A storm blew in our neighborhood a short time ago. It was one of those summer storms in Nebraska that packs a punch. Unfortunately, the storm was heading our way just as my husband headed out on to the deck to grill our dinner.
If you’ve read my books, you already know I have lovingly nicknamed my husband "The Grill King." The reason is simple – he loves to grill. He’ll grill anything – toast, bacon, your socks – he’s in lust with those Weber flavor bars and I’ve grown accustomed to his attachment. Believe me, I know it could be a lot worse. He could be driving around in a sports car ogling all kinds of young women at the stoplights, but instead, he’s passionate about the three-temperature cooking knobs, his new spatula, and whether or not he has enough propane to cook a three-pound roast.
As he put the chicken on the grill, I worriedly looked up at the sky. "It’s getting darker, honey," I warned. "If it gets too bad out there, you’re going to have to come in."
"Don’t worry," he replied. "It’ll blow over. That wall cloud doesn’t look that ominous!"
Ten minutes later, the television weatherman was doing his "thunderstorm dance" as he dashed from radar screen to radar screen, excitedly talking about the commotion in the sky that was about to cause havoc and mayhem and maybe even water the grass while it was at it.
I opened the sliding door and yelled over the now 40 mile-per-hour winds and tornado sirens, "HONEY, THEY SAID THE STORM WILL BE HERE IN 10 MINUTES."
"I’M FINE," he shouted as he hung on to the deck railing with one hand and flipped the chicken with the tongs in his other hand. "BRING ME THE BARBEQUE SAUCE."
Just as I turned around, I saw the grill brush blow off the deck and into the neighbor’s flower garden and my husband was wearing the grill cover like a skirt. I reached for the sauce in the refrigerator and opened the sliding door again – this time it was a little harder since the winds were up to 60 miles-per-hour.
"I THINK THE CHICKEN IS DONE!" I shouted.
‘IT NEEDS 10 MORE MINUTES!" he yelled.
"WHAT IS WORTH MORE? SIX CHICKEN THIGHS OR YOUR LIFE?" I questioned anxiously.
"PERFECTLY COOKED CHICKEN!" he answered.
"IF I SEE YOU RIDING A BIKE BY THE WINDOW LIKE THE WITCH IN THE WIZARD OF OZ, I’M GOING TO BE REALLY, REALLY MAD!" I threatened with a voice that was much scarier than the dark sky.
"SAVE THE CHICKEN IF I GET BLOWN AWAY!" he shouted. "IT’S GOLDEN BROWN ON THE OUTSIDE AND JUICY ON THE INSIDE THANKS TO MY THREE-TEMPERATURE COOKING KNOBS!"
By now, the winds were up to 70 miles-per-hour and the weatherman was crying, "If you live anywhere near the suburb outside of Omaha where the DeCosters live, get inside immediately. Danger!"
Just then, my husband threw open the deck door and handed me the platter full of … that’s right … perfectly cooked chicken … soaking in two inches of water.
As he stood there in the doorway, dripping wet and bedraggled, he grinned widely. "Just look at that beautiful chicken," he boasted. "The Grill King strikes again!" He held up his arms in victory, the spatula in one hand, the basting brush in the other.
I swear I heard trumpets playing somewhere in the distance after his proclamation, but it didn’t matter. The Grill King looked kind of cute, all proud and puffed up like the pastry he barbecued the other night for dessert.
He was so adorable in that moment that after the storm passed, I let him grill my favorite pair of slipper socks.