Treena Mielke

Treena Mielke

Spring and barbecue season has arrived

Spring time and barbecue time in this week's Treena Mielke column.

By Treena Mielke

Spring, with all its gaily-wrapped promises of things to come, is finally here.

It seemed to take forever.

Recently, with the sun bright in a ridiculously blue sky and the blanket of snow covering the back yard becoming so thin that patches of mud and grass were clearly visible, I decided it was time.

Barbecue time.

I looked outside my kitchen window at the sun and sky and the way the miserable little patches of mud and grass were struggling to break free of the raggedy blanket of snow and I made up my mind.

“I think I’ll invite a few people over for a barbecue,” I said to my husband, casually.

He responded with his usual display of enthusiasm that usually follows such off hand, casual announcements coming from me.

“Okay,” he said, acting like he was not surprised, mostly, because he wasn’t.

He’s used to me, I guess.

Luckily for me, all the invited guests seemed to have been infected by a little bit of the same spring fever that I had come down with. They all seemed to think a barbecue was a great idea.

And so, in spite of the short notice, they all came.

Delighted with the prospect of having the first barbecue of the season, I marinated steak, created salads and baked a raspberry, apple crisp.

Finally, I opened my junk drawer which is a pathetic jumble of everything I don’t know what to do with looking for a lighter to light the barbecue.

I found one. Of course, it wouldn’t light. I think it must have died one cold February when I was lighting candles and the fireplace in an effort to create a mood of comfort and warmth against a cold, dark night.

I found another lighter. My junk drawer is like that. There are two of many things in there.

I go out onto the deck, which still looks like winter, with flowerpots full of dead brown plants hugging the corners, and lo and behold, there is my neighbor also lighting his barbecue.

“Got any barbecue sauce?” he yells over to me.

“Barbecue sauce,” I think to myself. “Oh, no, I have no barbecue sauce.”

I smile and wave. “Of course,” I yell back. “Do you need to borrow some?”

“No, I was only kidding,” he said with a laugh. “Of course I have barbecue sauce.”

“Of course,” I reply, relieved. “You can’t really barbecue without barbecue sauce. That’s for sure.”

We share a laugh and I go back in the house, mentally chastising myself. “How could I forget barbecue sauce?”

As we all know, necessity is the mother of invention and, in this case, creativity, and my niece, bless her heart, came up with the best homemade barbecue sauce ever.

And so it came to be that spring, delicate in her dress, charming in her manner, and perennial as the grass, stopped in at our house last weekend.

And as it so happened, several guests stopped by also, and, a good time was had by all.

And as the night progressed and darkness fell and the circle of friends and family sitting around the kitchen table chatted and laughed and visited comfortably together, one thing became pretty clear.

Even though spring is a most welcome guest, and has been a long time coming, it’s not the weather that makes for a night filled with fun and laughter.

It’s the people.

It’s always the people.

Treena Mielke is the editor for the Rimbey Review.