We leave the house at lunchtime. Stockton slides into the saddle and starts to pedal slowly while my mom walks the terrier beside me. We wind past the modest houses and green yards and blossoming trees. A lawn mower roars in the distance.
Our terrier’s nails click on the concrete. He tilts his head when we pass other dogs. Every few minutes, a strong breeze blows my hair that escaped from underneath my baseball cap. The closer we get to the park, the stronger the aroma of lunch becomes.
We cross the street and enter the park. Stockton sticks to the road and will meet us ahead. No one is going down the slide or shooting hoops at the playgrounds, but I imagine them there like it was when I was growing up. The laughter echoes in my mind. We follow the mulch perimeter and its woodsy, earthy scent overpowers the air until we turn the corner. The brick fire station stands ahead of us. The savory aroma floods my nose again. Barbecued 1/2 chickens in foil lined bags and sides await.
Mom heads inside to claim our meals. Stockton rolls up to the edge of the street as I wait outside the building with our sniffing terrier. My mouth waters. If you’re a fan of chicken, you’ll be a fan of chicken BBQ.
It’s a simple thing, a charity chicken BBQ, but it’s something I grew up with–one seemingly happening in the county every weekend from late April to autumn. Today it’s like opening day for the popular county fundraisers. I look forward to a long summer ahead.