A quick spin on the Internet reveals a burger recipe with onions, baby carrots, and potatoes. Isn't that shepherd's pie? But that burger is practically traditional compared with some others. There is a hamburger, Cub Scout's honor (I never made it to Boy Scout), that mixes beef and tuna. I give it a special name: the yuck burger.

There are mushroom-stuffed burgers, salsa burgers, burgers with sauerkraut and Swiss cheese (the Reuben burger), guacamole burgers, a horseradish burger with Havarti cheese, a Polynesian burger (served with a slice of pineapple and a lemon-lime-orange sauce), a teriyaki burger, some concoction with lemons and brown sugar called a pucker burger, and on and on.

Then there's the fuel needed to cook them. Charcoal? Ha! Who does that anymore unless it's 100-percent-natural hardwood charcoal? No, these days you have to use wood, and the more exotic the better. Mesquite (which, deriving from a scrawny tree out in West Texas, isn't exotic but sounds it), apple wood, cherry wood, alder wood, maple, hickory, pecan. I've heard about folks using Argentine hardwoods and some fancy-shmancy Japanese wood called binchotan, "made from hard holm oak," whatever that is, and called by Gourmet "the Champagne of charcoal."

I wonder if that's like the Champagne of beers.

The point is, cooking burgers now is no longer a picnic. It is a blood sport.

But of all the rigors of summer, none is quite as difficult as saying goodbye. Summer is the Goodbye Season.

Friends and families visit each other, and when it's time to go, nobody knows quite what to say.

Actually, women do.

For example:

"Ooooh, I'll miss you."

Big hug.

"You too."

Deep squeeze.

"It was really, really great seeing you guys again."