What I learned this weekend:
You can’t pick strawberries and not end up making fondue.
There are a lot of things that change when you get married.
You don’t go out and get drunk as much. You watch a few less ball games on TV. You see an attractive girl walking down the street and find yourself wondering if the blue pattern on her blouse would go well as an accent color with the new bedspread you just picked up at Bed, Bath & Beyond.
You actually find yourself shopping at Bed, Bath & Beyond.
Let’s face it: when you get married… you turn a little gay.
But, perhaps nothing really prepares you for that moment when your father calls to talk about the Royals busting a 12-game losing streak and you find yourself responding, “No, I didn’t get to see it. I’m making fondue.”
There’s a silence on the other end of the line that M. Night Shyamalan could use to make three or four trailers.
Things don’t get better when you explain that you’re making fondue because of all the fresh strawberries you picked that morning in a field north of Los Angeles.
I’m pretty sure Dad was thinking what you’re thinking: Why were you picking strawberries? Isn’t that what all of those underpaid immigrants are for?
I’m glad you follow the news. Yes, there are plenty of people who make a living picking all kinds of fruit across this great land of ours. There are fine, hardworking people who pack up this fruit and load it on trucks. There are wonderful, strapping fellows (and fell-gals?) who drive these trucks all across the country, delivering delicious fruit to stores where you can also buy milk and cookies and in certain counties, hard liquor.
I love going to the store, picking up a small batch of this tasty fruit and taking it home to chow down while catching up on Robot Chicken re-runs.
But, alas… people who live in the city have funny ideas about what constitutes a good time on the weekends. In the case of this weekend, a friend of mine decided to spend her birthday reminiscing about the fields that used to be where greater Los Angeles now sits and pick fruit from the ground, as in days of yore.
“You should love this,” she told me. “It will be just like where you grew up on the farm in Kansas.”
Ah, yes… the farm. Nine years I’ve been living in Los Angeles and I still can’t convince my friends that I grew up in a city with paved roads and running water and surprising few chickens running around people’s front yards looking for feed.
Anyway, we went to this farm where some genius had figured out that instead of growing a useful crop and selling it to mass industry, he could plant a few patches of strawberries, a row or two of organic bean sprouts and some assorted carrots and melons, and coax all the city slickers into giving him money for the experience of pulling their own food out of the ground.
And don’t forget the petting zoo. I paid five bucks four about ten-cents worth of ground alfalfa so a baby goat would consider waddling over my way.
I say again, that man is a genius.
So, we picked some strawberries and drank some wine and my wife and I found ourselves sitting at home near the end of the day wondering what we were going to do to dispose of the eight pounds of fresh fruit taking up space in the refrigerator.
I’m proud to say that my first idea was to start throwing it out the window of our house and see if we couldn’t peg a few of the kids who were skateboarding outside.
She suggested fondue. Chocolate won.
And, so did the Royals. So, once my dad was over the shock of hearing his son explain how he was dipping a strawberry and some pound cake into a bowl of chocolate heated by a votive candle, we were able to talk about how the team should approach the amateur draft this week.
Then, I paged through the Bed, Bath & Beyond circular from the Sunday paper to see if they had anything in that shade of blue.