Finally, Memorial Day weekend is here. Remember the brutally cold and snowy winter, and the soggy spring? We endured, because we knew eventually May 30th would be here and the unofficial summer kickoff would begin.

Parades and Memorial services will be held in just about every town. Memorial Day is both a solemn and joyous occasion, solemn because we honor the memories of all those who have made the great sacrifice so that we can enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It's joyous because despite terror-driven enemies we continue to embrace those freedoms.

Memorial Day also kicks off another season, the joy of barbecuing. This is an annual ritual that cannot be taken lightly, so as not to ruin the sanctity of the ritual.

There are rules to barbecuing, rules that must be adhered to. A certain etiquette exists for this sublime outdoor cooking activity.

Thanks to a loyal reader who sent me these rules I will share those instructions with you. They follow a chain of events that should be automatically put into motion every time the charcoal or gas grill is fired up.

Here is the routine:

(1) The woman buys the food.

(2) The woman makes the salad, prepares the vegetables and makes dessert.

(3) The woman prepares the meat for cooking, places it on a tray along with the necessary cooking utensils and sauces, and takes it to the man who is lounging beside the grill - drink in hand.

(4) The woman remains outside the compulsory three meter exclusion zone where the exuberance of testosterone and other manly bonding activities can take place without the interference of the woman.

Here comes the important part:

(5) The man places the meat on the grill

(6) Then, the woman goes inside to organize the plates and cutlery.

(7) The woman comes out to tell the man that the meat is looking great. He thanks her and asks if she will bring another drink while he flips the meat.

(8) The man takes the meat off the grill and hands it to the woman.

(9) From that point on the woman prepares the plates, salad, bread, utensils, napkins, sauce and brings them to the table.

(10) After eating, the woman clears the table and does the dishes.

And most important of all:

(11) Everyone praises the man and thanks him for his cooking efforts.

(12) The man asks the woman how she enjoyed her 'night off,' and, upon seeing her annoyed reaction, concludes that there's just no pleasing some women.

For awhile there, I wasn't sure we were going to make it to Memorial Day.

Last Saturday, at 6:01 p.m., I went out to the kitchen and gave my wife a kiss.

"We made it," I said.

"Made what?," she asked.

"We made it past doomsday," I replied. "Remember that nutcase minister out in California, Harold Camping, predicted that the world was going to end at 6 o'clock today. Well it didn't happen. We're safe, at least for the time being."

"Oh," she laughed. "I had forgotten all about it."

"Well, a lot of people didn't forget," I added. "There are many to blew their life savings, others who sold everything they had, believing there would be no tomorrow. To tell you the truth, I got a tad nervous myself as the zero hour approached."

I then went out to the family room and watched the Preakness horse race, followed by the Yankees-Mets baseball game. Life was good again. Darn you, Rev. Camping for making a lot of people real nervous.

And, he's not done. Now, the minister who claims he felt terrible when his doomsday prediction didn't come true Saturday, is claiming the world will end on October 21. That's a Friday.

That's also a date he earlier predicted. So stay tuned.