IT'S MEMORIAL Day weekend, and, like many of you, I'm going to barbecue.
OK, I won't be doing the actual barbecuing. My wife, LaVeta - watcher of every cooking show and purchaser of every cookbook - is the grilling professional. But I'll still be making a significant contribution. I'll be buying the food.
For those of you who are unaware of barbecue etiquette, there is a document that affords me certain unalienable rights as the food buyer. It's called the Barbecue Constitution. Its preamble goes like this:
"We the people, in order to keep our barbecues tight, hereby declare that the guy who buys the food pays the cost to be the boss."
Because of the "I bought the food" provision, all my Memorial Day barbecue guests must abide by the rules I set forth. In case one of my guests misses this article, I will also post these rules on streamers along my backyard fence, and I will have them stamped on each napkin, paper plate, sparerib and hamburger.
Hot dogs will not contain a copy of the rules. However, they will be tattooed on the buns.
Here are the rules you must follow in order to attend my Memorial Day barbecue:
Please don't come sidling up to my grill wearing a bathing suit.
We don't have a pool, we're nowhere near the ocean, and, like me, you're still trying to work off the last vestiges of that winter gut.
I'm not saying you don't look fetching in your swimwear. You probably look great - just not while I'm trying to eat.
That's not the most important reason for you to cover up, however. Truth is, when you come to the Jones household for a barbecue, you should cover yourself for your own protection. Our long-running policy is that anything showing more skin than a hot dog will be thrown on the grill and served with a sprig of parsley.
While I'm sure little Fluffy is as cute as he can be, I'm accustomed to dining on animals, not with them. If you must have something furry nipping at your heels, my daughter's old Tickle Me Elmo is available, along with 50,000 other stuffed animals I've been trying to get rid of for the last three years. If you'll agree to leave your pink-sweater-wearing Chihuahua at home, I'll agree to empty a toy box filled with discarded furry knick-knacks into your trunk. Of course, this will have to happen when LaVeta isn't looking. She doesn't allow me to throw anything away. Not even her old teddy bear that has apparently undergone major surgery, as evidenced by the three safety pins in his head.
Do not come to my house concealing any of the following banned items: Reynolds Wrap, Tupperware containers, freezer bags or old shoeboxes. I've seen your kind at Old Country Buffet, and I will not tolerate your shenanigans at my house. No slipping hot dogs into your purse while my back is turned. No stuffing potato chips in your socks and walking out crunching. No smuggling out ribs in napkins you swore you were throwing in the trash. If you want to feed Cousin Bennie, Uncle Ted and Aunt Cookie, don't come to my house on a reconnaissance mission and text your relatives to tell them you've hit the mother lode. Do the decent thing. Have your own barbecue! Well, I guess that's it.
To recap: No nudity unless
you're a hot dog, no animals unless they're on the grill and no food-smuggling apparatus. Other than that, you're always welcome at a Solomon Jones barbecue.
Oh, yeah. I almost forgot.
Happy Memorial Day! *
Solomon Jones appears every Saturday.
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