A sign of the solstice? Hearing Rapunzel’s trills
I found a stray sunflower seed in my dress shoe the other day. I took that as another sign summer is near. Just in case, I fired up the grill and hit some kebabs with a reckless and satisfying char.
Fire. Meat. Summer. Let the party begin.
June is brass bands and peeling fences. It is mourning doves and the clattering of songbirds at sunrise. I get up early these days; I seem to have nothing left to dream about. Besides, getting up early allows me to appreciate the first wink of dawn, the lovely thwaaaaaack of a morning paper slamming the driveway. Box scores.
On my morning run, I pass a series of $5-million homes.
In the way I never much liked Malibu, I never aspired to a $5-million home. Too many windows to wash, too many quiet and empty rooms. Imagine the cobwebs, the mice in the attic, the somber ticking of clocks?
To my mind, a house should be noisy, a little crowded and always smell of scrambled eggs and vermouth.
While running, though, I hear a rooster wail in the back of one of these oversize homes, over and over. Like a sorority cackle, it is charming at first, then suddenly not.
I can just imagine the poor duke and duchess who just bought their dream home next-door, only to discover a rooster will awaken them at 5 a.m. for the rest of their lives. I laugh a little at that, though it’s certainly nothing to joke about.
As a real estate friend once noted: “The only thing worse than living next door to the Beverly Hillbillies? Living next door to you.”
By the way, just a little note to my neighbors: If any of you idiots brings home a noisy rooster, I promise you we’ll be having fried chicken for dinner that same night. I’ll send the husky over to retrieve it, and we’ll dip it in sherry, buttermilk and cornmeal. As they say, revenge is best served deep-fried.
Or, worse, I’ll send one of the kids over to fetch your noisy bird. The risk in that is that the kid might take to your place and decide to never ever leave.
That happens, you know. Chances are your place is nicer than ours anyway, that there’s no layer of dust on all the sills or rusty wrought iron all over the backyard. (As you know, Posh loves to weld.)
Our kids moved in with us when they were a few days old, and most of them are still around. I tried to talk the hospital into keeping them for that entire first year, or maybe till they could legally drive. Turns out our insurance didn’t cover that … another sad sign of a broken American healthcare system. So, like summer, the kids have settled in. The other day one of the inmates, our younger daughter, Rapunzel, the one who sheds like a sheep, confessed to having absconded with a bit of my beloved grape and vowed to replace it as soon as she is financially secure, somewhere in the vicinity of 2030 or 2035, like around there.
“Dad, I’ve been stealing your wine — not by the glass, entire bottles,” Rapunzel confessed one morning while packing for a weekend away.
This surfaced after she took a bottle to a friend’s house, and the friend’s mom noted: “Hey, Rapunzel, that’s a really nice Chardonnay you brought over. This stuff is, like, 30 bucks a bottle!”
The mother, one of the notoriously thirsty Chardonnay Moms who roam our little town — like pirates — apparently triggered a round of guilt in our daughter, so Rapunzel is now confessing to taking “one of the better bottles in the wine cellar,” which is really just a too-hot garage.
In truth, like Malibu, like oversize homes, I don’t really care for Chardonnay.
I mean, I prefer it to tap water, if that’s all you’ve got. And it’s great for washing the dogs.
Posh also uses Chardonnay in the radiator of her SUV. “It scents the entire cul-de-sac,” she claims. But I didn’t tell our daughter that. I just suggested that as long as she was replacing the things she’s taken, she might consider the 4,000 loaves of bread she’s consumed over the years, or the popcorn, the pickles, the pizzas and the thousands of dollars in Trader Joe’s brie.
“Sure, Dad, I’ll think about that,” Rapunzel trilled, then threw her long hair out the bedroom window and — like summer itself — flew away in a flash.
‘Dad, I’ve been stealing your wine — not by the glass, entire bottles.’ —Rapunzel confessing while packing for a weekend away
A FIERY GRILL loaded with kebabs is a sure sign that summer is just around the corner.