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  • Robert Bruce Adams

Outdoor Grilling

IT TOOK ME YEARS TO FINALLY ACCEPT PROPANE for outdoor cooking. I had been a die-hard “charcoal man,” through the formative years of backyard grilling. This period had spanned three marriages and several Weber’s. Unfortunately, many of the replacements arrived in differing colors (here I mean grills). I should have stuck to my guns and demanded black enamel. It is the only acceptable color for a grill. Stainless? It should be banned.

Just before I moved into my current loft, I helped my old buddy assemble a cheap black grill that he procured at the local hardware store for his weekend renters. Little did I know that two months later it would become my outdoor grill. Trust me, it wasn’t a Weber. Not even close. The brand name eludes me.

Steve was tired of renting out his small loft for half the price and twice the cleaning fee; and I was looking for new digs after I learned that my Traverse City landlord was selling my behemoth condo unit. After a night of visiting and drinking bourbon we struck a deal. I would become his new monthly tenant. That was six years ago. I only wanted a year to write my memoirs. Time sure flies. We are both still alive for some unknown reason, and I’m on a third book and am only a little behind in rent.

Anyhow, the grill is still here, tucked off the front porch around in back. The wheels have come off, the gas burners are rusted, and the on-off buttons are not legible. Oh, the click starter never worked. I spend about half the cash for propane during the same period that I did on charcoal. So, there are some redeeming reasons I still have it.

I naively thought the only danger I faced was the explosion I had to endure each time I lit the damn thing. Nope, I discovered a newer danger around liquid propane with a most memorable event.

Do not load up your SUV with a newly filled propane tank and park it on an incline and use the key fob to open the rear lift gate. My newly filled tank rolled out of the back of my SUV across the road and down into the Benzie Bus depot. Terrorists and fake news would have had a heyday had the thing exploded. Thank goodness for my luck. When I heard the tank hit my cement sidewalk, responding apparently to gravitational pull, I immediately moved into a worse-case scenario of it rolling into the back of the village's many shops creating the greatest news in Benzie County since half of Crystal Lake emptied into Lake Michigan under a grand plan by a real estate developer in the 1800s. Relax, it didn’t happen, the tank exploding that is. It hit a wood piling at the parking lot some 150 feet from my vehicle coming to rest waiting for me to retrieve it. Phew.

I was advised to wait a couple days before I hooked it up to the grill.

A Weber in black enamel has a charcoal or propane option these days. My rent is a bit below market so I only whimper a bit for a replacement, wondering which one Steve will spring for?

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