After the good-bye

   

 

Hi everyone,

I have missed you! If I had known my cicada post was going to stay up as my most recent offering for the past six weeks, I might have picked something else….

dad29The reason for my silence is a sad one. My dad passed away three weeks ago. The deterioration of his condition over these last few months tugged at our hearts and our conflicting responsibilities, with road trips, time away from work, and the long-distance parenting of teens on the one hand, and hospital visits, medical decisions, and assuming our best game face for my dad (and my mom) on the other. And then there came the time when there were no more options, no more decisions to be made…and we had to face the reality of saying goodbye to this wonderful man. Many of you have lived this, and I have a renewed appreciation for what you’ve undergone.

I had considered just quietly resuming my blog without mentioning it. After all, I prefer to keep the tone of my posts light-hearted, especially in a world that can sometimes be rather grim. I also didn’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable. Death and grieving are difficult social topics, to say the least. We all want to console, to offer sympathy, but we worry that what we say will seem like empty platitudes. We feel helpless, not quite knowing what to say or do.

Rest assured, sympathy in any form is never meaningless. It is a kindness that can soothe. I have been very grateful for it.

I finally opted for saying something because I also value authenticity. I could not imagine resuming my writing and blogging without a public acknowledgment of my loss. My dad was my first crush. He loved me unconditionally. He made me feel I could accomplish anything. Missing him is as natural as breathing.

Dad Pat Corey summer
Steve Belin was a wonderful Pop, too! Pictured here with his oldest and youngest grandsons.

I know I will continue to grieve – some days will be more difficult than others – but I feel ready to get back to my routine. Focusing on the positive helps. I am blessed to have terrific memories to look back upon.

Here’s a special memory I want to share with you! It includes a recipe, just in time for Father’s Day and the backyard grilling season. It was originally written three years ago as a Father’s Day column for SocialIn Arlington. Enjoy!

Dad’s Secret to Great BBQ Chicken

We all know that Father’s Day gives us a chance to recognize the special dads in our lives.  Perhaps, when we think of our fathers, we recall the games of catch, or the family road trips, or our favorite televised sporting events, or maybe those long workdays that dad had to put in – a sacrifice that, as adults, we now truly recognize.

While I have a lot of those kinds of memories, I always think of my dad as…the Griller.  The man could make anything edible taste amazing when cooked over open flame.  During the summer months, I thrived on steak, chicken, kabobs, pasta salad, and burnt marshmallows.  As his only child, I learned all his tips and tricks – whether charcoal or gas, lighter fluid or a flick of the switch, it didn’t matter.  He was the Grill Master, and I was his young Padawan.  I learned The Way of the Tongs.

So in honor of Father’s Day, I’d like to share a family favorite that I turn to again and again: my dad’s trick for cooking juicy, skinless, fall-from-the-bone barbecue chicken.

Ingredients:

6 chicken leg quarters (thigh and drumstick still attached).  If you opt for chicken breasts, reduce cooking time by 10 minutes so they don’t dry out. But check for doneness. Always.

16 ounces of your favorite barbecue sauce (the thicker, the better)

Heavy duty aluminum foil

Directions:

Carefully strip the skin from the raw chicken , washing BOTH the skin and the chicken and blotting everything dry.  Do NOT discard the skin.

(NOTE: Since the original post, the USDA now recommends that raw chicken NOT be washed, because of risk of cross-contamination. Read more about it here: Washing Food: Does it promote food safety?)

Place the chicken quarters side-by-side on a generous square of heavy-duty foil, meaty sides up.  If you think all six legs would make the packet too cumbersome – you’ll be flipping it on the grill – you can divide the legs between two packets, rather than having them all in one.

Place the skins loosely BACK ON TOP of the chicken legs, covering the meaty parts in particular.  This will keep the chicken extra-moist, and will be ridiculously easy to take off before the sauce goes on.

Crimp the foil firmly around the edges to form a packet to seal in most of the juices. Some will escape during grilling, but don’t worry about that.  You want a little room inside there – don’t wrap them tightly in the foil, as you would a potato.

Grill the packet(s) over a hot fire. For charcoal briquettes, that means they are all gray, and you can barely tolerate holding a hand over the coals. For a gas grill, set it to medium-high heat. Grill for 40 minutes, flipping the packet once after the first 20 minutes.

Take the packet(s) off the grill and cut open the foil (use oven mitts when handling  – it’s going to be hot and rather messy).  The skin will slide right off. Discard skin and foil.

Pour barbecue sauce into a shallow pan.  Using tongs, DREDGE the chicken in the sauce, coating both sides.   (We don’t mess around with brushes at our house.  It’s all we can do not to lick our fingers).  It’s a little tricky, because the chicken will want to come off the bone at this point.  Show ‘em who’s boss.

Return the coated chicken to the grill, cooking for barely 2 minutes on each side, until the sauce is set.

Do you have a favorite recipe that reminds you of someone you care about? I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time,

Kathy

 

7 people like this post.

26 thoughts on “After the good-bye”

  1. Amy ShojaiAmy Shojai

    This is a lovely post and I am very sorry for your loss. I know your dad was an amazing man, since he had such an amazing daughter. I love that picture of him with his grandsons. (The oldest looks a lot like him!). Thanks for sharing, and my deepest sympathy on your loss. Now…gotta go call my dad…

  2. CelesteCeleste

    Thanks for sharing your heart.♡
    Your dad was certainly proud of you and your family.

  3. Marcy KennedyMarcy Kennedy

    I’m so sorry for your loss, and I’m glad you decided to share this beautiful tribute.

  4. Kassandra LambKassandra Lamb

    “Rest assured, sympathy in any form is never meaningless. It is a kindness that can soothe.” ~ This is so true, because we do indeed wonder if our words sound trite by comparison to the grieving person’s pain. So, so sorry for your loss. This is a wonderful tribute to your dad.

    And thank you for the recipe! I love chicken from the grill, but it always seems to take forever and ends up burnt on the outside and still underdone on the inside. This method sounds perfect to avoid all that.

  5. Margot KinbergMargot Kinberg

    I am so sorry for your loss, Kathy. My thoughts and wishes for peace and healing go out to you and your family. You’re fortunate to have good memories of your father; thank you for sharing some of them. May they comfort you as you move on without him.

  6. Patricia RickrodePatricia Rickrode

    I am so sorry for this great loss in your life. Things will never be the same again and yet, somehow everything continues on. That’s where we find our inner strength; we plow through despite the hole in our souls. I know exactly what you’re experiencing, as I lost my mom 8 years ago and it still hurts. A lot. I think the hurt is what helps us remember. When the hurt stops, we start to forget. Don’t ever forget.

    Now, as far as the chicken recipe goes, I’m going to give that a shot. Sounds like a winner to me.

    Hang in there my dear and know that you are not alone. My heart hurts for you, but my brain knows you’re going to be okay. Embrace this time in your life. I think I’m a little humbler, kinder and more patient now because everything else seems so small compared to what I lost. And I also know how to be more compassionate.

    Love you my dear. Hugs from Mississippi.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  7. Karen McFarlandKaren McFarland

    “My dad was my first crush.” You better believe it! And it was my Dad that died first before we lost two other parents, all within a span of 3 1/2 years. Talk about grief. And the shock! (WE only had four months between diagnosis and death.) And that’s where you are my dear. It takes some time for our minds and hearts to get over the shock of the loss. I don’t care whether you prepare yourself or not. I still miss my Dad even though it’s been sixteen years. The thought of that fresh wound of loss tears my heart out for you. Please take care of you. I know your boys and husband are also grieving. My sons were devastated. When they lost their grandpa, it was the first time I ever saw them completely break down as an adult. There was nothing I could do to relieve their grief except to keep loving on them with hugs and talks and lots of family time. And somehow we muddled through it together and it brought us closer. So I wish the same for you and your family my sweet friend. Peace and love! <3

  8. Jami GoldJami Gold

    I’m so sorry for your loss. *hugs* But this is a beautiful post and a wonderful tribute to him and the family he brought into the world. 🙂

  9. Jane Aschtgen BowenJane Aschtgen Bowen

    Lost my Dad 11 years ago May 23, and felt it the most on Memorial Day which was our 41st Wedding Anniversary when I was celebrating with family and looked at my mom sitting alone with out him,,while the rest of us had our spouses.. He was and always will be my first crush and love..he’s who I measured each date up against..and found one who measured up to his standards..
    Hugs.. it does get easier..but you never forget.. May God Continue to B;ess Your Family

  10. Judith MyersJudith Myers

    So sorry for your loss.
    Your post is done so well and is very insightful…you never stop missing your Dad but the pain becomes dull as time goes by and the memories stand in for the pain…life goes on and you start thinking you would like to tell your Dad about your life events. Always remember he is watching over you and and yours.
    Talk to your family and friends…it helps you and them.
    Consider your self hugged.

  11. Clay MorganClay Morgan

    Kathy,

    I’m sorry to hear about your dad & appreciate you sharing a bit of what he meant in your life. It’s good to be real at times like this. Like you say, we all face loss & I think it’s strengthening to share the tough times as well as the good. He must’be been one proud papa 🙂

  12. Jenny HansenJenny Hansen

    Kathy, this one got me – I could just see the bittersweet feelings as you typed this:

    “My dad was my first crush. He loved me unconditionally. He made me feel I could accomplish anything. Missing him is as natural as breathing.”

    It is so very hard to let them go. I’m very, very sorry for your loss. It sounds like you hit the dad lottery. 🙂 *hugs*

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