Simple Things = Forever Memories
They say as we age, we grow fonder and wiser. As a precursor, I am a firm, steadfast believer in that, and today revealed yet another chapter in my own book of life. Logan and I had just left the pediatricians office for a “peace of mind” appointment for a little flu bug. After departing, knowing he was hungry, we decided to eat at Cook Out. Of course, we opted for the popular tray option with two sides and a drink. We both decided on BBQ sandwiches and knew we wanted French fries for the first side, but we were somewhat undecided on the second one.
After carefully scanning the choices and taking the cold weather into consideration, we decided the “chili” might be a good secondary option. We both sat down in our own little booth, while I relished in the importance of these father/son moments in life. As we began to open our trays, we were both looking forward to the taste of the BBQ sandwich, but more anticipation existed for our first time Cook Out “chili” trial. We popped the lids, stuck in our spoons, both realizing through each other’s facial expressions what an awful mistake we made. The chili was just that, chili; with no beans. Not quite what we expected, but none the less, we carried forward with the remainder of the food.
As Logan took his first bite of the BBQ sandwich, he says “Dad, that chili is nothing like papa’s, he has the best chili in the world!” This was one of many times in my life I have heard those same fifteen words. For those of you that know me well, you know that I truly enjoy cooking. There is something about preparing a well received meal that creates happiness and gratitude in the soul of a cook and anticipation and fulfillment in the souls of those you serve. Now, with that being said, I have made countless pots of chili personally at home and professionally in my fire service career. Being my own worst critic, I have to say, the reviews have always been favorable, but through Logan’s eyes, his “papa’s chili” is the pentacle of success. Through my own competitive nature, over the years I hoped to secretly duplicate the likes of those given to papa by his grandchildren, but have did so unsuccessfully, unable to capture the chili throne.
My takeaway was this:
No matter how much chili is ever tried or consumed, there is something special about “papa’s chili” that is forever endear to my children. There will never be another replication or duplication of that which comes from their papa, no matter how many recipes are handed down through the years. There is a special, magical bond that exists between a grandfather and grandson. Regardless of how many trophies, awards, or medals are given across the world in cook-offs, they will all fall short in comparison to “papa’s chili.” It is not only the hands that make it, that make it so special, but the bond those two have that makes it hit the core of his heart and soul. That bond that exists between a grandpa and his grandson which can never be equaled by anyone else. A grandpa holds his grandsons hand for a while, but holds his heart for a lifetime, with silver in his hair and gold in his heart. For this one, I graciously toss in the towel with much greater understanding and proclaim “papa’s chili” will always set the precedent and all others will merely fall short. Thanks Cookout!