Saturday was warm – wonderfully, impossibly warm, and the sun was strong enough to knock the leaves off the trees. I ran some errands; one of the city’s premier likka stows (that may be the only movie reference to Prince’s “Under the Cherry Moon” you’ll ever see on this site) had its demi-annual wine sale, and I headed off to stock up. It’s a little bit of the big big city, that place – meaning the aisles are narrow, everyone has a cart and bangs their carts into other people’s carts, and stuff is piled to the ceiling. The prices were indeed impressive, but I have a hard time paying thirty-seven dollars for a bottle of wine when the same amount of scratch will buy a fine whiskey that lasts much, much longer and does not give me the impression I am drinking educated grape juice. My palate is untutored when it comes to wine; I don’t know enough to know how much I should not be enjoying something. I stocked up on Aussie hooch and headed on my way.
The next series of errands took me to the other side of town, to Southdale, where I end up once or twice a week whether I want to or not. I got my hair cut, finally – I was trending towards mullet status – and as I left I noted that Southdale had a big 50th anniversary celebration in progress. Free cake. Two fine words that work so well together. Carb up, lad. I wandered around the exhibit of old-timey photos, some of which you can see here.
One shot was particularly impressive: a giant missile that filled the entire atrium. “To the Moon and Back” was painted on its silver side. The future was right around the corner in those days, and once it arrived it would gain momentum until men in orange Michelin-man suits were floating around orbital wheels riveting steel plates, wondering what 1975 would bring. There was also a group photo of some salesladies, all in grey, arrayed in a semi-circle; you could hear their nylons going skrr-skrr-skrr when the shoot was over and they broke their pose.
Then I hit Target to get the stuff I forgot to get on Friday. Then Best Buy to buy a wireless adaptor for the Xbox. (I fixed the update problem; turns out burning a THIRD disc with the data did the trick.) The salesman tried to sell me a service contract on the wireless dongle. For God’s sake, man, it has no moving parts. It’s like selling me on an anti-erosion protection plan for a hunk of granite. Give it up. Then the grocery store, then home. All the while I listened to the aforementioned Richard Diamond, Private Eye radio shows, starring Dick Powell. The dialogue was pretty snappy, as they say – when I start up Radio XDNR next year, if all goes well, it’ll be part of the Friday lineup. Then I heard the words that really iced the donut:
“Written by Blake Edwards.”
El Grande Disconnecto. Old radio comes from the pre-TV era; the appearance and ascendance of TV puts down a thick Static Curtain between our visually-oriented era and the days of audio entertainment. So it’s almost inconceivable: the man who wrote these snappy noir-lite private detective stories starring a Busby Berkeley crooner was the same man who gave the world Bo Derek running towards the camera with her bouncing . . . hair. The distance between his last Pink Panther movie and the Richard Diamond stories is vast, but: take my lifespan, lay it across the gulf, and it fits. It fits.
Richard Diamond was later made into a TV show, incidentally. David Janssen was the star; Mary Tyler Moore’s legs played the secretary.
Went home, and since no one was around, I napped. Fell asleep listening to the planes land; after a while they seemed like great exhalations of some contented god.
Earlier that morning my sister-in-law came over to take Jasper to the Blessing of the Animals at a local cathedral. Jasper was nervous about going with them; he sensed that something involving him was up, but of course he had no idea. Off they went. He’s been blessed before, but you can always use a booster shot. I think it’s silly, myself, but harmless and kind. As I’ve said before, the relationship between God and Man is like the relationship between Man and Dog, and I mean that with a sense of respect: like dogs, if I may paraphrase the SecDef, we don’t know what we don’t know. Dogs certainly believe in us, but they have no idea about the things that occupy and concern us. (They get a faint notion of morality, inasmuch as chewing shoes is Tempting but Wrong.) As I dropped off for my nap, for example, I heard Jasper come upstairs; it was 5:45, dinner time, and he was no doubt curious why no food was being prepared. He stood outside the bedroom door, sighed, and dropped to the floor. I heard him breathing through his nose. Patience and faith.
Of course, his prayers are always answered, but they’re rather simple. As perhaps our simplest unmade prayers are answered daily. Give me this day my daily rawhide stick. And there it is! (Please, no letters about the dangers of rawhide sticks. He’s eleven years old. Fit as a fiddle. Taking away his sticks would be like making an 80 year old man stop smoking.)
Anyway, the Blessing didn’t happen, so my sister-in-law and her little girl took Jasper to the park. They have no dog, so this was good dog time for the girl. She took Jasper down the slide. It’s amusing to think of him out with other people, having a life outside of the one he lives with us. He came home and hit the sofa and didn’t move. Didn’t want to talk about it, even if he could. (Although he almost does; you have no idea how vocal he is.) But! This being a lovely day, my wife wanted to go on a long walk, so off they went. He came back wet and tired, and spent half the night on the bed, worn-out, well-fed, unblessed. The neighbor boys lit off some fireworks tonight, and he didn’t twitch an ear. But of course if I made the Sacred Sounds – the pulling of the pizza box from the fridge, the beeping of the microwave – he’d be down in a trice, with the expected expression: yes? Well? Hmm? Me?
I know it’s Monday morning to y’all, but if I can confess: it’s Saturday night to me. I’m in the gazebo. It’s midnight. The OIWF is running; the wind is bothering the trees. We had a raccoon in the backyard an hour ago – big as a watermelon, he was. The timed lights just clicked off, a reminder that sunset comes very early, the day’s heat be damned. In a month this gazebo will be knocked down, the chairs put away, the mums in the planters dusted with snow. But today? I took pictures, so I can remember. The world was green and golden, the lasses jogged in shorts; the sun slid down like a matchhead and lit the world alight for one last brilliant evening.
Until the next one, that is.
New Match & Quirk; see you tomorrow.