For a brief moment in my life I owned two barbecue grills. The older one, the one I bought, I’ll call “Maverick.” The younger one, the one I found on the side of the road one morning with a “Free” sign taped to her side, I’ll call “Sassy.”

Sassy, from the moment she got plugged into a propane tank, put Maverick to shame. Sassy’s ignite button actually worked.  I had forgotten that grills were supposed to light easily. To get Maverick out of bed, I had to turn on a burner and listen for a soft hiss. Then I’d have to throw lit match after lit match into its belly and run.

When Maverick came to life, angry  blue flames, for an instant, would leap out at me. It was like I’d awakened a dragon and he was trying to set me on fire. However, that was all an act. As happens to everyone as we get older, Maverick was slowing down. Back in the day, Maverick could fully cook a pizza on a pizza stone in 10 minutes. Now Maverick took 20 minutes to get the pizza delivered to the dinner table, and even then, some picky eaters in my family would remark sourly under their breath, “Still doughy.”

Sassy comes to life eager to please. I have to actually pay attention when I cook pizzas with Sassy. When I don’t, some picky eaters in my family sourly remark under their breath, “Burnt on both sides.”

Having two grills was nice, and I thought everyone was on board with having Maverick and Sassy in the front yard until I overheard my daughter, who’d earlier been looking at Google Maps, tell my wife that she could see the two grills from space.

“Why do we need two grills?” she asked. “That’s weird.”


“I agree,” my wife said.

Uh-oh, I thought.

Later that night at the dinner table, where important family discussions are held, the subject of Maverick and Sassy came up.

“One of them has to go to the dump,” my wife said.

“Agreed,” said the children, who, I noticed just then, looked more like my wife than they looked like me.

“No one needs two grills,” they all said.

“Pick one to take to the dump,” my wife motioned. Someone seconded. The vote was 3 “aye” and 1 “nay.”

For the next few days I moved through the stages of grief. First came anger, but that was over in minutes. Then came disbelief – disbelief that Maverick hadn’t blown me up after all these years. Then came acceptance – Maverick would take a ride to the Harpswell Transfer Station and get a close-up look at the scrap metal bin.

And when that fateful day arrived and my wife and I hoisted and then tipped Maverick up and over, I didn’t feel any sadness. Maverick had led a charring and fulfilling life. But he’d lost his sizzle, and no one likes to eat doughy pizza. Not me, anyway.

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