It was a warm Saturday and he was glad to have the week-end off work.
“Should we eat outdoors later?” his wife called out. “The kids always like hamburgers done on the grill. I’ll make a salad plus we have corn on the cob, which can be cooked on the BBQ side burner. Maybe fresh blueberries with ice cream for dessert. What do you think?”
Ken didn’t have to think too hard. He was envisaging a big burger with a couple of big beers.
“Let’s do it” he said.
Later that day, he fired up the BBQ and greased the rack in preparation for cooking the meat and put a pot of water on to boil for the corn. With all the preparation work¸ he thought he deserved a beer or two and so he indulged himself. His wife appeared with a bottle of wine and two glasses saying, “A little appetizer to go with our meal.”
They finished it off and she went back in the house, returning with a platter of raw meat burgers, shucked corn and another bottle of wine.
The kids were sitting at the picnic table drinking lemonade and awaiting their meal. They looked forward to preparing their own buns and lacing them with ketchup, then spreading lots of butter on the corn. They were allowed to pass on the potato and green salad. After all, it was Saturday and their day off too. Cleaning up on the ice cream but not the blueberries, they excused themselves and headed to the house to watch TV. Their parents waved them off and continued drinking wine. It was a lovely relaxing summer evening. They were drifting in their chairs, as darkness fell.
Taking her hand, he said, “let’s go inside and we can clean this up to-morrow.”
She readily agreed. It had been a lot of work preparing all the food earlier. She was also dozy from the wine.
The kids went to their rooms, as did their parents and the house settled down for the night. Once the kids determined their parents were asleep, they got out their comic books and started reading in the older boy’s room. It had a large picture window and without a blind, the moon shone brightly, thoroughly illuminating the room, as well the backyard.
Suddenly, they heard banging and crashing noises from outside. Going to the window, the boys were thrilled to see a Black bear licking the grease off the open uncleaned grill. He then scooped up the leftover corn cobs and ate them through. The butter had congealed but this was to be eaten as well.
“Wow!” said the younger boy.” He is using the BBQ as his personal drive through eatery. Should we wake and tell mom and dad?”
“No,” said his brother. “They will ruin the whole show for us.”
The bear then ambled over to the picnic table and it was his delight to find the fresh blueberries. He finished up licking the ice cream residue from the dessert bowls. Slowly sniffing the air and finding no more food, he made his way out the open back gate into the alley.
The boys were highly excited but decided not to tell their parents and then maybe the bear would return to-morrow. Maybe they could sneak some food out and leave it on the BBQ.
The next morning, they had breakfast with their parents and waited for the mess outside to be discovered. Lingering over his coffee, their dad finally said “I better go clean off the BBQ and bring some of the plates in to wash.”
He slipped on his flip-flops and went out. From the porch he saw that the BBQ grill and picnic table were in complete disarray. Walking over to the grill, he stepped into a pile of bear scat that was studded with bright yellow corn kernels.
“Oh shit!” he swore appropriately. Stomping his way to the garden hose, he proceeded to rinse his feet and the BBQ grill off.
The boys were watching from the kitchen window and were tittering. Their mother came up behind them and queried, “What’s so funny?”
“Nothing,” they said and dissolved into laughter.
Then she saw her husband, as well all the broken dishes scattered around the lawn.
Leaving the boys to their silliness, she went outside to help clean up and shut the back gate. They brought the BBQ rack and corn pot in for a thorough scrubbing using disinfectant. The dish pieces were gathered and put in the trash can.
“Well, she said, I didn’t know a greased BBQ grill could be used for a bear lick. We must clean up right after eating and make sure the gate is closed.”
Her husband’s response was to wheel the now covered BBQ into the garage and lock the door. There it would stay until next time.