I like to grill in the wintertime. Even if it’s snowing. Especially if it's snowing. For me, there's something about firing up the flames in the cold. Some people disagree, like say, the girl at the Uhaul store where I get my propane tank filled.
So last night I was grilling burgers and veggie packets. It wasn't snowing but it was cold and rainy and I had to laugh when I noticed I still had my light saber in my belt loop. Having just survived another epic battle with my five-year old son down the hallway, it seemed like these days my dad duties are all over the galaxy. Just another work/school night in the household.
I brought in the packets and came back to toast the buns on the grill. I had a minute so I wandered out to the driveway. The street was quiet and slick from the rain. I turned to the front window of our house and caught a glimpse of my son performing his newest chore: setting the dinner table. I walked closer for a better view. To anyone outside, I was a man with a light saber standing in the cold staring at his own house. And yeah, that was half of it. But I was a man (with a light saber) taking in his good fortune.
I saw a little boy carefully placing the napkins and silverware, his little lips moving with a song or thought. I saw the pictures spanning the wall, tiny moments captured in time, held like specimens behind glass. I saw my wife, walking into the room, explaining a custom or memory with a smile, the boy's eyes going bright with wonder. I saw our two dogs, cozying up under the table where they might score a bite.
Without sound or distraction, I peered through my own window at what otherwise was lost in the shuffle. I was a step removed from a scene in the movie that is my life. I smiled, watching these characters I might take for granted. And it really was that simple. Time and Family. This. The good fortune to have the means to live in a house, no matter how modest, and to share a meal on a Monday. But perhaps what made it so special was that I could turn away and walk straight into that scene, take my place at that second table with two people I cherished. What a lucky guy.
So here’s to gray, gloomy Monday nights. To grilling with light sabers. To realizing luck, fate, and that glowing fortune framed in the window. To having no idea where the time went but knowing it was spent well.
Although I did burn the buns….