A Thunderstorm Can’t Stop My Family Cookout

My maternal extended family gets together for dinner once a month. It’s usually on the first Wednesday of the month. We often meet at a restaurant, but we have a cookout at my aunt and uncle’s home a couple times a year. We were scheduled to have a cookout and a hayride this month. I was quite excited because the family moved the date to a Saturday, which meant that my husband could join us. He works on Wednesday nights, so he’s not able to attend very often.

I discussed the plans with my husband and both of my kids. My hubby and step-daughter were interested in attending. I pictured a relaxing evening eating hot dogs, toasting marshmallows, and chasing my grandson around the yard while watching the sunset.

I purchased two new camp chairs and a vegetable tray three hours prior to the start time. It was sunny and warm. We were all set. I looked forward to perching upon a hay bale while my cousin drove us down back country roads where we could smell the honeysuckle and take a step back in time.


My husband and I left our house around 6:00 p.m. It was cloudy and windy, but not raining. By the time I got to my hometown, which is around 20 minutes away, we were having a deluge. Lightning was flashing in every direction. The wind and rain pounded the earth with punishing force.

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I drove to my aunt and uncle’s house, but I didn’t see any signs of life. So, I drove the couple blocks to my mom’s house. I pulled in the driveway as she was walking out the door. She jumped in my car, and we told her that we didn’t see anyone up the street. We were confused as to whether dinner was cancelled because we hadn’t received any communication one way or the other.

Obviously we were not having a hay ride, but we are hardy people. Mom called my uncle who told her that we were forging ahead, so we drove back up the street. My uncle opened his garage door, and we all darted inside. We had an intimate gathering of 13 people. My step-daughter and her family assumed dinner was cancelled due to the storm, so they stayed home.

My aunt fired up a gas camp stove, topped it with a griddle, and cooked some pork steak. My cousin made stir fried vegetables in a makeshift wok on another camp stove. We had my cold veggie tray, potato salad, coleslaw, and an array of desserts.

We sat in the garage and reminisced about old times. We remembered those who have gone before us. We talked about kids, school, jobs, retirement, medical issues, and touched on politics. The thunderstorm raged outside, and we didn’t particularly care. We were together and had full bellies. It didn’t matter that our original plans were ruined. We moved right on to to Plan B like nothing happened. There’s no way a little thunderstorm was going to stop my family.

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