Sunday Snapshot: DIY Grill Cover

I grew up in the Portland neighborhood in the West End of Louisville, where money was tight and ingenuity was valued above classiness. Even after a Portlandite moves away from Portland, those habits never really die. I think MacGuyver probably came from Portland.

So I gave the grill I immolated to someone who can repair it and I ordered a new one. In the belief that the new, taller, grill would have a new, taller, grill cover, I gave the dead grill’s cover away with it. While I wait for the new grill’s new cover (which is identical to the old grill’s cover, so the joke’s on me), I have to protect my precious new purchase from the elements.

DIY Grill Cover: old plastic tablecloth with grill carry bag pulled over it to hold the tablecloth in place.

And another member of the West End diaspora would look at that and say, “Portland.”

A WRITING PROMPT FROM ME TO YOU: A make-do solution.



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Sunday Snapshot: DIY Grill Cover

  1. Michael Hodges

    December 5, 2021 at 10:50am

    “The West End Diaspora…”

    I rather expect everyone who grew up in some area where “we were not quite trash, but we knew what it meant to eat cereal for supper” feels a tugging at the roots when it comes to moments of pragmatism over moments of style. The first part of my own life was a mixture of Valley Station and Manslick/Berry apartment life, along with a scattering of other short-lived tenancies. I remember β€” and learned! β€” an impermanent mindset to things requiring permanency, and a permanent mindset to things of impermanent nature. A very strange reversal as a sort of environmental survival tactic.

    We’ve obviously grown out of it some, and know some things need FIXING-fixing while others just need fixing. I think these feelings and observations spur and spawn one another somehow, ironically, and paradoxically.

    It dawns on me that over the next several minutes of typing, and the next several seconds of reading for you will involve a LOT of repetition of the words permanent/impermanent; but they are powerful concepts, and seeking synonyms shall not do them justice.

    I remember pouring hours of tweaking and effort into an art piece attached to the wall of a military dormitory, a thing I created from wreath vines and paper, Fleckstone, and an old ceramic mask. I spent just for-EV-ahrrr making that thing look amazing, and I remember one friend who, upon seeing it, said “That’s really cool… but you’re going to have to take it down when you PCS (permanent change of station), you know that, right?” It was true, I would. Taking it down would mean not just a nail in the wall, but complete disassembly.

    But I remember things like your fleeting grill cover back in childhood, all the way through graduation. I recall being so PROUD of plastic garbage bags and duct tape, time spent almost lovingly, pouring real care into a “temporary fix” for something that would do until the real deal came along… and the real deal never coming along. Instead the temporary fix lasted, and lasted, and one day couldn’t last any longer. After that one did without, or one created another impermanent fix of curiously lasting nature.

    Sometimes it seems my thinking is utterly messed up, my timing and priorities backward; and yet looking retrospectively at my upbringing and environment I’m beginning to grasp WHY when a situation is dire and every second counts, I adapt and overcome… while the way people operate in normal life, with planning and organization, is a thing I recognize, even crave, but can never quite put my finger upon.

    I was weaned on survival mode, educated in it daily but NEVER with an eye toward permanency. My world was always “make-do,” even when those around me (my family) had some notion of bigger, better, more, and more permanent. They had fallen into the world of survival, you see. They knew there was MORE.

    Me? SO many factors, from being the youngest by several years, to being a half-sib, to being raised by not one but two distorted and broken households, to constantly being on the move β€”

    When I left home finally, the Military with its constant flux and flow was the most lasting thing I’d ever encountered. Before that there was absolutely no telling what the day would bring.

    Survival mode is supposed to be impermanent, a make-do until Normal Life kicks back in with its permanency. There it is, you see: that permanent/impermanent reversal and juxtaposition.

    When I need to paint a wall in my home, the quest for the right color is agonizing… excruciating… the stuff of months. That’s not exaggeration: MONTHS.

    When I see homeless people living out of a tent as winter approaches, I instantly have dozens of ideas for shelter improvement, know where to find ingredients and how to get the ball rolling so everybody can not only survive the night, but wake tomorrow with better footing from which to face the day.

    It occurs to me not that I am broken, but that I was built differently, for impermanent things no matter how much I yearn for the permanent.

    Doggone you, Marian, your grill cover made me think, and I wish some sort of therapist had been present for this borderline breakthrough!

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
    • Author

      Marian Allen

      December 5, 2021 at 1:35pm

      It’s funny you should mention trash bags and duct tape, because I just put that “fix” into a short story! And I fancy that I AM some sort of therapist. πŸ™‚ And you — totally NOT broken.

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  2. circadianreflections

    December 6, 2021 at 10:06am

    Ha ha! I can relate sorta. We have to tie our cover onto the grill and weight it down with everything we could spare b/c the Washoe Zephyr wind we get here causes the cover to act like sail which has moved it across the patio and tipped it over 3 times!
    It’s not a little or lightweight grill mind you.

    It’s not covered at the moment as He-man grilled yesterday, but it’s weighted down with my finest and heaviest of two iron umbrella stands, two propane tanks, and bricks. We’re expecting snow this week so I imagine He-Man will put the cover on and tie down.

    Our neighbors have a cute little iron table for two that they have used a moving strap to anchor it to the fence so it doesn’t blow away or over.

    I suppose most of us know how to be thrifty and crafty when we need it. πŸ˜€

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
    • Author

      Marian Allen

      December 6, 2021 at 11:34am

      Wow, that’s some wind!! Sounds like you could parasail from a standing start.

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply
      • circadianreflections

        December 6, 2021 at 11:38am

        Oh yes, I’ve been out walking when the wind came up it can be pretty fierce. It’s got quite the reputation around here. Mark Twain even wrote about it …3 whole pages in his book Roughing It.

        Permalink  ⋅ Reply

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