You don’t need anyone to tell you that in practically every area of the country this past week, it’s been unbearably hot. In Mister Boomer’s neighborhood, like many others, there has been a heat wave.
Mister B has recounted in earlier posts how we boomers used to keep cool in the age before air conditioning. There was another family tradition of sorts in the Mister Boomer household that occurred during heat waves back then, that probably will resonate with many boomers. That is, once the temperature started rising for a few days in a row, Mister B’s mother would declare, “It’s too hot to cook.” And that was that. She had the first and last word on the subject, so the stove was off-limits. She couldn’t stand the heat, so she was staying out of the kitchen.
Instead, her declaration was the starting gun for Mister Boomer’s dad to grill in the backyard. On such short notice, the meal would have to be whatever was on hand. That usually meant hot dogs or hamburgers, as these were made from inexpensive ingredients that were always stocked. Mister B and his brother would trek down the basement stairs to the storage area where the circular charcoal grill was kept in its original box. One carried it while the other grabbed the charcoal and charcoal lighter. We brought them up the stairs, through the back door and into the yard. There, the Boomer Brothers would flip the box over to spill the contents onto the grass. There was the shallow, black circular charcoal pan, a grill top, and three legs. One brother held up the charcoal pan while other slid the chromed legs into the pre-formed sleeves on the bottom of the pan to form a tripod cooking station. They placed a crumpled page of newspaper in the bottom of the pan and dumped charcoal on top of it. Mister B’s brother then took great delight in squirting charcoal lighter over the entire contents. After a quick run to the kitchen, where matches were kept, he ripped off a paper match, struck it on the cover strip, and tossed it onto the charcoal. With a big woosh of flames the pile came alive, setting the stage for cook-master dad.
So, in the spirit of Mister B’s mom and her “it’s too hot to cook” declaration, I’m declaring it’s too hot to write this week. Instead, please enjoy this encore presentation of classic Mister Boomer posts about how we beat the heat: