The barbecued dinner that wasn’t


Picture this. It’s Memorial Day and the annual parade route rolls right past your house. A slew of people will be walking past your house. What do you do? Half of the Steiners take advantage of the opportunity to market two of the bicycles ousted from the family stock. Within minutes they were snapped up. 

Now picture this. It’s 11:30 a.m. and the husband casually announces to daughter number one that the Legion is having a Harlan’s chicken bbq. Never one to turn down Harlan’s, she is in the car before words are out of his mouth.

Not wishing to rain on their proverbial parade, I kept my mouth shut (yes, I know…hard to believe). Actually, while I didn’t say what I was really thinking, I suggested they get three dinners since daughter number two had just passed Dayton  on her way from Cincy. I usually only eat some of the chicken from Dad’s share.

So off they went…as the unspoken thought again crossed my mind that we’ve been down this road before…no pre-purchased tickets can be a problem with a sell-out crowd of Harlan’s on Memorial Day. Sure enough, a few minutes later, daughter number one stormed into the house, bellowing, “He didn’t buy tickets.”

Trailing behind her was poor old dad, befuddled, embarrassed, eyes downcast. Turns out we could wait until 2 p.m. to pick up the leftover dinners, but apparently their stomachs didn’t agree with that idea.

Two pairs of eyes looked at me…somewhat hopefully. To which I answered, “Don’t look at me. I’m NOT grilling chicken today.” (A), our grill melted; and (B), I had other plans.

Says dad to irate daughter, “Let’s go buy a rotisserie chicken.” Ah, but she’s lived in the big city far too long. “The grocery here actually has them? And it’s open? You sure???”

So…off they sped again as I sent up a fervent prayer to the god of policemen who patrol Grove Street. Luck was on the Steiner side — the cops were either out to lunch or parked in one of the other local speed traps. Wait…did I say that?

And yes, the local grocery came through with one of those wonderful answers to those who don’t want to cook….a beautifully browned rotisserie chicken.

Daughter number two showed up just in time to help demolish the “it’s not Harlan’s but it’ll do in a pinch” chicken. She gave a brief howl of “Dad, you didn’t…not again?”

To which he responded, holding up the remains of the bike sale profits, “Thanks to my astute failure to purchase said tickets, we have successfully saved 75% of our profit.”

There’s always a skinflint in the bunch.

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