Sunday, April 30, 2006

Ars Longa, Vita Brevis

Our first really hot day.....

The toilets failed. The exhaust fan failed. The compost pits turned into a Cohen Brothers horror flick. We turned on the swamp coolers and were rewarded by myriad frost-related geysers. We ran out of flour and made buckwheat pizzas.

We have the California Mille Miglia tomorrow.....I spent three hours making pasta di zucca for them....and too fucking hot. Screw it. So they get a blood orange salade with jicama and shaved fennel.....a white bean salad on the the side.

We checked out Harold McGee on citrus. Turns out that the bitter, protective pheynols in lemon zest are water soluble. They also contain all the anti-oxidants...but fuck 'em. The flavorful oils are not water soluble. So we soaked the zests in virgin olive oil and hope for the best.

Always learning......I have been making candied lemon, orange and lime zests for forty years.... No one ever mentioned the difference in solubility of the bitter anti-oxidant pheynols vs. the oils.

So we had Pat Clark's completely cute daughter Maggie strip a case of organic Meyer lemons of their zests.....and read the whole chapter of McGee. We soaked the zests in cold water.......Seriously fucking bitter!! Three washes and soak in oil.......Not bad! Turns out the yellow color we flush is just a reflection of the cold weather that forces a turn from citrus' natural green color in the tropics......Photo synthesis, and all that.

All battles fought, all demons exocised.

Wait.......one more. Forty years ago tonight, Richard Farina crashed on a motorcycle during his first novel's release party in The Village. It was his wife Mimi's twenty first birthday party.......they had fought earlier in the day....as young couples do.

They never made up.

The party was in The Thunderbird Bookshop....the former post office....future law office, and now day spa in The Village opposite The Running Iron. Richard was making a run for some smoke.....he crashed at The Bucket. Some random guy was driving, and survived.

Our Joe Ortman was the fireman on call.....and failed to save Richard.....

But who could have?

Joe came in tonight for a beer.......

Richard was the natural progression in the Cornell Literary World: Nabokov to Vonnegut to Pynchon to Farina. Did I mention I got Richard's room at Cornell? Literary Viagra needed or what?

Richard met Mimi when she was 14 and ran off with her to Paris. They made their own dulcimers and guitars and some sweet, wonderful, poetic music.....

They are both gone now......When I heard that Mimi had died of breast cancer....the dj on KPIG told me...... I was driving my truck towards The Village......right next to the tree that Richard crashed into.......The hairs on my neck have not yet stood down.....

Every week, Mimi's sister Pauline comes into our place to eat.....she has her own table. She doesn't sing, or play. We never talk about her family.

Still she is the author of Mimi and Richard's only real hit song: Pack Up Your Sorrows....

"There is no use crying, talking to a stranger, naming the sorrow you've seen.

Too many sad times, too many bad times.....Nobody knows what you mean......

Ahhh.. But if somehow you could pack up your sorrows.....And give them all to me.....

You would lose them.....I know how to lose them.....Give them all to me....

No use rambling..... walking in the shadows.... trailing a wandering star.

No one beside you......no one to guide you....

Nobody knows who you are......

But if somehow........"


It is now 9pm.....there is no one around.

The creek is rushing poetically by.....with a full frog chorus. Balmy air. No mosquitos...blazing sky full of stars.

Right now if anyone from anywhere showed up they could have killer rosé sparkling wine from New Mexico with a raspberry sabayon over the first real strawberries of the season from Esther Vasquez.

Possibly life changing experience...

Well......they didn't show. So, I guess I will have their experience for them......

If only......

But the frogs.....and the creek are nice....

Thank you, Richard.....

And....

Requiestat in pace........

1 Comments:

Blogger Brian B. said...

Thanks to a worn out Judy Collins album I can hum along with Pack Up Your Sorrows. Didn't realize you had Farina's room. I do remember that Pynchon pops up in one of his short stories and the priest at your wedding remembered Farina from his own undergrad years at Cornell. And let us not forget when traveling in foreign lands the famous Farina motto: "When you're abroad, you're exempt." Brian Buck

5:50 PM  

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