It’s a warm summer evening. A cool sea breeze wafts from the gulf through the Oleander hedge, perfuming the air in the back yard. I sat my beer down on the low round blue metal table, transferring my attention to the burgers sizzling on the grill and listening to the neighbors milling about.
Martha has brought out another bowl of chips and dip.
Marie, the war bride from two doors down; is speaking with her melodic French accent. Complaining to Benji, who lives across the street, about her husband. She complains about him a lot.
The kids weave in and out between the legs of our guests like cats. They snatch chips and other snacks then retreat to the periphery to eat before swooping in on another scavenger run.
Jim and Edna interrupt their argument about what color to paint the kitchen when Martha offers them a tray of peanut butter filled celery sticks. They take two each and balance them on a napkin in one hand while they look for a spot to set down their beers.
Discussions of baseball, weather, fishing and politics surround me. I reach down for my beer. Damn, empty. I hand the spatula to Harry, “Can you watch the grill for me? I need to run in for another beer. Do you want one?”
My daughter Ginny is tormenting the cat in the grass – as five year old girls are known to do.
My youngest, my boy, TN, is curled up on the back steps asleep. The front of his t-shirt muddy and wet from the beer he has been pilfering. I pick him up and carry him inside. Lay him on the couch. Grabbing another long-neck from the fridge, I swerve from the screen door back to the counter top to comply when Martha says over her shoulder, “Hey Ray, can you take that bag of buns out with you.”