Jon de Vos: Snowshoeing along the trapline
February 1, 2008
Al Gore notwithstanding, haven’t we seen some cold and windy days lately?
I’m writing a horror movie where global warming drives the rest of the country to congregate in Grand County and locals charge exorbitant sums to view the Last Ice Cube.
On Wednesday, my plan was to get home, change into bunny slippers, grab Steven King’s latest, “Duma Key,” snuggle into my favorite overstuffed lounger, perhaps to doze, perchance to dream of scantily clad women cavorting on tropical beaches. That was my plan and had that plan succeeded, this column would be slightly more boring than average and end right here.
But no. Things were proceeding nicely. I got home, scored the book, the slippers, the chair, the doze and was zeroing in on Pamela Anderson when a strident, yet strangely familiar voice pierced my Zen-like euphoria. Over and over, oddly the same words: Grill, the, light, grill, light, the, the. These words rattled around the fringes of my consciousness for a while, finally jolting me into that state known clinically as, “awake.”
In the dismal light of total consciousness, I realize that I’m supposed to light the grill. I looked out at the blanket of snow where the patio disappeared last fall. Sure enough, there was a little bump way out there where I remembered grilling last summer. I looked out at it for several moments, then I looked fondly back at the fire in the fireplace, put a bookmark in my book, assumed my best Robert De Niro face and said, “You talking to me?”
She carefully enunciated, “Would, You, Please, Light, The, Grill?” Her tone made the outdoors seem tropical. I turned the tables on her with a staccato-like series of penetrating questions punctuated with pathetic sniffles, “Huh? (Sniff) What grill? (Whine) Our grill? (Expletive Deleted) Our grill that’s outside buried in snow?” My voice quavered, making “snow” into a four-syllable word, broken at the end with a sob, “Why can’t we grill in the fireplace?”
Mrs. De Niro shot back, “You talking to me? Surely you aren’t talking to me. I have a new rub I want to try, so make sure the grill’s nice and hot.”
I stared for a moment before saying slowly, “It’s 40 below zero and you want a hot grill? Sure, it can be done, but I’ll need a corncob pipe and a carrot nose.”
She met my gaze evenly, “I’d help you with that,” she replied in a low voice, filled with menace.
I ran out the door, no sense in overheating the situation, grabbed my shovel and began flinging snow like a pre-infarction suburbanite. Didn’t take long, in glacial terms, before I was dancing with frostbite but after a false start where I uncovered the picnic table, I found the grill, first lump on the left. Triumphantly I twisted the ignitor which broke off in my hand. Eventually, I was able to get one side of the grill blazing by rubbing two icicles together.
Back in the kitchen, I found the dogs circling the “rub” like hyenas after a gerbil, so I snatched it from under their jowls, ran back outside and slapped in on the grill.
Ten minutes later, I came out to find the meat nicely criss-crossed with frost marks.
The propane had apparently given up as soon as I turned my back, but fortunately I knew there was a spare tank out here, somewhere. After a half hour of digging like a pirate whose map blew overboard, I found it, second lump on the right. By this time, the inner child wanted nothing so much as to go upstairs and change into something horizontal.
To the beat of the impatient tap, taps, tapping of my wife’s toe, I placed our magnificent entree in the middle of the table but I just had to ask, “Just what exactly is a ‘rub’ anyway?”
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