Joe’s in Hampton, Va. for Phish’s first reunion concerts.
Me and the pug? We’re at my Oma and Opa’s place, enjoying an alternate weekend in Nokomis, Fla.
(Oma and Opa = German for Grandma and Grandpa.)
They live about an hour from me in a wooded mobile home park called The Royal Coachman – the quaintest retirement community on the Gulf Coast. And in my journalistic opinion, the best retirement community on the Gulf Coast.
PK will join me tomorrow for sun tannin’ by the Royal Coachman pool and home cooked German meals in Oma’s lanai. Until then, it’s just me and the pug sleeping on a pullout sofa, listening to the sound of clocks tick and motorcycles rev muffler-lessly into the night.
Oma told me a story tonight that I’ll share with you briefly before I fall asleep under these downy blankets.
It started first with Opa pinching his gray hair, which hangs in a kind of sparse dutch boy when it’s freshly cut.
“Gerhard,” Oma said. “The barber tuk a lot off dis time.”
“Ja. That is because I told him to,” said Opa. “Every time I go to him he schnibbles only a little around mein ears, so I have to come back two, tree veeks later. I told him to take it all off at vonce. I pay to get mein hair cut, so cut it mensch!”
Smiling, Oma reached around Opa’s head and touched the bristled ends of his hair. She asked if I remembered tiptoeing up to him as a little girl – my sisters and I – clipping plastic barrettes in his hair while he was sleeping.
I remembered it vaguely.
Opa, who has a hard time remembering most things, remembered it like it happened yesterday.