Twelve o'clock and the church bells are pealing in the tower, their deep notes rolling up the hill to our house, a harbinger of the morning's passing.
Father's Day 2012 has turned sunny but cool after an overcast morning so chilly that I wore a mohair cardigan and a scarf around my neck on the way to Starbucks.
Every Sunday morning, Mr. Pom deposits me at Starbucks while he takes the dogs to the park and picks up bagels. The ritual started when I had the knee replacement and could not manage the hills and bumps of the woodland path. I started using the hour to do research for my book and while he and the dogs had a good run, I filled a black spiral bound sketchbook with notes and quotes, sketches and drawings.
Oh yes, I am lazy and if given an out will choose coffee, reading, and writing over any physical exertion. Mr. Pom would gladly join me at Starbucks (and does after he comes back), but Mr. Pom could no more sit at Starbucks while the dogs wait for a walk than he could quit his job and move to Tahiti under an alias.
I married a good man. A solid man; a stolid man; a responsible man. He is bound by the laws of duty in all he does. He gets up each morning and does whatever has to be done. If it is a weekday, he is up in time to give the dogs a good walk. If it is a weekend, he is up in time to give the dogs a good walk. If I want to go to the beach at 7:00 a.m., we get up in time to give the dogs a good walk.
I can swear on the Bible that my husband has never called in sick when he was not sick, not even to attend a World Series game. In fact, I can probably count on one hand the times when he called in sick that wasn't related to his often agonizing back problems. He just isn't a call-in-sick guy.
Today is Father's Day. It is quiet here. Micalangela is in Baltimore; Mystery Man is in and out, visiting but with plans. The Newly Weds will be over later.
So, I said to Mr. Pom, what do you want to do on Sunday? Drive upstate? Take the dogs to the reservoir? Go into the city for brunch and walk around the park? Take one of your marathon wild rides around the 5 boroughs where we never get out of the car until we cry for a restroom?
He raised his eyebrows at me.
I'm making ribs.
Ribs? You're making ribs?
But that's an all day affair! You have to dry rub them, bundle the slabs individually, start a charcoal fire, keep watch over them, turn them, baste them, cut them.....I was exhausted just describing it.
I want to make ribs.
So yesterday, we went to a giant box store and bought slabs of ribs, spices, and the fixings for barbecue sauce. Early this morning, he washed the slabs, dried them, and patted them with rub before wrapping them up in foil. He took apart his smoker (an oil drum retrofitted by my sister's husband), and washed the trays, scrubbed the grills, and messed about with a piece of metal he got to place over the rusting bottom. After we walked the dogs, we went to the regular supermarket for corn, the makings of sesame noodles, asparagus, and fruit salad.
When we got back home, laden down with sacks of vegetables, paper plates, the Sunday papers, and the dogs straining to get off the leashes, I thought of how we could be having brunch at a nice sidewalk resturant in the East Village. I was silently wondering why the hell we were entertaining once again, spending money once again, running around once again, when Mr. Pom, the one who can read my mind after 31 years, looked at me before he put the key in the door and said,
We're making memories, hon. That's what we do: we make memories.
And so we do.
And so he does.
I just feel sorry for the rest of the neighborhood: try spending an afternoon smelling woodsmoke and roasting pork and see if it doesn't bring you to your culinary knees.