Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Zest & Gusto

My mother is Farm Woman. My father is a Chicago Cubs fan. When they arrive to visit their grandchildren in San Diego, they wear sweatshirts that say, "San Diego." My mother is wind blowing over cornfields. My father is powerful, rumbling jet engines over Midway Airport. My parents look cozy inside their cold shoulders.

My mother is a good neighbor. Her closest friends live in nursing homes. My father plays with gadgets in the garage, the same garage where I used to rock with my band.

While visiting San Diego, my mother repotted all the plants in our house. She groomed the garden and polished the silver. She tangled me and my father in a lifting feat when she had an inclination to rearrange some furniture.

My father brought a polyscientific basin, one of his personal inventions that never really sold, but a basin you can essentially use for steaming giant crab legs. My father used his visit to San Diego to raid my wet bar while my oblivious mother toiled.

After the crab legs steamed in Grandpa's Crab Steamer, we sat down at the table that my wife had lovingly set. Now, I watch my wife as she dips the crab legs into ginger soy sauce. She licks her fingers. She smacks her lips. She says something profound in French, like tastes this fresh as goddess lips.

My high school band? Well, back then we called ourselves Faceband. This was long before Facebook's existence. (We’re suing that bastard, Mark Fuckerberg, for lifting our name!) The Bass player in Faceband was Zuckerberg’s cousin, a guy named William Fairbanks, but the Guys all called him “The Bones.” God, we loved “The Bones.” He laughed with the demons, and he laughed with the saints! “The Bones” dropped dead fifteen years ago, and tears still drop from our eyes if we just say his name.

"The Bones" deserves all the money in the world for how brilliant a guy he was. But my wife deserves the award for Best Actress tonight because she put up with my parents with such grace that she had them rolling with laughter at a joke she told over the dinner table.

“One summer evening, a woman invites her neighbor for dessert. They slowly lick forkfuls of chocolate cake and sip peppermint tea. Soon their conversation meanders to a discussion of human anatomy. The woman says, ‘I think the correct name for the area between a woman’s dunghole and her honeyhole is muff flap?’

'No, it’s called a pluggy pal,' says the neighbor.

'No. muff flap.' The woman insists.

'I swear it's a pluggy pal.' And the neighbor folds her arms over her chest.

The woman and her guest get into a heated conversation, verging on disagreement, when the woman’s husband comes out to the garden. The woman and neighbor ask him, 'So what is the correct name for the area between a woman’s dunghole and her honeyhole?'


Laughter. Such laughter.

My wife told that joke in her French-accented English and charmed the whole family into bursting laughter. Even the little children joined to laugh for the fun of laughing. Sure after that joke, lots of tension broke. We were a laughing family. We shared food and wine and zest and gusto!

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