HomePublicationBurbankErskine: An Ode to Hope and Pumpkin Pie

Erskine: An Ode to Hope and Pumpkin Pie

As you know, we live in a town where freeways catch fire. At one local supermarket, I noticed that they patched a pothole with a bunch of duct tape, so I have zero doubts that Los Angeles is up to the task of repairing a simple blown-out freeway.
What they’ll do, I presume, is look for a guy like that John Wayne dude who quickly fixed the 10 freeway after the Northridge quake.
Either that, or they’ll go down to the Home Depot and hire a bunch of those guys hanging around looking for day jobs. Tell you what, those would be the hardest working laborers you could ever find. And they’ll show up too — on holidays, or when it storms. Not sure you could say the same for Caltrans.
And onward we go, looking for hope and concrete.
Meanwhile, I hear malaria is making a comeback, and dog-sized lizards are reportedly threatening the South. Don’t panic. You never know how these things are going to turn out.
I mean, remember when we thought it would never rain again? Or that Britney Spears’ memoir would be a huge disappointment? I mean, has Britney even read a book? Now she has the No. 1 bestseller.
America, huh?
Sometimes our expectations can backflip us into humbleness. Sometimes not.
Let me just say, I’m happy for Miss Spears. No one is much good at handling fame, let alone a teenager from Louisiana, hip-thrust into the limelight at such a tender age and suddenly hanging out with Justin Timberlake. No kid should ever suffer that.
As you know, margarine is only one molecule away from being paint. Similarly, America is only one molecule away from being a complete mess. Always been that way, always will.
So why are so many people insistent on coming here? The Pilgrims for instance? And the Irish? And the Australians most of all?
As I like to point out, no one is really from America. The very first humans came over on a land bridge linking Asia and Alaska. We’re all relative newcomers. We’re all pledges. And the hazing! It’s never easy being the newcomer, we all know that.
Great books will see us through. Props to all those who have supported Miss Spears’ literary marvel. Similarly, thanks to those who have purchased Steve Searles’ terrific memoir, the one I have blah-blah-blah’ed about for several months now. It offers truth and insights too, though we somehow left out a chapter on Steve’s time with Justin Timberlake.
If I knew then what I know now, I’d have also included a chapter on Taylor Swift’s favorite ice cream. Also, some info about what Taylor likes in men (apparently everything).
Taylor Swift’s dating checklist:
— Is he breathing?
— Does he have a car?
— Can he grow a mustache?
Honestly, I admire Taylor Swift a lot, as I’ve said before. For many people, she is magic. And the world needs more magic.
We also need more books.
Unlike us, books breathe forever. To me, they are the most beautiful form of eternal life.
That’s why I’m so drawn to writing, as well as to bookstores and libraries. They are cathedrals to me, with the same resonance, the same connection to big ideas and to faith.
Faith is everything. The older I get, the more I believe that faith is everything.
Next week, we will gather to celebrate faith again. Not necessarily the Zarathustras or Martin Luthers of the world. Or anything written down really, not the Scriptures, though they often speak meaningfully to our hearts and minds.
What we actually celebrate at Thanksgiving is the resounding idea that, in America, everything will turn out OK. That it will deliver on our dreams. Maybe not as it once did. Or maybe, for some, better than it ever has before.
In the spirit of all that, the lovely patient older daughter is hosting a grand feast for friends and family. To ensure laughter (and abundant beer), she has even included some Aussies, who will play the part of grateful Pilgrims.
Like her late mother, my daughter is a very talented chef. She cooks in octaves of flavor when I only know a few lousy notes.
But I have offered to bring along some Cornish game hens, splashed with Grand Marnier (Suzanne’s idea). I’ll smoke them over red oak in my backyard, another place of magic and faith.
My daughter is thinking about it. In fact, given her love for food, I suspect that is all she is thinking about right now.
Boom! I’m on it, kiddo.
From our home to yours, Happy Thanksgiving.

My daughter cooks and bakes in octaves. I only know a few lousy notes.

The Searles-Erskine book, “What the Bears Know,” is available in bookstores and online. Email the columnist at Letters@ChrisErskineLA.com.

First published Nov. 16-18 in Outlook Newspapers.


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