Ribs, Fibs and Baby Bibs

Caution: This column was produced under the influence of Moderna and Belvedere gin. Individual results may vary.

Good news: The second dose of Moderna seems to have fixed my bum knee, and my edgy Irish attitude.

Pro tip: Have them schmix your Moderna with some Belvedere gin, which vax sites will now do upon request.

“What’ll you have?” the bartender asked the other day at Dodger Stadium.

“Moderna and gin,” I said.

“Coming right up,” she said.

Lanky lass, short sandy hair, hips this way and that. Walked the bar tent on her tip toes, like she owned the joint. Probably a doctor.

“’Nother round!” I said, waving a finger in the air.

You gotta love the CDC, coming up with a Happy Hour solution to their vaccination woes, luring LA with its two favorite things: open bars and blondes.

Props to the COVID researchers who made this all happen, none of whom I can name. Nobels for all of them.

’Nother round!

What a summer this promises to be, warm and sinny, sunblasted and social, with gin as the mixer.

By the way, I think our madnesses are a direct result of how much spare time we have. For the first time in my life, there is time to cook for the dog, who has “a tender tummy,” as Rapunzel put it. Some white rice with chicken stock usually fixes her right up.

I swore I’d never become one of those people who cooks for their dogs, yet there I was the other morning, mixing white rice with little scraps of leftover cod.

Now White Fang has fish breath and won’t stop kissing me, her way of saying: “Thank you. Thank you. You obviously are a famous chef. Thank you for this delicious supper.”

Anyway: Long walks. Tall drinks. Sinny summers.

I’ve noted in the past my appreciation for puttering around the house this time of year. I find it oddly satisfying – as if I’ve morphed into my father — replanting this and repainting that, smelling of cigars and Sea & Ski.

Now that I’m retired, I can putter more freely. In the past, if I puttered too much, the day was gone and I couldn’t read or wrestle with the kids, two other activities that I would almost call hobbies.

Parenting pro tip: Roughhouse whenever possible – the kids, the wife, the dog, the plumber. Put a mat out. Invite the neighbors.

Ready? Wrestle!

Now, I have this new backyard to putter and roughhouse in. It is a backyard made for drinking beer and telling small fibs…for listening to baseball on the radio from Nantucket or Kalamazoo.

Ribs and fibs and baby bibs. Such a summer this will be.

My partner in ribs, a pal named Pete (married to the leggy dentist I mention now and again) is back in town after a four-month assignment, and we are always talking meat.

Pete has one of those fancy egg-style smokers; I have an old AMC Pacer that I flipped over and converted into a barbecue. He buys his ribs at Gelson’s; I buy mine off the back of a garden truck in Pacoima.

Amazingly, the results are pretty similar (I swear by apple juice to keep ribs moist).

You know, life seems calmer now. The world is still sick with quick judgment and uninformed opinion.

As someone Tweeted the other day” “So, what’s everyone an expert on today?”

But I feel a growing sense of hope and recovery.

Life is moving again. Smartacus has finally picked his college (Go Ducks!), and senior prom is on his calendar (Go Spartans!).

A new baby beckons. The baby will be the centerpiece for a while, the way Smartacus once was. And then will come another centerpiece, and another.

We all need centerpieces beyond ourselves. The best side effect of parenting is selflessness.

There is also White Fang, a fine sidekick, who has learned to massage the tendons in my hands after a long round of golf. She also wakes Smartacus for school. Best of all, when he breaks his nightly curfew, she wakes me:

“He’s not home yet,” she says, slurping me awake. “It’s 10, and he’s late.”

Yes, she actually does this.

For a wolf, she worries a lot.

So much going on. At least once a day, Smartacus and I practice “Roller Coaster,” a new game we invented to entertain the new grandchild.

How it works is: Smartacus sits on my bum knees, facing out, and we pretend he’s riding a rickety old roller coaster, the kind made of termite wood. It tick-tick-ticks slowly to the top, then plunges down, leaning this way and that, until the beams give way and there’s a horrible crash.

Inevitably, Smartacus laughs so hard he falls to the floor.

Made it up ourselves. You think the grandkid will like it?

Hope the bum knees hold out. Hope the money holds too. Sometimes, I worry that if the dishwasher pods run out on the same week as the laundry pods, it’ll force us into a financial tailspin from which we might never recover.

The Great Pod Depression! There go all the trusts!

We’ll figure it out.

Besides, there’s big money to be made on my new book of dirty sonnets. And there’s always the honeymoon videos I could hawk.

I doubt Posh would approve. But I promise they are very flattering — at least to her.

Not so much for me. I always cry after sex; it’s just I get super emotional and happy and depressed all at once.

Please don’t go assuming these honeymoon videos are very racy. Not even sure anyone got undressed. As I recall, I slept in my rental tux and Cubs cap. She slept in her wedding dress and Joe Namath jersey.

For 20 minutes, she just chased me around the room with a net.

Point is, on our wedding night, we both passed out after a very long day, setting the tone for an exhausting life, where we often passed out after very long days, usually waiting on the couch for the kids to come home (who knows what they were actually up to?).

Jeeesh, it’s a full life, isn’t it? Plunging down, this way and that. Tick-tick-tick-tick…Boom!

Laughing so hard we hit the floor.


Please mark May 8 for a Happy Hour Hike at LA’s secret lake. Details coming this week. Meanwhile, have fun, stay safe, and think/drink responsibly. Books, gear and coming events: ChrisErskineLA.com

14 thoughts on “Ribs, Fibs and Baby Bibs

  1. Fully vaxxed, backyard ready for barbecue season and a surefire grandchild-pleasing Grandpa Game. You have the life, Chris. All ready for a summer to remember (for good reasons, this time). Enjoy. You deserve it. P.S. So happy Smartacus will be joining the Ducks, along with my Great Nephew! He will love it, I am sure.

  2. Not sure if you were joking, but the Moderna vax also improved my bad knees..and a few other joints that routinely ached. Hope it lasts.

  3. Sea&Ski–I love the smell! I grew up slathered in it on the beach.
    I had to look up what happened to the brand and discovered it’s back! You can buy Sea&Ski again. Which I must do immediately for the smell alone.

  4. OMG…SEA AND SKI!!! BTW the company has recently made a comeback. White Fang and her summer do…cutie pie! Hope you have a short and long term plan to tell White Fang that another one of her pack members is leaving….

  5. I kinda ( yes I know, kinda and sorta are not adverbials, but it seemed to fit) remember Sea and Ski when I was little, but my junior high and high school summers were spent with Hawaiian Tropic , NO sunblock from ten in the morning until sunset. Ahhh, good times…

  6. You brought me back to a very fond summer memory…my dad and his cronies sitting in those old aluminum folding chairs in the back yard, smoking their cigs, drinking their budweisers and listening to baseball games from all over the country. How did they get those games on that old giant transistor radio with the antenna ?

  7. Ahhhhhh Summah. Bar-b-que, the Frisbie you threw, dogged back to you, smell of lotion, on skin in motion, a little gin, and original sin, a run in the morn, and that newborn, All things rhyme…in Summahtime.

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