Father’s Day barbecue
knows he will have nothing to say to Richard’s neighbours, most of whom will want to compare and contrast barbecues and burgers. Valerie was good at moving these monotonous conversations into more sparkling territory. Andrew can only nod and make agreeable noises about hickory woodchips versus charcoal.
When Alison, his daughter-in-law, opens the door, Andrew is happy to see a pack of very nice-looking rib-eye steaks in her hands. “We wouldn’t make you eat sausages, Andrew,” she says, kissing him on both cheeks. “Anyway, you don’t want ketchup all over that nice shirt I got you for Christmas.”
In the back garden, Andrew’s spirits lift again. Not only to see the Pimm’s — Valerie loved Pimm’s — but to see a proper table and chairs, with a proper tablecloth and proper cutlery. Furthermore, there’s only a small gathering of neighbours, including that nice Dorothy from up the road who was widowed last year. Andrew sometimes sees her at church.
“Dad, we did what you said and we got the gas grill this year,” Richard says, handing him some long tongs. Andrew has no recollection of expressing a preference for a gas barbecue, but he’s willing to go along with it, glass of cold Pimm’s in hand. That way, he can keep away from the school-choice chat with the younger set and exert control over his steak. There are two in the pack Alison handed him, nice ones, too. Andrew wonders if Dorothy likes a nice steak.