To me, nothing says summer quite like the heady smell of smoke, emanating from a grill at a backyard BBQ. Enveloped by that smell, I'm likely to have friends nearby, an ice-cold beer in hand, and a freshly charred meal on the way. This very smell, recurring each weekend from May through August, makes me hope that summer will never end.

But alas, when Labor Day inevitably rolls around, the twilight starts retracting earlier into the evening, and the weekly gatherings begin to slow, the bliss of summer also feels like it's slipping out of reach. And that may well be the case. But there's always time for a final outdoor get-together with friends, fire, and lots of food.

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