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Thursday, July 15, 2010


I have no idea who invented the word, but I am much aware of the meaning of it. And since the art of barbeque-ing is, after terrible driving and the cutting each other in queues, a national hobby in Israel, my turn had come again to throw some meat on the coals for my friends and family.

When our children were still young and had no count of time, I used to get the right amount of respect for my labor, although I must confess that I have absolutely no talent for it. Whenever we started a barbeque, our neighbors would the proud owners of a nice fire within fifteen minutes, while mine would not even burn. By the time I was ready to throw some meat on the coals, the children would either be fast asleep or their hunger would have passed. I have been contemplating for quite a while to find a course on the subject, but I never found one and when I asked friends about where to find one, I got pitying looks.

Since then, our children have grown up and got wiser. They know that it is far from normal to wait ninety minutes before any fire gets going. Neither do they believe that the wind or wet leaves are to blame. Their Dad simply can't barbeque. They are grateful that I do not have to provide my family barbeque-ing. "Dad will barbeque" is a good reason for jokes and friends, family and yes, even the love of my life, make fun of me.

This year it was my turn. Rosh Hashanah is a wonderful opportunity to visit the beautiful Carmel-mountains for a pick-nick. We had found a great spot and while the women prepared the table, I was sent to get the grill going. I had planned everything in advance: a big bag of charcoal, old papers and as secret weapon a little bottle with fuel. I'd show them!

Like a true professional I started to put paper in the grill. My daughters and son came to watch me. They brought the children of our friends along, so they all could see how little I understood of what I was doing. I was aware that their parents were watching me from around the table. But I was very sure of myself this time. I was smiling inside myself: they probably placed bets how long it would take me this time. Well, they all had a surprise coming!

I threw the charcoal over the props of paper and with an important look on my face took the bottle with fuel in my hands. Turned around to the kids, who were joined by their parents and opened the bottle. Emptied the bottle over the charcoal and the paper. Took a dramatic step back. Lit a match. Grinned at all the bad people behind me and threw the match on the charcoal and… nothing… Turned around and looked at sixteen people, grown-ups and children, who were trying not to laugh and were turning blue. I turned around and decided not to give up. Another burning match on the charcoal. Again: nothing!

The love of my life, at least, so I thought, came up to me and while everybody started to laugh loudly, gave me a kiss and a small bottle.

"It works better with fuel, plain water simply won't do the job.", she said, trying not to laugh.

Which the others did.

© Simon Soesan

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