Good memories of cookouts

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 23, 2007

I have mentioned this before, but one of my favorite occasions is a cookout at my grandparent’s house.

I have so many good memories of my family sitting around the fire barrel outside in my Mama’s cookout area, eating, laughing and just spending time together.

Mama fixed up her cookout area several years ago.

She divided it off from the rest of the yard.

She has some flowers decorating the area and there are tan rocks on the ground as well.

Her hammock is there and some picnic tables are over there, too.

We also have chairs, a red swing and, of course, the fire barrel.

It is here in this cookout area that I learned the fine art of roasting marshmellows.

My sister is the ultimate perfectionist when it comes to roasting marshmellows.

They have to be golden brown and crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside.

She can roast a mean marshmellow.

The fire barrel is a popular gathering place in the cookout area.

Of course, we don’t just have these cookouts in the summer when it is warm. We also have them in September, October and November when it gets cooler.

During these months, the warmth coming from the fire barrel feels really good.

Sometimes we just cook hot dogs and hamburgers.

I am not really a fan of hot dogs myself, so I always choose a hamburger.

Sometimes for a birthday party or something we will have steak.

We also have side dishes, such as cold slaw, macaroni salad and Baker Beans.

Baker Beans are famous; Mama makes them and everyone around here has heard of them and thinks they are great.

Dessert is also an important dish.

My Aunt Pam made a dessert using a Paula Deen recipe the other day and it was wonderful.

I have a lot of people in my family, so we are always having a birthday party and that’s what some of these cookouts are.

At birthday parties, we always have cake.

But sometimes we cook on the fire barrel just because we want to, and we really don’t need a special occasion.

I remember one time about three years ago when my family was having one of our cookouts.

I really don’t remember if it was for a birthday party or not, but I do know that we were all there.

My younger cousins, Jessica and Jake, and my little brother Justin were all having a water fight.

They were running around the yard, hollering and squirting each other with the water hose.

Don’t ask me how, but Brooks and I were suddenly pulled into the water fight.

We were just hanging out minding our own business when the others squirted us with the hose.

All of the adults found this funny, but not me and Brooks.

We decided to retaliate.

So, she and I instantly became a team and it was us against Justin, Jake and Jessica.

We ran all over the yard, chasing each other, trying to stay dry.

I lost my flip-flops while I was running, so I just kicked them off and kept on.

I don’t know exactly how long the water battle lasted, but by the time it was over, everyone involved was soaked.

Finally, we called a truce because we were all wet and tired.

Usually at these cookouts, Jessica, Jake, Justin and Luke play hide and seek.

It is really entertaining to sit and watch the places they find to hide and to hear their conversations.

One time I looked up and Justin was climbing a tree.

I hear conversations such as, “Hey, no fair.

You’re guarding base.”

“No, I’m not.

But you did, so why can’t I?”

They always make me laugh.

Anyway, during one of these hide and seek games, my Uncle Jeff decided that he was going to play with them.

He can run pretty fast, so I was curious to see how this game was going to turn out.

I am not sure who was IT, but I do know that Uncle Jeff took off and started running.

The next thing I knew, one minute he was upright and the next minute he was rolling on the ground.

He popped right back up and started running, though.

Like we all told him, anyone can fall, but it is all about the recovery and his was impressive.

I think my favorite part about these family get togethers is that we just have fun.

I can be myself around my family and we can just act goofy and laugh and, of course, eat.