My entire office left work early today for our annual summer picnic.  We went to a nearby park on a gorgeous day.  The setting was perfect for an office picnic.  The weather could not have been better.  My office is huge, and we had well over 100 people attend the picnic today.  Although I wasn’t the organizer, I took over grilling duties like I always do and arguably did more work than most on the picnic today.  It’s a labor of love I’ve enjoyed doing since I started grilling several years ago.  I’ve grilled on many occasions for many people.  However, I’ve never grilled for over 100 hungry stomachs before.  I can safely say I much prefer grilling for less than a dozen people than I do for hundreds.  I had a couple of assistants who did a fabulous job helping me gather food and supplies, shop for groceries, set up, and take down the grilling station.  I carted over a ton of food and a couple of charcoal grills from my house to the park.  Everything went smoothly before the picnic began.  I stoked the grills and got the barbeque going.  I grilled cheeseburgers, hamburgers, veggie burgers, and hot dogs.  My Korean colleagues made bulgogi using one of the grills.

We avoided any major difficulties while grilling.  Still, the sheer volume of food we had to cook made grilling much more of a chore today than I’d hoped.  At times, I felt like Hephaestos, the Greek god of fire, slaving over burning coals.  I can still feel the smoke in my lungs, and my eyes have been watery all day long.  I probably inhaled more carcinogens today than are recommended for one’s health.  In the end, it was worth the sacrifice.  Last year, the picnic-goers waited a long time for food.  This year, mounds of heaping bulgogi, burgers, hot dogs, and side dishes were waiting for them when they arrived.  I enjoy being known as "The Grillmeister," even though can be a thankless job.  I left this morning at 9 a.m. to start working on the picnic and didn’t finish until 6 p.m., long after the picnic-goers left.  The worst part of being a grillmeister is cleaning up after a barbeque.  Not only do you have to clean the grill(s), but you have to transport everything home.  That can take multiple trips.  Being grillmeister is fun when one grills, but otherwise it can be an inconspicuous job.  It’s also a bummer because the grillmeister is usually the last one to eat, and by the time they do the food (what’s left of it) is cold.  And they are apart from family and friends while they grill.  It’s a lonely life, but someone has to be the Grillmeister.


Books by MG EdwardsMG Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures and children’s books. A former U.S. diplomat, he served in South Korea, Paraguay, and Zambia before leaving the Foreign Service to write full time.

Edwards is author of six books. His memoir, Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, was finalist for the Book of the Year Award and the Global eBook Award. He has published four children’s picture books in the World Adventurers for Kids Series: Alexander the Salamander; Ellie the Elephant; Zoe the Zebra; and a collection featuring all three stories. His book Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories is an anthology of 15 short stories.

Edwards lives in Taipei, Taiwan with his family. He has also lived in Austria, Singapore and Thailand. For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at or contact him by e-mail at or on Twitter @m_g_edwards.

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1 Comment

  1. Wade's Gravatar Wade
    June 5, 2005    

    I assume you were careful and didn’t drop any of the hamburger patties between the bars in the grill while turning them, like you have been known to do in the past. 🙂 I also assume that you have both eyebrows and hair on your arm left after lighting the grill… :-)Sorry couldn’t resist… :-)-Wade H.

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