surprise barbequeEvery now and then, a thought enters my mind. Once inside my mind, it endures a lonely existence and rattles around long enough to morph into something quite different when it comes out than what went in.

I am not quite sure when this thought entered my mind, but when it came out of my mind it induced me to surprise my wife with a barbecue supper. When this thought first raised its head, I was pleasantly surprised that I, on my very own, could come up with such a good idea.

The key to this surprise barbecue supper was not letting my wife know about it. I must admit that I am not very successful when it comes to covert operations. I do not think my wife is psychic, but she seems to know what I am going to do before I actually do it. This has helped me out of many embarrassing situations.

The more I thought about this, the more the idea pleased me. My wife has been working hard lately and I thought she about needed a nice little surprise from Yours Truly. I was the man for the job.

I had to plan this operation down to the last second. I knew at the outset this would be difficult, but the payoff would be well worth it.

I knew my wife was going to be out of town for most of the day, which gave me plenty of time to put my plan into action.

The first thing on my agenda was to go to the grocery store and buy all the necessary ingredients for my barbecue. This was going to be a barbecue to end all barbecues. I love it when a plan comes together.

I bought some wonderful looking steaks, sweet potatoes for roasting (my wife loves sweet potatoes), and equal portions of potato salad and coleslaw.

"Having a barbecue?" the cashier said with a smile that almost touched behind her head.

"Yea, I am surprising my wife with a barbecue supper."

"You have any charcoal for your grill?"

Whoops, that was not on my list, but I am sure glad she mentioned it. I went back, got a bag of charcoal and brought it up to the cashier. As she was ringing it up she said, "Do you have enough lighter fluid to get all of the charcoal burning?"

Whoops, that was not on my list either. I ran back and got a can of lighter fluid for the charcoal.

Everything seemed to be in order, I paid the cashier and as I headed for the door, I was whistling a familiar tune.

It was a long time since I had done anything like this, and I was rather proud of myself for thinking it up all by myself. It only goes to show what a person can do when they think about something.

It took some doing, but I finally extracted the barbecue grill from the back corner of the garage and set it up on the back patio. The steaks are really going to be good tonight, I thought to myself. Is my wife ever going to be surprised.

Another key to this whole surprise element was time. I wanted to time it so that when my wife came through the door she would smell the barbecue burning. The first thing I needed to do was get the barbecue grill working in fine order. I assembled what I consider to be a proper amount of charcoal on the grill set the bag down and picked up the can of lighter fluid.

While I was working, I begin to muse within myself and thought that barbecue grilling comes natural to a man. Many things we may not be able to do, but when it comes to a barbecue grill, a man is a man. I splashed a little lighter fluid on the charcoal and commenced to strike a match. Nothing.

I struck another match and had the same results. With a little bit of panic I looked at my watch and knew that my wife would be coming home soon. I struck another match and still the charcoal did not light. I sprinkled a little more lighter fluid on the charcoal and struck another match. Nothing.

I was beginning to run out of time. I took the lighter fluid and emptied the entire can on my charcoal and as I did it, I heard my wife's car come into the driveway. I knew I had to fly into action now.

I struck the match and touched it to the charcoal and the last thing I remember was a flash of light and a terrible exploding noise in my ears. Then I felt pain. Pain in my right hand.

I looked at my right hand and saw that it was aflame and burning rather nicely. Then my wife came through the back door onto the patio just in time to see me dance and yell like a banshee.

The charcoal in the grill was all ablaze and my right hand burning out-of-control my wife had the audacity to look at me and say, "Whatcha doing?"

As we were eating our potato salad and coleslaw, I thought of a Bible verse.

"Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." (1 Corinthians 10:12 KJV).

My problem is I think too much.


Rev James Snyder videoDr. James L. Snyder, is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He lives with his wife in Silver Springs Shores. James is an award winning author whose books are available at

Call him at 352-687-4240 or e-mail [email protected]. The church web site is

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