THE FINEST KIND OF WEEKEND—GATHERINGS WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS

Part One: A Saturday Barbecue

Last weekend was the kind of weekend I like best. It centered on getting together with family and friends and having long, leisurely meals with plenty of good conversation.

On Saturday, which was a glorious summer day—not too hot and humid—my brother, Steve, his wife, Rose, and their son, Patrick came over for a barbecue. Patrick will be heading to college next month, and we wanted to squeeze in a gathering before he’s off to this next exciting venture in his life. Patrick, as well as his parents, are movie buffs, so the conversation gravitated toward movies, and we made tentative plans to go see Beasts of the Southern Wild when it comes to Railroad Square Cinema. (I am very keen on seeing this film and hope that my expectations aren’t too high.)

The menu for the barbecue was grilled bread, corn, potato salad, chicken breasts marinated with lemon and herbs, and, my absolute favorite, Shannon’s chickpea salad with mint, lemon juice, olive oil, tomatoes, and a kind of Spanish cheese whose name I can’t remember. (Shannon, can you help me out?) The salad was utterly delicious, and the cheese somehow managed to be both tangy and smooth.

The chickpea salad

We sat on the patio until dusk came and with it the mosquitoes.  The orange cat periodically twined around our legs. The black and white cat, the shy sister, was encouraged to come over, but she declined the invitation. The dog, meanwhile, ignored both of them and did his favorite thing—begging for food. He was not disappointed, and various tidbits—especially chicken—came his way.

When the evening became too damp and the mosquitoes too plentiful, we went inside for ice cream pie made with homemade ice cream. One was chocolate and the other was raspberry, cool desserts on a hot evening. Although it wasn’t easy, I limited myself to half of a piece of raspberry ice cream pie. Patrick, who is tall and slender, helped himself to seconds, and we sat around the dining room table and talked some more as the sun set and night came.

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