Family Jewels

Dear Lord, there is much to celebrate this weekend. Passover. Easter. A 30th birthday.

Off to school he goes – not for class, for a senior class assembly, though it’s a start. Just to see my son heading to high school again makes me smile, for there are so few days of that left.

So on a Wednesday morning bright with hope, Smartacus slides into the back of his buddy Luke’s vintage convertible. His sister cried when I sent a photo. It’s Easter, so rebirth is in the air anyway. That, and a lot of pollen. Too much pollen. Too much chocolate and shredded plastic grass.

Too much everything.

As I always say: If it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing.

Hence, the gloppy burgers I celebrated the other day. Hence, the backyard we just remade.

We kind of overdid the backyard makeover. Spent too much on pavers and designer river rock. I am the Spielberg of landscape lighting. Our backyard now looks like a finale of that cheesy “Bachelor” show.

Soon, I will add flickering torches and a fire pit. We’ll do seances back there. We’ll hold wiccan weddings and mass inoculations. Baptisms. Bar mitzvahs. Book clubs.

When I finally get it all glowing — the tiki torches, the café lights, the high beams in the trees – the backyard will be visible from space. Martians will wonder: “Hey, what’s going on down there? Is Elvis back? Are they coronating a queen?”

Well, in a way.

I will keep this short today because we all have much to do. Rapunzel turns 30 tomorrow. There’s your coronation. I predict swans and Air Force flyovers.

Please don’t send gifts. She’s spoiled rotten as it is, with a doting father and a doting boyfriend. Her big sister spoils her even worse. Knowing Rapunzel, she’ll think all the Easter celebrations are for her.

Yes, sweetie, they are.

For her 30th birthday, I’m taking some of my late wife’s old jewelry and having the stones reset into a necklace. A friend recommended a guy in Santa Monica. Evidently, this jeweler dude can take an old ruby or a recycled diamond and turn it into a tiara of some sort, or a bicycle if you prefer.

Point is, he works miracles with old gems, so the lovely and pregnant older daughter and I are plowing through Posh’s old jewelry box, raking it with our fingers, looking for a stone with some heft to it.

I’ll confess: It is a jewelry box with a lot of $160 pendants. Financially, we were always struggling. About the only one-carat jewels Posh owned came wrapped in tiny blankets, straight from the maternity ward.

Anyway, re-gifting her diamonds is an excellent idea, right? Credit my sister, Holly. In a million years, a straight man would never think to give a gift as thoughtful as this.

Nothing against straight men. We build a lot of bridges, we win a lot of wars. No one cares. We still take everyone’s abuse. We are the world’s last legal targets for mockery.

It’s no longer fashionable to be a straight man. I’d “transition” but I don’t really have the clothes for it.

Easy joke. Sorry.

Don’t misunderstand. We live in wonderful times, when people get to be who they truly are, and there is a growing acceptance of this.

Tolerance of others is a sign of a healthy society. Co-existence is perhaps our greatest calling. We’re so much richer for it. We learn about other people, other cultures, other spices, other viewpoints.

Co-existence is a triumph of understanding over fear. It is the beacon you can see from outer space. Right there, shining down on America, and a few other super-enlightened countries.

What a gift, co-existence. I cannot say it enough. It is the glory of this nation, the collective core value of our greatest faiths.

All those crosses you’ll see this weekend, all the feasts that make you say “whew-wow?” They are the totems to our 2,000-year-old appreciation of co-existence.

Hey, I’m no Gandhi. I miss too much church, sip too much gin. Most days, I’m just a schmuck in a Honda, with milkshake stains on his tee-shirt and nowhere to go.

But I’ve figured out this one great notion: Co-existence is a series of daily rebirths, one after the other, till you’ve put together a moving and artful life.

So, go color a bunch of eggs. Go mash a matzo ball.

And happy 30th to the little red-haired girl.

You are a glittering force of nature. You are your mother’s glow.


Speaking of tee-shirts: Buy one, please, in honor of Boomer University, another enlightened notion. Boomer U. isn’t a place, it’s a state of mind. Maybe we’ll even have a Boomer U. Happy Hour Hike. In any case, you can order a $20 shirt at https://chriserskine.orderpromos.com/.  Also, please consider purchasing  “Lavender in Your Lemonade,” a COVID diary and a way to bookmark these antic times. Thank you for your friendship and support. Happy Easter. Happy Passover. Be well. Cheers.

12 thoughts on “Family Jewels

  1. Happy Birthday, Rapunzel! Happy Easter and Passover. Thank you for the much needed message about peaceful coexistence, Chris! Life can be beautiful when we live together in peace. It was a key part of Jesus’ message, if I recall.

  2. Resurrection. The rebirth of many things, including hope…and tolerance. The full appreciation of others is a repetitive lifelong journey of learning and relearning, don’t you think ? For tribalism is instinctive; many say a survival instinct, obsolete in the present world. Among other things, Easter is a reminder of possibilities in a world nearly always fraught with dispair. I’ve always thought of it as a celebration of the joy in the work of the Spring–and the year–ahead. Perhaps in which, this year, we neuter the cancel culture that seeks to silence all difference with a single held view. If there were to be an Easter resolution, this might be a good one. Like the resurrected jewels, something shining that glows like the future.

  3. Happy 🎂Birthday Rapunzel. Happy Easter to your whole family, Chris. Thank you for sharing your family with all of us!

  4. Your beginning was one which, as usual, found me brimming with smiles and hopes. Then, however, you plowed in with language which left me frowning. With what has been going on here in the U.S. of late, I wondered what world you were in? As much as I have hope for the future, I sure as the dickens don’t have, or see, all that togetherness that you have written today. I don’t want to rain on your parade, but I do think these days demand a respect and admission of a little bit about what’s going on that we wish wasn’t going on!

  5. Chris:
    I’m certainly no wordsmith. But it seems to me that “tolerance” is a better word for embracing humankind.
    “Co-existence” strikes me as too clinical, too remote.
    Just sayin’….

  6. Happy birthday

    Also Chris you should be writing and each copy to each newspaper ( if they read anything) in Georgia. They need the help

    Steve and Mindy Dvorak

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