About this time every year I start to get twinges of regret. Actually, “twinges” is an understatement.
It all has to do with a grill.
One Friday, several years ago, I decided that I was finally and officially fed up with my two dinky sofas. My mother had been alternating between discreetly urging me and pointedly telling me that I must get a new sofa. The white loveseat that we’d had for the past ten years was now a dingy white and the upholstery was frayed and torn, in places revealing the foam stuffing. The brown loveseat isn’t even worth mentioning (when we tried to drop it off at Gift and Thrift, they wouldn’t take it).
So bright and early the following morning, I looked in the newspaper and discovered two moving sales. We piled everyone in the car and drove across town. At the first place they were selling total junk, just bits of plastic and fuzz. But at the next one, boy oh boy! It was a whopper of a fine house and a whopper of a sale. The ad had mentioned sofas, but I didn’t see any, and when I asked the lady, she said the sofas were still in the house and they were planning on waiting till one o’clock to show them (I am still puzzling over their rational, if it can be called that). I cheerfully explained that it would be really difficult for us to come back at that time since then the children would be napping, so could I please, pretty please, just peak at them now? She obliged.
The first sofa was a dark green, down-filled piece of work from Ralph Lauren. They wanted 350 dollars for it. I pointed out that the cushions were all squished flat, so how about 300 dollars? She plumped the cushions up and in an irritated voice explained that’s just what the cushions did because they were down-filled. But she said she’d sell it for 325 dollars. Okay, I said, we’ll take it.
I was on a roll, so when Mr. Handsome found a big outdoor grill, a Webber, which, he informed me, was a really good one, I glanced at the 125 dollar price tag and said sure, go ahead and buy it. He looked it over some more, hesitating a bit because of the price tag and because it’s in his nature to hesitate when he’s in customer mode, but after some more hemming and hawing he finally ambled over to the owner to tell him we’d like it. But another woman was already talking to the owner, and just as Mr. Handsome reached them, she slapped a sold tag on the grill, right in front of Mr. Handsome’s very eyes.
Oooh, he certainly didn’t like that! Naturally, at the moment he saw it was sold, he immediately realized how much he wanted it and what a great deal it really was. On the way to the car, he nearly fell on his face since he was kicking himself so hard in the butt.
I didn’t much mind Mr. Handsome’s mistake then since I was pretty high on my finds.
But every summer since then, I think of how Mr. Handsome hesitated one minute too long, and I deliver my own mental kicks to his skinny rear. And then I sigh and think longingly of that grill, of roasted ears of corn and hamburgers on the grill, of barbequed chicken, grilled peppers, Swiss chard (yes, I found a recipe for charred chard), steaks, hot dogs, asparagus, and pizza.
Oh well, I guess when it matters enough I’ll peruse the Saturday paper. Until then, we’ll just have to be satisfied with oven-roasted food and no charred chard. Which is probably just fine with the rest of the family.