Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Where’s The Pool? - From June 8, 2011

I can hear the quiet out there...plus my page view stats are way under the table...so before any more of you wander off to Dr. Oz's page of miracle cures and weight loss recipes, I thought I better put something up...old as it may be.

But as I've been saying, a lot of new folks missed out on most of these gems...and as for the old folks...well, if you're like me, you can't remember what you had for breakfast, let alone what you read 4 plus years ago.

So it's a "Win/Win" all around!

But I'm getting closer to unwrapping my brain and putting something new together about our Ireland trip.

This morning I actually opened my laptop and sat down to write...until I got distracted by a couple of e-mails and a Facebook post that offered to determine my "REAL" age.

It said I'm 34, by the way, which makes sense, except to my sometimes achy knees, which I don't  take seriously, since they're chronic complainers, anyway.

I don't know what scientific method they employ to determine such things...but here's the proof...so who am I to argue.

And now...on with the show....


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 Nellie, 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….


  1. Reading this I realize I led a deprived life growing up - no relatives except my one set of grandparents who only entertained food wise by lopping off a slice of ham while you stood there with your buttered or "mustarded" slices of bread ready to have them slap it on there for you. My parents had a Hibachi which we used at cookouts for the beach and a kettle grill in the backyard which choked and sputtered on the charcoal briquettes you had to feed it. I've never been to a BBQ with my friends, although growing up, there were Hungarian friends of my folks who would put bacon on a spit and let the drippings speckle huge hunks of homemade rustic bread. It was a treat for them. Once or twice each Summer my father would cook up big batches of potato pancakes in the backyard on an electric skillet because otherwise the whole house would reek of them if fried in a pan on the stove. My only BBQ was at "The Boneyard" a local eatery. And there was no pool, save for the three-ring, blow-up pool in the backyard when I was knee-high to a grasshopper. Now this post has left me feeling unloved, deprived and hungry ... and of course laughing. :)

    1. This is probably one of the most heartbreaking comments I've ever received...yet at the same time -sorry to say - perfect material for a long running sitcom. I'm thinking something along the lines of "A Schaub Story". In any case, if you ever find yourself in the neighborhood, stop by and I'll grill you up a cheeseburger and I'll even throw in some fries and beans....

  2. Laughing. Me too. Check out the group pic -- the gentleman in the front row, second from the right. That's my long-lost Uncle Louis (rhymes with chop suey; also phooey). Next time you see him, tell him to call his mother.

    1. Happy to reunite the family for you. Thanks for hanging in there with me. I know I'm letting you down with the dearth of fresh material...but I'm working on it...sort of.... How's your summer going so far? Get out on the boogie board yet?

    2. Boogie Board? Is that the platform at Nantasket Beach where the ladies with the Red Hats perform line dancing to 1940s music?
      Unfortunately, I do not own a red hat, and line dancing is something I have not yet learned. I suppose I could manage to shurffle along with the best of them. And, indeed I would if they would play Benny Goodman's Let's Dance on the old Victrola.


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“Is there anybody alive out there…”