Lunches, Dinner, And Five More Pounds of Me

Wednesday, April 28th, 2004 | Art, Travel

Thom Gunn died Sunday night, peacefully in his sleep, found by his partner. How sad. He and Jess, who also died earlier this year, were guests at my and Bob’s house every odd year for a birthday lunch, their births falling relatively close to each other, as now their deaths. I loved the accessibility of his poetry–sparse and lyrical. Jess and I were the relatively quiet ones at lunch, while Bob and Thom jabbered on, Thom usually sharing details about his latest drug-n-sex fest. He always seemed happy.

Big Chrissy and I spent the weekend in Moline, visiting his mom and sisters, and in Chicago dining with his dad, Stephanie. This time I only had one Martini the size of my head, at Jack’s on Halstead, and Bambi’s mother, and sour cherry pie. In Moline I woke to perfectly trimmed impossibly green grass, redbuds and plums in full bloom, a little squirrel scurrying across the road, birds tweeting, deep blue sky, and a rabbit in the neighbor’s yard–a guest at the Cleavers’–Eddy and Lumpy around the corner. (Eddy and Lumpy are now married and have recently remodeled their house across the creek and constructed a screened gazebo to accentuate their considerable landscaping.) We visited the Saarinen-designed headquarters of John Deere and Company, interconnected rusty steel-framed and glass rectangles, crowned with a horizontal steel lattice, set into a lush landscape of rolling hills and flowering trees. The architecture is integrated into the landscape in such a way so that it’s nearly impossible to see a complete building. It sits like pieces of abstracted farm machinery, rusting in the fields. On Sunday night we had a “progressive” dinner–meaning we progressed from house to house, course to course: appetizers and Harvey Wallbanger’s at Pat’s (Chris’ mom); lasagne and salad at Beth’s; and then Hershey Bar pie, Chai, and Sopranos at Margie’s. Yumzoodle!

I gained 5 pounds on the trip, from all the sweets and fatty snacks, which I couldn’t tear myself away from, despite the strategically placed grapes and watermelon. My family never snacked. The Little Debbie Snack Cakes, Hostess Cupcakes, and highly refined things at my friends’ houses were like bombs of pleasure that my mom kept from us, offering us fruit instead–which actually continues to be my only snack. When I’m around those kinds of foods, something happens, the sub-taster tramples over the super-taster and the grapes, and can not be satisfied. Help! Give me whole grains, olive oil and a pear–vit!

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