OtterSummer 8.33-EMC

EMC
The Grand Otter met Jonathan four years ago, when The Muse and I were still staying in temporary digs, that apartment building where our newly-captive cats would walk around the place screaming every morning at five. Weeks into our exile then, we would have joined in their pre-dawn lamentations without the support of a couple of really dear friends; and had The Otter not shown up. Sunday nights, we’d take over one of the big gas grills provided for the transient tenants and feast while The Grand Otter swam in the adjacent pool. Many of the very worst problems of this world were resolved around that table, and Jonathan could be depended upon to bring a selection of fine cheese and a bagful of chocolate—two of The Otters favorite food groups.

The following summer, he having completed his exile and we ensconced in better surroundings, he was an infrequent guest, always bringing a brick of extra-sharp Tillamook cheddar and a bag of chocolate. He was there the night The Otter melted down during one of The Muse’s work get-togethers. She only rarely sees him these days, but she warmly anticipates every encounter.

”He’s like some crazy uncle,” she explains. “He tells me to do stuff that no other grown up ever encourages, like Eat More Chocolate.” And he does. He can, with a glance, transform the usually grumpy Otter into a giggler. “You’re my favorite Brit,” The Otter applauds. Of course, he’s the only Brit she knows.

He’s up on the latest fringy poet and the popular music; he’s always good for a reference or two to some odd-ball webcast or disturbingly strange literature. He encourages The Otter to wear her septum piercing so it shows and hugs her for the sheer joy of hugging her.

I am not jealous, not for a minute. No well-cast grandfather has any interest in channelling Willy Wonka. I have my moments, but moments they must remain. I have broader responsibilities than simply spoiling and cheering on, and The Otter understands this. Everyone needs someone in their life to conspire with, though, and Jonathan fills that bill, and perfectly.

I’d planned last night on supper at a grill I was interested in visiting, with dessert across the street, where I knew The Otter and Jonathan would squeal together in chocolate-induced delight, and nobody was disappointed. We occupied the last sidewalk table left in the sweltering evening, and shared a trove of sinful delights. The Otter, who a scant half hour earlier had complained of being unable to eat another bite, managed to nibble a taste of everyone’s goodies while finishing her own, all the while with Jonathan egging her forward. The Muse and Jonathan would occasionally slip into discussing “politics,” —The Otter despises political conversations— but even these digressions failed to daunt her spirits. Of course, she was on an epic sugar high by then, unlikely to regain any foothold near the ground until the weekend.

I drove Jonathan to his remarkably poorly located hotel before we zooted up through Rock Creek to home. The parting was quick. Jonathan probably had a few hours of paperwork to complete before his early morning meetings. The Muse, too, had a full day ahead of her tomorrow. The supper had been a cool palate cleanser in the sweltering Otter Summer. As Mr. Wonka left the car, he shouted in The Grand Otter’s direction, “Eat More Chocolate!”, and was gone.

©2013 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved









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