For the shortest time, the winter sun pours through the door. It is so fleeting and if the cat doesn’t time it just right, he’ll miss his sunspot. Today he’s there, happily lying stretched out near the Christmas cat doormat he got as a present.
He doesn’t really lie on the mat but rather near it, maybe just touching it with his paw, not fully committed, I know the feeling. The festive rug is about the last remnant of Christmas still in the room, although I suspect there’s a carton of expired eggnog in the refrigerator. Gone are all the bold and brazen bows and bobbles of the season that covered every open surface, their festive selves draped over chairs, hung from the ceiling, stood in corners, and sparkled in windows, as much as to say, “I’m Christmas and I’m here in this house!”
Without all that cluttered glory, the room seems stark. The temperature is colder, as if there had been a palpable warmth produced from all the gay decorations, or maybe even emitted from the actual heat of the lights on the Christmas tree, which I kept lit almost continuously for it brought me joy to see it glowing there.
Now we lumber around the dark house, empty of angels, elves, and our children. We’re bundled in blankets and robes, and I have to admit to wearing not only floppy bunny slippers, but also a pair of my son’s warm, wooly flannel pajama bottoms, complete with goofy snowmen on them, which, I fear, is not really a good look for me.
Even worse, however, might be The Beleaguered Husband constantly appearing in something called a Cozy, a long, cuddly fleece, a tent-like, padded hoody, complete with a pouch. The effect is that of a large gray kangaroo roaming the house, and I’ve actually been startled to see it coming out of the bathroom or sitting at the dining table drinking a beer. The marsupial and I huddle by the fireplace and heater, sort of lost, as if something is missing.
Then it dawns on me. Aside from the children, and the smell of bayberry and pine, what’s really missing is the color. Red. Red, the color of blood and fire, of excitement and passion, of energy and celebration. All the red decorations had brought a richness to our living room. For a moment, I consider retrieving the crimson Christmas stockings packed away in the garage, and hanging them at the fireplace year-round, or covering the purple couch with a red bedspread, or searching online for red carpeting, but I hold back, trying to temper myself.
A similar passion overcame me a few years ago, when something suddenly possessed me to paint all the kitchen cabinets red. It was that or clean them. The result looks a lot like a set piece from the Barnum and Bailey Circus and I should really just drape a banner across the room proclaiming, “Greatest Show on Earth!”, sell popcorn or maybe start a collection of clowns on the windowsill. Ah, but don’t bother, they’re already here.
It is said there should be a balance of the color red, as too much can produce agitation, anger, and overbearing or demanding behavior, certainly not any behaviors I succumb to. Oh no, unless you count that time I had too much red wine along with being on steroids one Thanksgiving.
Too little of the color red results in lethargy, sluggishness, dullness of wit, and whining. And yes, I’d say a general lack of get-up-and-go, a certain malaise may have set in. Mike and I stumble around in these deep days of winter, grazing on chips and cupcakes, foraging for grubs rather than grabbing life by the horns, (or is that the bull?) and boldly taking on whatever opportunities and challenges come our way. We may be more like Eeyore, the reluctant donkey from Winnie the Pooh, who responds to most circumstances and situations with the phrase, “Why bother?”
Obviously, in addition to a tail, Eeyore needed more red in his life, a lot more red. But in one illustration where he actually has a red balloon tied on as a tail, he says in his defeated style, “Sure is a cheerful color. Guess I’ll just have to get used to it.”
Perhaps I’ll fill the living room with red balloons. But whatever color one is surrounded with, the verve for life is in there, buried a bit in winter months, sleeping sometimes, like the lion in winter, like a cat in the sun. Sometimes it is shaken awake.
Recently, an opportunity presented itself to us that was sort of like having a red balloon tied to one’s tail, and I hate to report we have hemmed and hawed a bit. Michael, coming from a culinary background and having for the last ten years been involved with the restaurant he opened in Santa Monica, Shaka Shack Burgers, has wanted to bring his foody skills and good will (yes, he has some) to Topanga. As everyone knows, due to exacting current restrictions, available restaurant spaces are nonexistent. So, he got the idea of offering some family friendly, casual dinner nights at our local Topanga Community Club and they said, “Yes!”
Sometimes you get what you wish for, which can seem scary, for as Eeyore and Maynard G.Krebs (from the old Dobie Gillis Show) know, opportunity is just another word for work!
As tempting as it is to just burrow in deeper and say, “Why make the effort, why take a chance,why bother?” there is an answer to that question…”Because you’re alive.”
So, it’s time to shake off the stupor, to wake with the frogs, to shed the extra layers, to step up and make The Flying Pig Supper Club a joyous reality, bringing food, fun, and community together.
Naturally, the first menu will be burgers, along with vegetarian selections, and local entertainment, a flying pig or two and, of course, a red balloon. Yes, it will be hard work, certainly we will bicker in the kitchen. Yes, baked beans, blood will be spilled, and a thousand things can go wrong. No, we will probably not make any money, but we will have stood up, however unsteadily, and tried something, here in our Topanga, which we love. On March 1, in the year 2020, maybe that’s a winning in itself. Because when pigs fly, anything is possible. Watch for, The Flying Pig Supper Club, coming to Topanga, March 1 God willing and the creek don’t rise.