If there’s a word men of the 50s did not use to describe their barbecues, it was “spectacular.” If there’s a phrase that never passed their lips, it was “Ice-Bar-B-Trick.” Not to say a fella didn’t want to dump ice in the wheelbarrow and stick in some brews for chilling; that was a great idea. You could wheel the whole thing over to where you were sitting. Or if it was somewhere else you could get one of the boys to wheel it over where you were. Beer on wheels is about as a American as she gets.

But then the wife gets into the picture, and when she learns you want to put the ice and the beer in the barrow she wants a festive border. Because she saw a picture. In the magazine. You explain that the men don’t care, and really, don’t go to all that bother, you don’t have to fold the aluminum foil into points fer chrissakes -

But you lose that one, and back off, and figure you’ll take some ribbing. Comes the day of the party, there’s no room for beer at all. You put them all in the cooler. There’s no ice left for the cooler. The beers aren’t as cold as you’d like. But hell, they’re not exactly warm. So there’s that.