:00 am CDT
Category: cook-out, food & drink
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