You were born to loiter. And especially so on Christmas morn. I remember as a pup, waking up at the break of day a most energetic individual, and dashing down the hall in my footie pajamas, out to the fake tree all gussied up in little red balls and dazzling lights, and quietly arrange my plunder there, so I could keep a child’s eye on them. And I would pace the living room floor hither and yon, waiting for the rest of my family to get their Christmas butts in gear. Boy they liked to sleep late. Didn’t they know I had presents to open up! Toys to play with! Worlds to conquer! In short, I always had to wait on Christmas morning. I had to loiter.
“Patience comes to those who wait…” -Elder Brother
Now loitering, as you know, is a key component to successful BBQ. And who knew my training for prolonged barbecue endeavors would start so young. Like a good brisket deckle smoking indirect over a nice bed of coals, nary can you rush things any more in the BBQ Arts, than you would with the festivities of Christmas. Like the old BBQ adage laments, “It’s done when it’s done“. Well, I’m here to say, likewise with the pleasantries of Christmas, and possibly the same with the cultivation of patience.
Patience is a fickle friend. Thing is, with advancing years, a soul tends to notice such things like Christmas are getting done with quicker and quicker. Leastwise that’s how it seems over here, and I’m not so sure that that’s fair. What once stretched eternal is now over in the flip of a heart beat. Before you can sing one round of Rudolf The Red Nosed Reindeer, our Savior’s birthday is done already, and your filling out your tax forms before April 15th rolls around again. What’s a bloke to do…
Well, what you can do, of course, is loiter! Perhaps over the years, you have gotten a distorted view of loitering. It’s not a bad thing if applied correctly. In point of fact, it’s good. Loitering is just deliberate living in the face of advancing time. Loitering is soaking in the metaphoric hot tub of the present moment. To absorb what is, and nary be bothered by any thing else. Loitering proper is simply to extend the moment for the moment’ s sake. Which is also what we love to do in BBQ. And with any thing that we love, really. To make it last.
And so it may sound far-fetched, I’m sure, but as a student of the BBQ Arts, you cannot help but to notice the same patience required, nay cultivated, to smoke a 14 hour pork butt, is invaluable just the same in properly prolonging the best day of the year. Patience is an interchangeable commodity this way. Consider your family gathered about the tree here in a few days. Indeed it’s all a pup can do to keep from ripping into his gift larder, this we know, but the old, wise grand parents, if you notice, tarry back on the parameter with cup of coffee, letting the day come to them as it will. They’re in no hurry. They have a lot of Christmas’s logged under their muffin tops, you see, and know precisely what they’re doing. They are elite in the mastery of stretching a moment. For they know how fanciful and swift the ever-ebbing passage of time can be, and they for one are in no hurry to speed it up. So they wait. They purposefully loiter in the warm wake of Christmas Day. Like an ode to Carpe Diem in bifocals.
So next time you’re in a hurry to speed Christmas along, take pause and reconsider. Think like a pit jockey instead. Or your grandma. It’ll be done when it’s done. And usually done quicker than you’d like. Would you rush a good rack of pork ribs? Of course not! For a pit master’s highest quality may be his patience, and it’s this same patience you may in turn wield at your discretion, to parlay the day unto greater and more appropriate effectiveness. To make it last. Indeed, to make it last. And I suppose that we all cultivate our patience in a great many of ways, it’s just that If I have any these days, it likely was forged pit-side, waiting for succulence. And in a round about way, very round, I guess that’s how BBQ saved Christmas. Or something like that. Now I just need some footie pajamas again. Amen.