My father passed away a few years ago, but of course I have many fond memories that involve him and growing up in a small town in Central Illinois. In the 50's when I was a boy, we were surrounded by corn fields, but we had a back yard that any city suburbanite would have been jealous of.
One of my favorite memories is of Dad's brick barbecue, an edifice that stood in the back of the house for many years after being completed. Dad was a tinkerer, and he loved to build things. He saw a plan in Popular Mechanics for a gigantic brick structure that would be the envy of any neighbor (of course we didn't have any), and he decided to build it.
Over the course of a summer he carefully laid a concrete foundation, and the layers of red brick grew into the sky. Naturally, it seemed much larger than life to me as a child, but it actually was quite impressive. Unfortunately, the only use it ever got was as a wonderful play thing for me and my brother. We would spend hours pretending it was a castle or a fort, climbing all over the chimney and the sidewalls and having a grand time.
Dad finished it, and was proud of his accomplishment, but never once cooked on it, and certainly never, ever wore an apron while hovering over his creation. He just didn't quite grasp the whole cultural and social implications of the backyard barbecue.