Suddenly, the sun is everywhere. I yank the pull-tab on the new carton of orange juice and it spits me in the eye.
Hello sunshine, my old friend…
You know, some people turn into their mother, some turn into their father. Me, I’m turning into my late wife.
Exhibit No. 1: I now have a shelf in the armoire where I store the seasonal dishware — Halloween bowls and reindeer butter knives. I’ve tired of packing it all away in the basement, when soon – but not too soon – I’ll be pulling it all out again.
Already, I miss fall, though I just threw out the last of the eggnog. So it’s not like I’m refusing to move on.
Keep your eye on the prize, my friends. The Super Bowl beckons, then Mardi Gras, then the most-beloved holiday of them all: Rapunzel’s birthday. It’s in April, and this year there will be a flyover and a brassy-loud parade.
It’s Rapunzel’s year, after all. In August, she’ll be married, and in September, she’ll still be married, and so on and so forth for the rest of her entire life. I’ve met the guy. I predict a long, memorable run for Miss Rapunzel.
And in May, we have Cakes’ second birthday.
My recent E-mail to God:
“Dear sir. I do not care much for how quickly my granddaughter is growing up. Seems she was a baby for five minutes, then a toddler, now a muse, an inspiration, a rascal prodigy. You should see her steer her little plastic Tesla bravely down the sidewalk. Can you slow her down a little?”
Meanwhile, word from the Palisades is that Suzanne’s tiny yet magnificent dog – looks a little like your hairbrush — is actually a vegan.
That’s certainly no way to live – I mean really live – but her dog (Stuart Little) apparently really adores lettuce and other assorted greenery. Guess that’s the Palisades for you. Lovely place … glows like a Lexus in the slanted mid-winter light. As do the pets.
Suzanne? She’s fine, thanks — hair like new nickels with really kind, caring eyes. Eats mostly lettuce too, though I fixed her a teriyaki salmon bowl on Sunday, and she swooped up every last bite. Smelled so good, one of my nostrils collapsed.
Oh, what a year it’s been. And it’s not even over yet!
In about a month, this whole region will blossom like Brigadoon, a storybook green like maybe we’ve never seen before, soft and supple.
I will stand on a hillside dressed as Francis of Assisi, birds fluttering about, my arms outstretched as I bless the cashmere canyons, the creeks, the long chewy grasses…and those super-long driveways off of Mulholland.
As I recall, Francis of Assisi was a bit of a nudist and one time actually kissed a leper. So I have that to look froward to. Francis once assured his followers, “If God can work through me, he can work through anyone.”
We’ll see, right?
Look, life is fragile and sometimes very hard. The other day, I bought two condolence cards for friends who had just lost their fathers, then picked up a third one “just in case.”
That’s how fragile life is lately.
January is always full of bagpipes. There are already way too many graves in LA — though these days Dad often ends up in an urn on a bedroom shelf, up with that broken antique clock you just can’t bring yourself to throw away.
Hey, is that a Hookah back there by the clock…no, wait…
Honestly, I probably don’t have that long. My elbow hurts a little and my schnitzel continues to throb.
The other day, I was kicked off my favorite running track, so now I have to devise another rigorous workout, preferably something involving slot machines and frosty pitchers of beer.
My dream workout? You dart from one slot machine to the next, as if running an obstacle course. When you finish, Dolly Parton brings you a shrimp cocktail.
Already, I think we can sense this new year is going to be extra special.
2023: The Year in Review (it’s never too early).
–Jan. 1-6: Flooding, mudslides, mayhem.
–Jan. 7: The Dodgers agree to pay an injured pitcher $8 million next season, even though he is unlikely to pitch a single pitch.
Jan. 8: I make Suzanne a teriyaki salmon bowl.
Jan. 9: They kick me off the running track.
Jan. 14: Classified documents are found in my garage.
“He thought they were self-help books!” my lawyer (Billable Bob) tells the FBI.
A special prosecutor has yet to be named. Jeeez, just hope it’s not one of my kids.
Mark your calendars for a Feb. 4 hike, somewhere in the verdant hills of Los Angeles. Details to come. Meanwhile, please buy a gin glass, please buy a book, at ChrisErskineLA.com. Thanks!