Thoughts by Richard Bleil
Today was a special day. About a week ago I purchased a combination smoker/grille. It weighs 265 lbs, so it sat in my truck for the better part of a week as I considered whether or not I would be able to assemble it myself. Several days ago, I decided to give it a try, despite the fact that several parts of the instructions very clearly call for two people. I managed to get it out of the truck (with something of a thud) and I had to rearrange certain parts of construction. For example, to install the legs, the grill was on its side. This means that one of the legs on the side on the ground couldn’t really be attached when it was supposed to be because I needed somebody to push the leg in as I accessed the holes for the screws from inside of the grill. Instead, I waited until the shelving was installed to secure the leg, which brought it close enough to the holes that, with one additional trick, I managed to finish attaching it. Although two people were called for in the instructions, I managed to get it upright.
A minor issue prevented me from completing the assembly yesterday. As a result, I had to give up the process when it became too dark to see. It sat disassembled for two days as rain prevented me from comfortably getting under it to figure out the issue. In that time, over 200 pounds of buffalo meat were delivered. The first day I fried up my first ribeye steak, and believe me, it was delicious. Today, on the first day without rain, I got underneath the grill, found the component that was twisted funny and therefore preventing me to complete assembly, and resolved the problem. I picked up a propane tank, and today, I grilled buffalo patties.
And it was amazing.
This was all very expensive, but I did it to save myself money. By buying buffalo in bulk (which is healthier than beef), it was less expensive than buying in a grocery store. The grill I have is a combination propane grill and smoker, and I plan to try the smoker for the first time tomorrow. When I verify the smoker, I can use it to create jerky, and dried beef, all of which will last longer than fresh buffalo. This meat will last, with luck, at least a year, and maybe more. That means I no longer need to buy meat until it’s run out.
Today, eating an unbelievably delicious buffalo cheeseburger, juicy and hot, I found myself feeling guilty. To remind my new readers, and as a reminder to those who read more regularly, the only reason I can afford any of this is through the death of my father. Dad and I have not gotten along for longer than I can remember, and I’ve not spoken with him, quite literally, for years. But although our political stands are at odds, he was a man of honor. I inherited half of his money, value of his property and retirement accounts. This is what has allowed me to purchase this house, the buffalo, the grill, my furniture, vehicles and everything I have. Eating the buffalo, I suddenly, and unexpectedly, felt a wave of guilt wash over me. I went so far as to text my friend to ask if I really deserve all that I have gained. When she said she knew I deserved every good thing that has come to me, I fired back at her, unfortunately all too harshly, that all I’ve done for the past year’s progress was have a father who died.
I guess it’s human nature to feel guilty when we benefit from the ill will of others. I should be further along than I am right now. I made some dreadful mistakes and they have cost me. I was married to a woman who convinced me to cash out a retirement plan that should be starting to pay off by now. As a result, my retirement is now from the inheritance, the fact that I have a place to live is from the inheritance, everything I have is thanks to my dad. Maybe I didn’t deserve to lose as much as I had. The problems began with my divorce, and it seems as if I have been unable to straighten up since, but that’s not an excuse. Thanks to my father, I’m moving forward. I hope, all previous evidence to the contrary, that I’m capable of continuing this upward path.