Monday, May 11, 2009

Family BBQ - Wedding Shower

Our family (The Cumalanders) will think of any reason to have a BBQ. We typically try to have one once a year, and will think of any excuse. We've had them to celebrate retirements, new babies, graduations, and weddings. We've had them for no reason at all. This year, however, we were celebrating my baby sister's wedding, which will happen on June 20th.

There's lots of prep work involved with these BBQ's. My uncle typically buys a host of hams and shoulders, chickens, ribs, etc. Then, we prep his "pit" area, and spend the better part of two days setting up tables, icing meat, prepping meat, and general clean-up. This year, I didn't help nearly as much as I should've. My family is probably tired of the "baby excuse" but hopefully they understand. We did try and help some, babies in tow.

Josie and Wes mostly played around....

But Josie did do some cleaning (really she liked this part because it involved water).

This is a shot of the entire "pit area". You can see where they make the hash, and then of course the "pit" where all the meat is cooking. The barrels out front are where you burn wood to get ashes to add to the "pit". You can't add burning wood to the "pit" or you'd burn the meat so you have to burn the wood, then add the ashes. I know, its confusing for me too. I really just do as I'm told all day and pick up on tidbits of BBQ'ing knowledge.

The men turning the meat (its hard to get a good picture of this because it stays so smokey).

This is Grady. He's my grandmother's first cousin (but more like a brother). He's 80+ years old, but can outwork any of us. He's the head of the operation and pretty much tells everyone what to do, politely of course. Rather, he suggests what he would be doing at that time (i.e. "I'd flip the meat over now if I was ya'll") which is our cue to follow his directions. He knows more about BBQ'ing than the rest of us combined. He's a good teacher though, and our Uncle Fred pretty much knows how to run the show, but he likes to get Grady's advice.

The BBQ'ing is a LOT of work, but its all worth it to listen to men all day long talking about how they used to do this on a regular basis when they were growing up. They talk about how their gardens are growing and "how so and so is doing". Its fun to listen to them. This is also what makes it worthwhile:

Several generations of the Cumalander family still get together once a year to fill their bellies with wonderful food. My grandfather had 7 siblings (one was killed in WWII). None of them are alive today and only two of their spouses are still living (one being my grandmother). Still, all of their children, and their children's children, and now their children's children's children are getting together to enjoy each other's company. Its really wonderful if you stop and think about it. This is the real reason that we enjoy BBQ's so much. Its the fellowship, not the food (although the skins are hard to beat).

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