Sunday, November 28, 2010

the beat goes on

They had so much fun; my parents and their friends.  I'd give anything to be hanging out with them, the way it was back then. 

My mom says we measure our lives in decades.  

To a great extent, I measure my life by their decades.

Such vivid details I've stored; the earliest and most nostalgically memorable, are of Cooper Drive.  There we lived smack in the middle of The American Dream.  

It was a small house in a new suburb.  Hip black and white linoleum tiles were laid out in a dizzying pattern.  We had a tiny concrete patio outside the sliding glass door.  Occasionally, Big Dan, our distant neighbor's Basset Hound, would lumber up to our door and my dad would call his owner, who would come and lead the old dog home.

The kitchen had a built-in, curved, counter top.  I'd sit with my dad on the bar stools while my mom fried oysters for him.  He'd eat them in batches while they were hot, passing some to me.  I don't know if I really liked them or if I just really liked sitting there with my dad. 

That was the decade the music started for me. 

There was always music.  My mom was a jazz singer, my dad, a jazz aficionado and her biggest fan. 

The stereo cabinet housed a turntable and beneath were two doors which you slid left to right or right to left, depending on which album (stacked alphabetically) you wanted.  From that little cabinet came trios, quartets, sextets, big bands, and Sunday operas.  My favorite-----Bossa Nova! 

             "Tall and tan and young and lovely...."

Getz/Gilberto/Jobim would be playing as my parents dressed to go out for the evening.  Mom's dress always had a zipper up the back.  She'd hug me goodbye, leaving the slightest trail of Arpege. 

There were spontaneous, neighborhood parties too.  It was a cocktail world back then; wine was rare.  My dad had a tall martini pitcher.  Whenever he made a batch, I'd hear the clink-clink, clink-clink of the long, glass stirrer as it hit the sides of the glass pitcher.  Then the doorbell would ring and the music would start. 

I wish I could find that pitcher.  I'd give it to my friend Cindy. 

She had a Friday afternoon martini party long ago.  She served the classic drinks in sixties-style martini glasses.  You know the ones---just small enough to assure your martini will still be cold when you reach the olives.

My parents are in their eighties now and have lost most of their friends.  They look at me and see decades they wish they could have back.  I look at them and long for decades as rich as theirs.

The music continues. 

A day doesn't pass that my dad's not playing something from his vast collection and Mom and I have been hanging out at local wine bars, listening to live jazz.   

I'm soaking up all I can from this decade of theirs; one day, one song, and one martini sangiovese at a time.

Cindy's Sixties Martini

Keep the martini glasses in the freezer. 
(More than one, just in case.)

Keep the gin in the refrigerator. 
(Boodles highly recommended.)

Put one or two drops of extra dry vermouth in the frozen glass.  Swirl and pour out any that does not cling to the sides. 
(If you've had a really bad day, skip this step.)

Fill the martini glass with Boodles, leaving room enough for two, large green martini olives or a nice sliver of lemon rind.

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