Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Where’s The Pool?

Nat King Cole sang:

Roooooooll oooooout thooooose…lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer…

Those days of soda and pretzels and beer….


One of my all-time favorites because it always reminds me of one the best things about this time of year…Barbeques, hereafter referred to in the familiar tense as BBQs in order to save unnecessary key clicking, such as I just did in order to explain it to you.

EVERYONE loves a Barbe— BBQ, especially if they’re not the ones throwing it. 
All your friends and family are there.  Even friends of family or friends of friends of friends who have families are there, gathering out in the backyard. 

Sometimes, if you’re lucky and you have rich friends from Rye, you gather around a pool, or even in the pool.  If you don’t have rich friends you can gather around a picture of a pool. Or just talk about a pool you were once in.

Shuttlecocks shuttling, Horse Shoes ringing, everyone wondering who brought the weird guy from Yonkers double dipping the shrimp. 

BBQ’s are the best! 

I think the thing that makes the Barbe— BBQs so magical, besides the lightening bugs, the smell of OFF and the beetles dive bombing into your beer, is the memory of BBQs past. 

As a kid, I remember, we would arrive, sometime around noon, at the house of some distant relatives, who lived not distant enough to suit my mother.  The first thing I would do is jump excitedly from the car, run into a crowd of faces, some familiar, some not, and shout…”Hey, there’s no stinkin pool here!”…and immediately start to sulk and complain about the likelihood of my developing a severe case of “ prickly heat”, which may or may not have been an actual medical condition.

But sometimes a friendly face, gripping a friendly can of Rheingold or Knickerbocker or Pabst Blue ribbon (no designer brews then), would stroll past the crowd, and point out that there was indeed a “pool", located in a  shadowy corner, way back, in the farthest part of the yard.  

And my spirits, they did soar. 

Until I saw the actual “pool”, which usually consisted of a 3 foot, above ground “structure” from Korvettes, made of flimsy green blue vinyl, which was held together by clothes pins, attached to a plastic coated fence that encircled the entre wobbly thing.  And what made it even more enticing were the half dozen anesthetized kids, of all ages, shapes and sizes, sitting listlessly around the perimeter, looking as if they were at Lourdes, waiting for a cure.

But it was A POOL! And in I would jump, making sure not to disturb any of the pilgrims, only to bash my knee on a myriad of small rocks and sticks, protruding from beneath the flimsy vinyl bottom. 

Now I knew why the pilgrims looked so miserable.

But it was summer and it was a BBQ and soon somebody’s Uncle Joe would have one too many pretzels and say something naughty to someone’s Aunt Rosie, who had one too many sodas, and all the grownups would start laughing, then yelling, then laughing all over again.

And this went on, like I said, from noon until late into the night. From hot dogs & hamburgers  to fried chicken & potato salad, with a heavy helping of watermelon in between.  

Nowadays, most of the BBQ’s I attend are "in by 4 and out as quickly as we can feed you, serve desert and ask if you want milk or cream in your coffee", affairs.  In fact next week we’ve been invited to one of these friends of a friend of a friend’s, rich Uncle's in Noroton, deals.

You know Noroton...the place that looks down its nose at Greenwich.  So this is not a mere BBQ…this an “Open House”...even though it's outdoors.

And none of us are even sure what that really means…”Open House”. 

How does it differ from a regular BBQ?  Is anyone who wanders by welcome to drop in?  Strangers included? People from Port Chester?

A friend of mine told me he attended one a few years ago at Christmas time. He said, nobody knew what to do or when to come, let alone leave.

Another friend said, they thought it meant that the house was “open” from say 6 to 10 (even though, technically, we would still be outside the house), and you could arrive anytime in that time period and leave whenever you felt like it.

Sort of like a shoe store.

But, what if it's a great party?  Wouldn’t you want to stay for as long as you could.

But are you allowed to do that at the “Open House”?

Are you supposed to get in and get out, and then make room for the next wave?

It's sort of like saying, "I know you don't want to come here, and I don't really want you here, so just show up and then leave as soon as you'd like, with no hard feelings."

Kind of what I do at my in law’s parties, except I don't think those are open houses...except for me.
Pool or no a pool….

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