Hello!

Welcome to The Epic! I am launching this blog as a manifesto for and a guide to living well. The title and motto of the blog are taken from the Epicureans, at least some of whom believed in the notion that not one minute of the future was guaranteed to them and that as a result they had the duty to live life to its fullest every moment.

I believe in discovering fun and pleasurable things wherever I find myself each day and I am told I have a knack for unearthing them. My hope is that by sharing in my pleasures and some of my ways of finding them you will begin to collect all the riches that lie in the moments of your life. They are there. Take them! All our lives should be.....Epic.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Crown Room Revisited

Several people found my attempt to photograph the rocks glass in my post of that title somewhat hilarious. They were curious as to whether there were other, as yet unrevealed, attempts at photography from the same visit to the Delta Crown Room that might indicate more detail about my condition at the time. Or at least about the condition of my talents as an electro-photographer.

Ever ready to please, I include with this note several more shots from that excursion. My intent was to do a little piece on what I consider to be the coolest airport club room which would at that time allow me entry. I am not sure if I still retain that privilege. I still do not know how these shots got to be movies. I have no idea. WARNING: IF YOU ARE IN ANY WAY IMPAIRED OR SUBJECT TO MOTION SICKNESS WHEN YOU VIEW THESE SHOTS, I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT HAPPENS TO YOU. You may wind up feeling impaired even if you are not.

I think the decor of the Crown Room Club located at gate C-25 is wonderful for a commercial space. But, what do I know? The pretty lights and ceiling treatment for example...


video

...the apparently fascinating rather fascinating lighting fixtures and the carpet....


video

...and what appears to be the top of a cocktail ledge and.....more carpet...

video

....a very cool chair, more carpet, the point of my tie, a nifty little reading lamp, another ledge...

video

...a lovely waterfall and marble panel taken at two different compass points just for your enjoyment...

video

and, finally, the very pretty Crown Room sign in the entryway...at least a portion of it....and some gorgeous marble (careful, this is the worst one of all):


video

My goal in taking these shots was to illustrate for you how even during a travel delay one can find amusements in pretty surroundings that might not be noticed if the delay had not caused you to have the time to look for them. What I got was whatever sort of piece you see here. There is a LOVELY blog that I read called "Habitually Chic". The link to this blog is in the list to the right. If you want real, expert thoughts on interior decor and design HC is the place to go. I hope you will take my work in this post not as a guide to decor but as a small inspiration to look around you and seek out things you find lovely. Even in an airport. Even during a delay. If you do that, then you may get into the habit of looking for pleasure in odd places and I accomplish my task.

I wish you all a wonderful holiday weekend. Please keep everyone menaced by Hurricane Gustav in your thoughts and prayers, especially those in my beloved New Orleans.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Power of Italian Loafers


I like nice shoes. For some time, almost all my dress shoes have been Italian loafers like those depicted in the photo. I have them in black. I have them in Brown. I have them in Cordovan. I will wear them here, or there. I will wear them anywhere. They are well made and have a sleek line to them. Now, I know some will raise an eyebrow at the combination of kiltie and tassel but I allow myself little theatrical touches from time to time. They amuse me and brighten the moments when I find myself looking at my feet.

Never underestimate the effect that great shoes can have on the viewing public. If you are religious at keeping them clean and well polished, that is. Nothing says "I am not a person you want to meet" faster than scuffed, unshined shoes. Ladies have known this for a long time. No less a personage than Matlock, the television lawyer, always hand shined his own shoes before going into court. When asked why he engaged in this ritual, Matlock said that when he first walked into court, everyone in the room looked at the little crack between the sole and the upper portion of his shoes to see if they were shined properly. All gentlemen used to know things like this.

Gentlemen are fewer and farther between these days. Ladies have known that for a long time too. Whether gentleman or not, there are times when a seemingly small choice such as a man's footwear can determine on which side of a potentially Dangerous Situation one finds oneself.

I travel a lot tending the matters of my clients. In every town I frequent I have a carefully selected lounge that serves as my clubhouse, thus keeping me from explorations that can, if left unchecked, turn easily into distractions and then slide headlong into fiascos. Along those lines, there used to be a particular bar in Atlanta I would patronize whenever I was in town. Many Epic stories have their inception in that bar but for legal and other reasons they will never be found in these posts. For example, a Pretty Woman purloined my gold lighter there once but I didn't hold it against her. She needed it more than I did. She actually smoked while I only used it as a prop.

The place was in a little house and had a swanky feel. The furniture was comfortable chairs and sofas placed for intimacy and lit by those small, dim lamps that you only find in the most worthy establishments. A small bar was located at the back of the main room and there was a working fireplace and a party room in the basement. I usually went there alone and sat at the bar, the better to soak up not only cocktails but also the fascinating conversation of the (much) younger tipplers who frequented the place. I was the only person I ever saw there wearing a suit. Which, of course, I always wore.
The night of the Dangerous Situation it was cold outside, the fireplace was crackling inside, and I was having a Manhattan. Or two. A fellow I can only describe as a lout was sitting next to me just sloshing down martinis and getting proportionally more inane. You know the type. The only other person nearby was Monika, the bartender.

It is well established that a great bar must have a great bartender. Monica fit into this category with ease, remembering even the sporadic customer like a regular and making fine drinks as well. Before I had any inkling of the impending D.S., Monica and I were engaged in a stimulating conversation about jewelry design. She was attending design school and was wearing several of her own jewelry creations including a rather striking leather choker number sporting a dazzling array of shiny dots. I wouldn't say that her necklace was exactly a collar with metal studs on it but it was something along those lines. Anyhow, it looked great on her.

In my experience, you can be in a perfectly secure appearing place and yet never know how close a D.S. may be lurking. Unknown to me, my conversation with Monika was making the lout jealous due to his attempts to engage her in conversation. These efforts earned him the cold shoulder, delivered in the way that only a lady bartender can give you the cold shoulder. To recap the score just before the D.S. manifested itself we saw one (rather) older, suited, fellow attempting to ignore a (now) drunken lout who was himself being ignored by the prima bartender. A wicked triangle had developed. And as many of you no doubt know, a drunken and frustrated lout is a singular hazard.

Finally, the lout turned to me and asked in a menacing tone (the worst of all the tones in the drunken lout repertoire): "Tell me something, are you GAY?" I raised an eyebrow and begged his pardon, to which he repeated the question adding "You must be gay, you are drinking a pink drink." At this juncture, I thought it apropos to point out that

a. Colors are just colors. Not sexual manifestos.

b. In any event, a properly made Manhattan is AMBER in color, not PINK, and

c. If I were gay, he would not be the one.

My first point was without question and needed no proof. The reader can view the following conclusive evidence of my second point:


You will just have to take my word for the third point.

You see, I went to a really good school. I learned a few things about classical argumentation. Little things like the sophisticated argument set out above (at no cost to you) that can be deployed against the armies of Drunken Louts roaming the landscape. It's what I do. The effect of my argument seemed, as always, to depend on the recipient. Monika burst out laughing and gave me a free drink. The lout turned again to me seeming even more red faced than previously. Take it from me, to be suddenly confronted in a nice bar by a drunken lout who has misplaced his sense of humor is not a pretty thing. Actually, I am not sure that a lout HAS a sense of humor. In the event, the D.L. sneered to Monika "how come you bought HIM a drink and not ME?" The effort required for him to put this thought together caused the D.L. to tumble off his bar stool backward and he landed on his back, feet up in the air. I was impressed. A full- on road kill landing like that has at least a six point degree of difficulty the last time I looked it up.

Monika looked over the bar and replied "He gets a free drink because he has manners and he is wearing Italian loafers. You are rude and have Hush Puppies sticking up in the air." The D.L., having reached an effective altitude for footwear observation, goggled at my loafers and passed out leaving me to ponder whether I had effected my first argumentative knock out. The bar is still there I guess but I haven't been there in a long time. I got tired of the wider and wider gap between my age and the rest of the customers that caused me to feel like a character in St. Elmo's Fire. I found another clubhouse in Atlanta. I still buy the same loafers.

Buy the best shoes you can afford. Keep them properly maintained. You will feel great wearing them no matter what else happens during your day. And they are Kryptonite to louts.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Frank Joint

True or false. A joint that has Sinatra's picture on the wall is a good joint. Unquestionably true. Chasen's, before it closed. La Dolce Vita in Beverly Hills, still. 21 and Patsy's and Clarke's Bar in New York. The Galleria Bar at Caesars and the Golden Steer in Vegas. You could take it to the bank that if Frank's picture was there, it was GOOD.

So, the first thing I saw when I walked into the Starlight Lounge at Timpano Chophouse in Orlando was a great big painting of...Frank. This place is part of a (small) chain, but pally they get it RIGHT. The music is Frank, Dean and Sam. They have my favorite seating arrangement...black padded semi-circular banquettes. The ladies who work there wear Chanel-esque little black dresses. The men wear vests and slacks and deliver your cocktails with class. Both address you and your companion as "Mister", "Missis" or "Miss". They make you feel like somebody. The martinis are superior, as is only right.

All this would be good enough these days even if the food were mediocre. But the food is fabulous. They have a watercress salad with champagne vinaigrette. All the really good places have a watercress salad. They have wedding soup. Ditto. They have both beef and tuna carpaccio, both of which are perfect. They have very good steaks and chops. And salmon, if you must. They make the pasta fresh every day and the best one is the lobster and shrimp ravioli with fresh basil and roasted tomato sauce. When I finished my ravioli I had a unique experience. Erica my waiter asked if she could bring me another serving. Gratis. How often has that happened in restaurant history? I thought she was in love with me but ultimately I discovered that Timpano just doesn't want customers to go home hungry. I do not usually have dessert while I am travelling, but at Timpano they have the best dessert tray I have ever seen. Every one of the classic desserts is in a portion the size of a large shot glass so anyone can eat one and not feel guilty. My favorite is the strawberries Grand Marnier. If you really want to impress your guests, have the silver tree of assorted cheesecake popsicles brought over with your espresso. The toffee crunch and pistachio coated ones are very popular.

My (and I bet Frank's too) ultimate test of any joint is the bartender. Vonne is behind the bar at Timpano. She is a LOT younger than me. As a result, I thought I would test her by ordering a Stinger cocktail after dinner. Believe it or not, it was perfect. I didn't see that she looked it up, either. Also, the decor of the place is old school swank updated with some Tuscan touches. See for yourself at http://timpanochophouse.net/. The whole Timpano experience was the perfect antidote for a VERY trying travel day.

In short, I have now been to Timpano many times and I have never been disappointed by either my Lunch or Dinner experiences. Find one near you and try it today. If there isn't one near you, go to a town where they have one. You won't be sorry. Frank would agree.

Robot Blogger Alert!

I had the horrid experience today of having to get up at the crack of dawn (actually at the crack of the crack of dawn) to go to the airport for a flight that was delayed two hours. This sort of thing always causes me some form of mental boomerang effect. I get myself awake and ready for the day, get my energy level ramped up, and then a longish delay and BLAH.

In a valiant Epic attempt to find some sort of enjoyment in the situation, I happened upon two things that raised my spirits considerably. The first appeared when I was leaving a comment on another blog and was asked to put in one of those sequences of random letters and numbers to validate my submission. The reason stated for this task was to prevent "automated robots" from posting comments! I can see it now. A room lined with stainless steel decor items hidden at the top of a remote (but very luxurious and replete with very good looking underlings) mountain. A summit meeting between nefarious masterminds like Dr. Evil and Ernst Stavro Blofeld where they plot how they are going to launch an army of "automated robots" (as opposed to the NONAUTOMATED variety of robot) to sabotage blogdom and hold it for ransom. Probably for ONE MILLION DOLLARS.

You can tell that despite remaining in airport purgatory, I am highly diverted.

The second thing was reading Mel Morris' post this morning at melissacmorris.com. In this entry she describes being torn from her bed in a nice Scottish hotel by a series of false fire alarms. What I found inspirational about this piece was her ability to take a very humorous set of photos in the hotel lobby during the disturbance and to make a GREAT posting from it. My favorite photo was one showing Mrs. Morris sitting in the hotel bar looking rather cross while a fellow sitting behind her in a bathrobe is seen drinking a cocktail. During a fire alarm. At 2:15 a.m. My kind of guy.

Thanks to MCM for reminding us not to lose our sense of humor and to use that most important sense in trying situations to make them palatable. And thanks to whoever thought far enough ahead to give the rest of the blogosphere fair warning of the army of automated robots waiting to pounce! Here is a photo of one of their henchmen that I managed to get from a pal at the CIA:

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Best Voice You've Never Heard

Lush Life. Billy Strayhorn must have been in a lot of saloons at all times of the day by the time he wrote this song as a teenager in Pittsburgh. Anyone who could come up with the term "twelve o clock tales" had been around. Trust me.
Lush Life has been recorded a lot, and it is one of my favorites, but unquestionably my favorite version has always been that of Sammy Davis, Jr. When SDJ hits the pathos laden

Romance is mush
Stifling those who strive
I'll live a lush life
in...
some...
small...
dive......

you had better be sitting down. Merely being sober won't help you.

Perhaps due to the reference to "girls I knew" in the original Strayhorn lyric but more likely because of the power of SDJ's rendition (combined with my several year sequence long ago of relationships that could only be described as bizarre), I always considered Lush Life a quintessentially male saloon song. That is, until the night my great pal Colonel Joe and I found ourselves in Seattle's Jazz Alley and we heard a young lady named Roberta Gambarini sing it.

Colonel Joe is a retired military man, an attorney, a world traveler and an Epic prototype. A man who has been around a bit. Not prone to being taken in by just any old song sung by just any lady. The MC that night at Jazz Alley introduced Miss Gambarini as being a very talented singer who "gets it". He understated it.

Miss Gambarini has a gorgeous voice, beautiful range and a solid grasp of her material. Victor Schermer said of her in All About Jazz:

Gambarini has thorough command of a pure, clear soprano voice, perfect pitch, and a natural and intuitive grasp of jazz. Her timing and articulation are exquisite......What is totally mind blowing about Gambarini's singing is the was she does scat. You have to hear it to believe it--she improvises with an agility, virtuosity and nuance of phrasing that are beyond all expectation...She sings like Charlie Parker played the alto sax...

When Miss Gambarini took the stage that evening and began her set, I was amazed that I had never heard of her. As she went from song to song I became convinced that to find a lady jazz singer who you can argue is better than Roberta Gambarini you have to rely upon voices that are available to us only in recordings. Voices that have names like Ella. Or Sarah. When you compare her to all of the talented ladies currently practicing their craft in jazz, it is not even close. Her first album "Easy to Love" (1996) was fabulous. Her second album "You Are There" (2008), recorded with Hank Jones, is even better. If you are lucky enough to live in a cool jazz outpost like I do, you can just stroll down to your local little jazz record store and pick them up. Our cool little local jazz store is called Amazon. Otherwise, you can check out Miss Gambarini's song samples at her web page http://myspace.com/robertagambarini. Better yet, click here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbZeEGRj-JYand see for yourself. But the best thing is to see her in person as she also has a charming stage presence. And she sings Lush Life.

That night in Seattle, Roberta Gambarini tumbled broken-heartedly through the last stanza of Strayhorn's classic:

And there I'll be
while I rot with the rest
Of those whose lives
are...
lonely...
too...

Silence. She continued to gaze, no doubt in some painful reverie based in the fact that I was married. More likely it was the fact that Colonel Joe was married. The room was entranced by the musical philter that had been applied to it. Colonel Joe and I stared at the stage and raised our martini glasses in tribute. Then that room full of jazz cats exploded with applause. The Lush Life. It doesn't get any better than that.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Unexpected Laughs

My Dad always told me that, no matter what, you had to keep your sense of humor. I think I have done that pretty well. Looking for and finding the funny bits that present themselves along with the daily travails has given me great fun over the years and has the power to turn a potentially gray day sunny with a laugh. The funny bits are always there, you just have to get used to seeing them when they appear.

Consequently, I have great respect for the rare people that slip little funny gems into their work for our enjoyment when we least expect it. Today, I give a tip of the Epic hat to Bill Cunningham of the New York Times. His photo essay on the centennial celebration of Blithewold mansion this morning included a fine collection of ladies and gentlemen with numbered labels to identify the guests for the reader. I do not recall ever before bursting out laughing viewing a society photo essay but I did this morning--causing the Irish Redhead to raise an eyebrow at me across the breakfast table. But then she burst out laughing also in her fantastic, deep chuckle. Snuggled into the guest photos was one "Peter J. Rabbit" in photo four. With apologies to Mr. PJR, the photo looked like this:



A tiny little photo but it made a rainy morning bright! Play games every day. Look for the fun. If you can, sneak a little fun for someone else into what you do. Do not let anyone take away your sense of humor. Thank you, Mr. Cunningham. And, thanks Dad.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Poetry Discovered.

I read a lot, and I have a better education than I probably deserved, but I am woefully deficient when it comes to poetry. Previously, my experiences of poetry were best described by paraphrasing Jane Austen's Elizabeth Bennet. I had only "a thin sort of inclination" toward poetry and it only took "one good sonnet to starve it entirely away".

I have read some Robert Service that I liked. Who wouldn't like the "Poet of the Yukon?". Also, I am in the midst of a three year period of World War I reading and as a result have passing familiarity with Rupert Brooke, Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon who were some of the more famous poets of that sadly poetical era. One little illustrated volume of Thomas Hardy because I cannot resist little illustrated volumes of anything. A high-school smattering of Robert Frost. That was it.

Then, purely by accident, I had a poetic epiphany. I heard a poem by Raymond Carver on the radio of all places. Birds sang. Rainbows beamed. Scales fell from (metaphorical) eyes. I pulled my car over, got out, walked to the little poetry book shop nearby and bought a copy of Carver's collected works, "All of Us".

Actually, I kept driving and worked an entire month. The closest little poetry book shop is at LEAST a three hour drive. Some epiphanies take time to seep in. I ordered it from http://amazon.com/ which in my imagination is a little shop in Seattle or Vancouver or Bohemia that has this astounding array of books..... Anyhow, when I received my copy of "All of Us" I read it straight through. Twice. Trust me on this, Carver's poetry is unlike anything you have ever read. His poems are like little screenplays or micronovellas or those miniature oil paintings that you buy at booths on slantingly sunny days under the trees near Central Park and never let out of your sight the rest of your life.

A sample:

Rain

Woke up this morning with
a terrific urge to lie in bed all day
and read. Fought against it for a minute.

Then looked out the window at the rain.
And gave over. Put myself entirely
in the keep of this rainy morning.

Would I live my life over again?
Make the same unforgivable mistakes?
Yes, given half a chance. Yes.

One more to whet your appetite:

Interview

Talking about myself all day
brought back
something I thought over and
done with. What I'd felt
for Maryann--Anna, she calls
herself now--all those years.

I went to draw a glass of water.
Stood at the window for a time.
When I came back
we passed easily to the next thing.
Went on with my life. But
that memory entering like a spike.

You NEED this book. Everyone needs at least one collection of great poetry. I would not have said this two months ago, before I read Raymond Carver. Hell, you can even take it to your fantasy football league draft and read it between rounds. That should REALLY disturb your leaguemates.

If these tastes of Carver are not enough to intrigue you, then just look up his "In the Lobby of the Hotel Del Mayo". Do not read it. Put on your wrinkled linen suit (you DO own one, don't you?) and find yourself a joint that has a shady outdoor bar with ceiling fans. Find yourself a not so clean, dimly lighted spot. Do not read it. Order a neat double of Anejo Tequila or Centenario Rum. Do not read it. When the drink arrives at your hand, take a solid sip. Or two. Then read it. Thank me later.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hats?

I admit it. I was going to post today on a completely different subject, but I was flying home from a business trip and was diverted by seeing no less than four males wearing dress hats!! Civilian, business traveling males. Wearing hats just for sartorial splendor! What in the world was going on? I pondered whether I had mistakenly (perhaps due to my detailed investigation of rocks glasses reported below) taken a flight to Barcelona or Capri but after looking closely about me I confirmed that I was in the Atlanta airport where I was supposed to be.


Which left me considering whether this was just a snazzy but random series of sightings or the leading edge of a fashion wave. On the one hand, four hats does not a wave make. On the other hand, I have never seen that many hats before--certainly not in the Atlanta airport. I have always loved the notion of dress hats for men but with the demise of the business hat in America caused by JFK's bare-headed inauguration I have never had the nerve to wear one. I did buy a straw boater one time during the depths of an F. Scott Fitzgerald phase but I could only get myself to wear it to church on Easter Sunday. Where it was VERY well received by the ladies, I might add. The octogenarian ladies anyway.


I was going to take some photos of these hats but I was afraid of being thrown a beating [an apt term from a Brooklyn pal of mine] and I did not have the nerve to walk up and ask permission. Call it rookie blogger anxiety syndrome. Instead, I have exemplars of the hats I saw as follows:


This is a gambler hat. I saw two gentlement in suits walking with these hats on. The look was very good. And, no, there were no corporate logos on the hats or event logos or advertisements of any sort. Just a plain dress hat.


I saw one fellow wearing a very sharp felt hat like this one. He must have been a film director or a famous jazz man. Probably not a European though or it would have been a beret.




This is MY straw boater. That is not my head under it. I put this photo in only to show I do own one. If you are an octogenarian lady, I apologize for the flutterings this is causing you.


Without question the best thing I saw today was a boy of perhaps twelve, wearing slacks and a nice shirt and this sort of dressy "outback" style hat!!! I looked closely for any sign of an adult holding a weapon of any sort aimed at his head but I was unable to identify any external threat sufficient to make a boy dress up that well in a public place and look happy with himself. I did take the liberty of calling out to him that I liked his hat and he gave me a thumbs up. His mom gave me one of "those" looks.

The concluding piece of evidence on this issue in my opinion is provided by the Village Hat Shop stores in California. They have a multitude of hats for sale. They have four locations. Consequently, there must be a lot of people making hats and buying hats. Check out their fantastic web site at http://villagehatshop.com/ . Buy a hat. Or ten. I do not think that they stock boaters, but if you beg them they may dust one off for you. You cannot have mine. I'm getting older myself. Soon my friends, my boater will significantly add to my social agenda.

I am going to put down a romantic's bet on this hat issue. I think that dress hats for men who are not in show business or in uniform are back. I will wear a dress hat. As soon as you do.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Rocks Glass

For the imbiber, there is NOTHING like a good rocks glass. Sinatra bought them by the case whenever he hit a joint that had great ones with just the right heft and size. No less a personage than Kingsley Amis described a good rocks glass in this fashion:

"The point of it is not just that it looks pretty--though it does, very--but that in it you can get a lot of ice cubes into a short drink without piling them up above the surface and so numbing the drinker's nose. It is the ideal vessel not only for the Old-Fashioned cocktail but for anything drunk on the rocks..."

In this modern age of air travel, Lord knows there is little enough to praise. My old favorite, Delta, has taken a step toward the return of civility by procuring a huge stock of GREAT rocks glasses! They hold a lot and have a perfectly heavy base which is just the thing for thwarting possible turbulence without spilling a drop. After SERIOUS investigation of this fine "vessel" and its capacity for vodka, I attempted to take the following photo with my digital camera. I have no idea how it went movie on me. I was just thankful that I made it out of the Crown Room Club. Maybe I can buy a case of these glasses out of the bankruptcy estate.....


video

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Dinosaurs

A "fine summer day" where I live is sunny with the temperature and the humidity over ninety. One one such day in the summer of my son's fifth year, I was engaged in plugging grass in my front yard.

Plugging grass was one of my least favorite things to do when I was twelve and my knees and back would actually cooperate with almost anything the rest of me wanted to do. No matter how dismal. Over-forty grass plugging stretches even the fun-finding powers of a dedicated epicure to the breaking point.

My wife, the Irish Redhead, and my son, the Future Rock Star, were sitting on the edge of the front porch taking a breather. FRS was occupying himself by dropping a rock into the dirt of an as yet unplugged spot. The driest dust on Earth plumed with each plop of the stone.

I was occupying my mind contemplating the pattern of lush green checkerboard squares I was inflicting on the planet when I heard my son say,

"Momma, what happened to all the dinosaurs?"

To which the IR replied "Well, there are a lot of theories about that. Most scientists think that a huge meteor from outer space hit the Earth down by Mexico and a cloud of dust blotted out the Sun causing the temperature to go way down. That killed all the dinosaurs' food and they had no way to live."

The stone continued to hit the dusty ground with a plop, plop, plop. From the corner of my eye I could see FRS staring intently at the puffs of dust rising up after each impact. Then,

"Momma, are there still meteors out in space today?"

"Oh sure, millions of them. They are all over the place."

Plop, plop, plop.

"Gosh, that could be dangerous....."

Plop, plop, plop....

"...but we can't worry about that today...."

FRS put the stone on the porch step and ran off through the sprinkler.

I have that little stone on my desk. Small stone. Big lesson. One of my favorite pleasures of parenthood is listening to my natural philosopher son. Try listening to a child. You'll learn new things or recover gifts you left somewhere along the way. Even a mundane chore like plugging grass can provide Epic gifts if you do it in the right company. And if you listen.