This July, with summer in full swing, the nights are longer and they just seem to lend themselves to grilling out.

There’s nothing like it. It doesn’t matter what the food might be (burgers, hot dogs, brats, salmon, veggies, corn on the cob wrapped in bacon), if it involves grilling, I’m in. I love the whole ritual – making the patties, adding the seasoning, picking out the cheese, turning on the grill, searing the meat, Worcestershire sauce spilling over the heat and sizzling up inside my nose. Ahh!

There’s just something about the power of fire of the grill. Something that makes me feel like a man, in control (even if it’s only the perception of control because everyone knows in my house, my wife is in charge). But to be able to transform raw meat into a family meal is a great experience. Bringing the family together over a meal is what it’s all about.

The smell of the grill always makes me happy and always makes me thirsty. I don’t even mind the extra heat from the fire as long as that cold beverage is close at hand.

Whenever I smell a lit grill, I get thirsty. And what is it about being around the grill that makes that cold beverage seem even colder and more enjoyable?

Simply stated, grilling puts me in a good mood and brings back special memories for me. Whether it’s back in New Jersey on the lake with my parents, or in the parking lot of of a Notre Dame football game, grilling transports me and  keeps me grounded. Grilling these days involves watching my boys play in the back yard and shielding my toddler daughter from the allure of the smoke emanating from the grill (and keeping Casey from stealing bites of burgers!)

Firing up the backyard grill is a way to slow down, take a breath, and enjoy my surroundings and the people in them. Pope St Paul II wrote “Through leisure, people are restored and renewed, body and soul.” I look forward to getting back to Jersey this summer, sitting on the lake, and grilling with my family. I hope you take some leisure time for yourself, too. What are your favorite summer, leisure activities?

Whatever they might be, make sure to enjoy them with family and good friends and make memories that will last a lifetime. Plus don’t forget the ribeye’s and cold beverages!

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