Harry saves the day.
“It’s your brother’s fiftieth next Sunday, he’s having a party.” Cheryl waved the invitation as she walked into the house from the mailbox.
“Oh. Do we have to go?” Harry sighed, knowing the answer before he asked the question.
Cheryl sniffed, “I know how you feel, but we’ll never hear the end of it if we say we can’t attend.”
“He simply wants to show off the new extensions and his outdoor kitchen to his new friends.”
”Oh, yes, I’d forgotten the outdoor kitchen! He’ll be wearing his chef’s outfit, showing off to all his rich friends. He’s such a wannabe.”
“Happy birthday, big brother. Fifty, hey? How’re you feeling about reaching the big five-o? “
Sam shook Harry’s outstretched hand, “Better than the alternative, I guess.” he laughed, grabbing the high, chef’s hat, which was in danger of slipping from his bald head. “Have you seen my new outside kitchen?” He took his brother by the shoulder and they walked outside on to the patio. People, drinking and talking, mingled. Trays of sirloin steaks were on the kitchen bench, ready to be cooked. Two long trestle tables groaned with other dishes..
Sam introduced his brother and sister-in-law to his banking friends and their partners. Harry seemed out of his depth. These were not his type of people. He wasn’t jealous of his brother’s success, it was the bragging about what he had that got on his nerves. The brothers were from humble origins, but it was as if Sam was ashamed of them.
“Okay, everyone. I hope you like your steaks cooked to perfection.” Sam took his place in the gleaming kitchen. He turned on the gas, then gasped. Clicking the switch off and on, his face paled. He turned to Harry and whispered. “I forgot to fill the gas bottle!”
Harry looked around and saw a pile of bricks that the builders had left behind. “Don’t worry, Sam. Don’t you remember how we used to cook when Dad took us camping?” Sam appeared horrified.
“I can’t cook on a campfire!”
“Sure you can, we’ll pretend that’s what you planned all along. Give me ten minutes, I’ll soon have a fire going. It’ll be fun. Your posh friends will love slumming it for a novelty.” Harry was in his element. Entering Sam’s house he took out the oven racks, then went outside to his car and dragged out the bag of firewood he’d bought from the service station that morning for his potbelly stove. He began to build a fireplace using the bricks, lit a fire and placed the racks on top. After the fire had settled to a glow, Harry invited everyone to gather around.
“Bring your chairs and your drinks, everyone. Dinner will be ready soon.”
Sam’s wife, Sue, brought out platters of chicken skewers and steaks. Within an hour they’d fed all the guests.
After everyone had gone home, Sam slapped his brother on the back, “Thanks Harry, you saved the day.”
“Pleased I was here to help. Everyone seemed to enjoy the campfire experience,” Harry grinned.
The following week after the party, Harry arrived home from work to find his wife waiting anxiously for him at the door. “Thank goodness you’re home darling. I’ve had a call from Sue. You’ll never guess what’s happened.” Harry looked at her, waiting.
“Sam attached the new gas bottle and when he tried to light it, the whole thing exploded. The sides blew out, the top flew off and landed in the pool. The flames set his beard on fire. When he tried to put out the fire he burnt his hands. He’s in the hospital!”
“Oh, no. Is he going to be okay?” Harry looked shocked, his face paled.
“He’s more upset about his outdoor kitchen. It’s gone. The whole thing, burned to the ground.” Cheryl gasped.
Harry shrugged.“Sometimes you simply can’t beat the old ways of doing things.”