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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

An American Cookout

As part of our Memorial Day festivities, the children wanted a real American cookout.  Alright, make that “Benedetto wanted a real American cookout.”

A few chicken and veggie kabobs would have suited me beautifully, but alas, that was not to be.  It would have to be fat, full fat, and nothing but full fat, in order to be sufficiently Fun.

“Shashlik?” inquired Petya excitedly.  Shishkebab?

“Kolbasa ee bifsteak,” Benedetto replied in Russian.  Sausage and steak.  Spoken like a true Italian-American living with the rest of us Russians.

The two boys followed him to the backyard grill like puppies licking their lips, hot on the trail of the Pied Piper dropping sausages in his path.  They threw sticks, chased the dogs (who were also licking their lips), and picked mint for Mama, while Benedetto worked on a barely-balanced barbeque, a sort of a highwire hibachi.

We were blessed in the city to have a fenced back yard with a little running room, but never being here on the weekend, we had neglected investing in a proper grill like we had at the dacha.  Thus, the haphazard hibachi, this mini grill, balanced precariously on a tiny metal table.  Personally, I liked to keep my distance, while having the Fire Department on speed dial, just in case.  It made me nervous to see boys and dogs circling nearby the leaping flames.

I made an appearance outside, bugs attracted to my face in ninety-degree weather like flies to sticky paper, hair starting its hari-kari descent into Afro-world.  I wondered if I should wear Versace or Armani simply to be covered in plumes of smoke in two seconds or less, while smiling for the children and gasping for air.  It had been said that bugs flew away when faced with smoke, but apparently we were faced with the urban guerrilla variety who had not yet kicked the smoking habit.

We had no picnic table, thankfully, so would need to be dining indoors with airconditioning.  Can you say “hooray”-?   I was plum out of plastic table cloths, too, but did acquiesce to whipping up some potato salad to lend to the pseudo-picnic atmosphere.  My Middle Eastern mentality threw in a delightfully seasoned couscous salad with chunks of chicken, spring onions, cucumbers and tomatoes.  A few brussel sprouts with a bit of butter that the kids gobbled up in no time, made me feel better about the meal, particularly when we cut up the steaks and sausages into smaller pieces.

One tiny piece slipped to the floor and Grisha the grabber was on it lickety-split.

If anyone desired toothpicks for the teeth, or just to wear sticking out the side of the lips as a fashion accessory, I was plum out of those, too.  On purpose.  Go upstairs and brush and floss your teeth, thank you.  (There’s only so much country you can squeeze into the city.)

There, around the dinner table, the two of us recounted our fathers’ experiences during World War II, along with one of Benedetto’s uncles shot down over the Mediterranean. We covered the European and Pacific Theatres, and they ended up watching online color footage from Normandy’s D-Day invasion.

“So many died…” they murmured in disbelief as wave after wave of soldiers stormed beaches.  They were touched by the sacrifices that others made for all of us.

A good day, in a different way.


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4 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar Phyllis says:

    You know that you can probably find used plastic tablecloths at a Thrift Shop. : ) Your fare was better than ours, we had brats, which we love, and “tube steaks”! With 5 boys, that was perfect with the baked beans.
    We have always spent the weekend watching the war movies on television. I still cry while watching most of them. And The Longest Day……!!! I cry nearly the whole way through the second half of that movie!
    By the way, the boys and I watched a PBS show this morning that I had recorded a few weeks ago about Israel. I was thinking of you while watching. I think this is really the first time that I have ever seen “modern” Israel except for what they show on the news. I was amazed at what I saw. Beautiful!

    • avatar admin says:

      Okay, Phyllis, maybe for the Fourth of July we’ll plan a little picnic (indoors, of course) with the good china… and the plastic tablecoths-! Note to self: must head back to Goodwill….

      Yes, Israel is breathtaking in so many ways. My photos and videography don’t do it justice. Maybe one of my kids can learn more and be the next Cecil B. DeMille.

      I know what you mean about the sad movies. I was never an emotional person, but since children, everything touches me in a different way. “Mama’s crying again…” whether it’s a film, a book about someone’s sufferings, etc. It could just be sheer exhaustion wearing me down, hah….

  2. avatar Phyllis says:

    lol. My bios would just sit waiting for me to gain control as I was reading aloud to them. It took me 10 minutes to gain enough composure to continue reading Johnny Tremain! I completely lost it when Dr. Warren died at the Battle of Bunker Hill!!! I finally had to pass the book to my son to read while I had kleenex in my face. : o) Motherhood DOES change things! I felt really embarassed about “my problem” until another homeschool mom said she had the same problem. She would always lose it while reading about Corrie TenBoom and missionary biographies.

    • avatar admin says:

      Yep, Phyllis, we read a lot of autobiographies of amazing young people, and I’m always saying, “These are real kids-!” and their eyes open wide and mouths drop open. I always imagined the reaction was to the story… now I’m wondering if they’re not concerned about me, lol….

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