We’re All Just Star Dust

In October, my martinis kiss me back. Taste like seawater, which is the primeval taste I prefer in a martini (or a kiss).

In October, I also start remembering Pissarro’s amazing Dutch landscapes. Such haystacks! And I consider making Posh’s famous chicken chili again.

Also, every autumn, I start craving Marlo Thomas. I think it was around this time of year when “That Girl” premiered, leaving a forever dent in my milky pre-pubescent brain. Go figure.

In other news: Going to be a big weekend. My granddaughter (Catty Cakes) is finally home from a long swing through the Eastern Seaboard, where for two months she waved to total strangers, pretending to laugh at everything they said. I think they elected her governor of New Jersey.

Governor Cakes, what do you plan to do about organized crime?

Unfortunately, I’ll have to give Penny Laine back, her dreamy golden retriever, or as I call her: “The Ginger Jihad.”

The Ginger Jihad barks at everything. Time. Space. Hesitation. Self-doubt. The other day, she barked at the nearly imperceptible ticking made by eggs boiling gently on the stove.

Too much energy. “Read the room,” I tell her. “And quit chewing my knee.”

But she never does. The young golden flounces. She’s Cheryl Tiegs. Like me, she’s suffered from a very happy childhood. There is no edge to her, nothing remotely cynical.

“I hate you,” I whispered to her the other day after she ate another shoe. “I really, really hate you.”

But we should cherish our golden retrievers. They have all the happy traits Americans are starting to lose: hope, honesty, compassion.

She’ll return this week to her home in Santa Monica, that throw-pillow, that cloud on the coast. For seven weeks, she’s lived on this toasty side of LA, so hot in the afternoons I couldn’t even walk her and White Fang.

Instead, we started convening in the shady backyard. 

“BONE BREAK!” I’d yell, and pull some beef bones from the fridge. I’d stuff the ends with peanut butter – Suzanne’s idea — and turn the two dogs loose on the lawn.

They rather loved this.

Then, one day, I squirted whipped cream in the hollow ends of the bones. This made our daily BONE BREAK! even more popular and ridiculous than it already was. There was wiggling and waggling and ball-room dancing. Lots of slurping around my ankles, a gesture I’ve actually grown to enjoy.

Soon, Penny Laine will be gone and I can go back to doing housework in the nude (you just can’t do that with guests around).

Who used to joke about doing housework in the nude? I want to say Pope Gregory I. But it might’ve been Phyllis Diller or Joan Rivers. Funny ladies, both. Remember Phyllis Diller’s wild hair? Such haystacks!

For the record, I vacuum the way Richard Petty drove race cars. I take corners on one wheel…weeeeeeeeeeee! I knock over chairs. Once, I ran over a kid. He just froze, as a squirrel would. Nothing I could really do. He was fine. A little linty, but fine.

I vacuum ferociously because I hate vacuuming. During the pandemic, our housekeeper ran off with the gardener, so now I am officially the housekeeper, though the gardener came back, thank gawd. He’s been really tight-lipped about what transpired, though I wouldn’t mind a few steamy and slanderous details. Love is love. Nothing to be ashamed of.

That’s what I always tell the lovely Suzanne: “Don’t be ashamed. You could do waaaaaaay worse.”

“Really?” she says.

Hey, we’re all star dust, remember? No matter who we are, how successful, how short, how strong, how naked, at the end of the day we’re all merely cosmic dust (hydrogen, lithium, merlot…)

I thought of this as I was looking through my phone contacts the other day. Some big names, though a little dated. Thanks to my long awful stint as a sports columnist, I realized I still have phone numbers for:

–Pete Carroll

–Fran Drescher

–Chevy Chase

–Dick Butkus

–Doo Doo the Clown

–Jimmy the Hat

–Collin Morikawa’s dad

So yeah, my phone is way more interesting than I’ll ever be.

Some day, I’ll pour the world’s biggest beer, turn on a Dodger playoff game and start “rolling calls,” as they say at the talent agencies, just go down the line and start dialing:

“Hello, Doo Doo the Clown? Yes, I’m calling to confirm that this is still the best contact for you.”

Last call for tickets to the La Canada YMCA’s annual Prayer Breakfast Oct. 15 in La Canada, where I’ll share more valuable life tips and life-affirming stories from my new book with noted bear specialist Steve Searles. For info, call (818) 583-4731, or email Jpingry@ymcafoothills.org

9 thoughts on “We’re All Just Star Dust

  1. This one is a pure smile-inducer! So happy you have Catty Cakes and her parents back in the family fold, where they belong. Can’t wait to see what she dresses up as for Halloween.

  2. Remember that old saw, “some people just can’t stand prosperity”? A Cakes for Penny Laine trade ? Geez; a no brainer: ambrosia for dog bones. Still, it is true that edge has character, and you did need someone to eat all the old socks with the holes in them so you had an excuse to buy new ones. And you now have a new appreciation for silence, whereas before you thought it empty, dull, mildly unsettling. Dogs can teach us things, some of which we don’t want or need to learn. Me? I would listen to Suzanne. If properly extended in an Autmnal way, that whipped cream idea sounds really interesting….

  3. And now the purple dusk of twilight time,
    Steals across the meadows of my heart,
    High up in the sky the little stars climb,
    Always reminding me that we’re apart.

    You wander down the lane and far away,
    Leaving me a song that will not die,
    Love is now the stardust of yesterday,
    The music of the years gone by.

    Sometimes I wonder why I spend,
    The lonely nights dreaming of a song,
    The melody haunts my reverie,
    And I am once again with you.
    When our love was new,
    And each kiss an inspiration,
    But that was long ago,
    Now my consolation,
    Is the stardust of a song.

    Beside a garden wall,
    When stars are bright,
    You are in my arms.
    The nightingale tells his fairy tale,
    A paradise where roses bloom,
    Though I dream in vain.
    In my heart it will remain,
    My stardust melody,
    The memory of love’s refrain.

    Thanks for the memory Erskine.

  4. On the last: a Hoagie never tasted so good as this one. If you can taste a song, that is. And I think you can. Try it.

  5. In agreement with the majority. This is a sweet one. And thanks to Jazz4111 for that reply. I’ll be humming it while I vacuum. Which, if I keep in tempo, will force me to slow my roll.

  6. Thank goodness Catty Cakes is back. We were convinced (and very sad for you) that she was permanently ensconced in New Jersey. The state of my birth, so I have nothing against New Jersey, but as fellow grandparents, we would empathize (we have a couple of littles in Kentucky…)

  7. Thanks for the Marlo Thomas mention— my first crush. Next was Audrey after watching Charade. Ahh, youth.

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