By Tessa A. Adams of Family Footnote
The town of Justice, Nebraska has a secret. A leader of men stands post in the backyard of a normal looking cul-de-sac, dripping with suburban charm. He is a preacher of sorts. His pulpit, the grill. His microphone, a freshly cracked beer snuggled in a koozie.
Much like Nietzsche, our hero stands professing truths uncovered by the other mortals 35 years old or younger. Only comfortable revealing his knowledge in his natural element, the backdrop to his sermon reveals an above-ground pool with his children splashing about innocently. They have no idea a man of this caliber resides in their father. No one does. That is, until he starts the charcoal.
Almost always, he is accompanied by others of his kind. Dad-bod boasting creatures who grunt and shake their heads at “kids these days.” Armed with a knowledge only given to a man in his prime, he begins professing a list of people “on notice.”
Adorned in cargo shorts, flip flops, a t-shirt, and a hat, he feels his grill uniform is sufficient for meetings of this kind. He admits distrust of any man boasting a bun-beard combo, jewel-embedded back jean pockets, and Bluetooth earbuds, and he feels a responsibility to warn his followers of this species. His nemeses tend to be in their twenties and do not know the struggles of the early man.
With them, his patience is receding as quickly as his hairline. They will never understand how things used to be. They will never have the scars to prove the struggle. He has proof of his. His hands are callused from years of fixing things with trial and error, absent of the guidance of YouTube, looking up information in an encyclopedia, and opening cans with only perseverance and a fork.
His legs, muscled and tired from the many journeys of his youth uphill both ways in a snowstorm, hold him up like a deity. With each flip of a burger, or burn of a brat, this great leader’s eyes and wisdom penetrate through the charcoal smoke to anyone who will listen.
Similar to Homer, this grill master’s odyssey is of the informed and the experienced. Profound phrases such as “He’s got another thing coming” or “Back in my day…” can be heard often. His faithful followers have never been so understood. Their plights are common here in this yard.
On this domestic stage he is heard regaling tales of life and claiming his journey thus far has been a Fortnight “no goddamned video game” could capture. In his glory and surrounded by like thinkers, the chief is esoterically wise. He looks out to his grill disciples. They nod, sip, and grunt in agreement.
They don’t have the words. They don’t have to. He speaks for them. Our hero does not take his status for granted. Armed with a deep insight into how things should go, he rarely gets angry during his sermons. He’s composed. He’s stoic. He’s everything you and I will never be.
About the Author
Tessa A. Adams is a graduate from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Omaha with a Masters in reading. She is a language arts teacher and is the co-author of the blog www.familyfootnote.com. She has three children and when she is not mothering or teaching, she is writing. Her work can be found in Fine Lines Literary Journal, Empty Sink Publishing, Route 7 Review, and xoJane Magazine.