The ball dropped and then it was over. Just like that. Whoosh!
“Good times,’’ said my son Henry, all misty-eyed and wistful for what had passed.
I couldn’t agree more. Another year, another batch of columns.
With 2011 in the rearview mirror, it’s time to thank all those courageous souls for speaking up and being such good sports. It’s not easy to reveal the gritty details of your life. Charlie, my sons, the butcher, the guys on Pawn Stars — I owe you a burger. A final tribute is in order.
The Old Man and the Scallops
I don’t know who you are, but I want to thank you for selling a fistful of scallops to my son Peder on a spring day. I thought he was running off to the convenience store for Skittles, but, no, he went full speed ahead to your fine fish market and butcher shop and bought slimy shellfish.
I’m sure his purchase was one of the more unusual transactions of the hour, if not the year. It’s not every day that an 11-year-old kid walks into your shop and asks for scallops. But let me assure you that my firstborn was not seeking fish bait.
As the sous chef in our house, he skillfully transformed those chunks of protein into a mouth-watering delicacy that involved scallions, garlic, paprika and a dash of love. Expect to see him again, dear butcher, but this time for squid.
The Good Doctor
After my husband cut his palm shucking oysters one summer night, we rushed to Miriam Hospital, where a convivial physician named Dr. Cummings closed the ugly gash with three grand stitches. Back home, we indulged in a touch of the grape to recover from the ordeal.
Later that evening, a nurse called to say that my husband had forgotten his book. I told her we were too wiped out (tipsy?) to retrieve it that night. In an unexpected gesture of human kindness, Dr. Cummings offered to drop the book off after her shift ended.
Heat Lightning was on our front steps in the morning.
Who says house calls are a thing of the past?
With the economy in the tank, it’s bad enough to be a clotheshorse, but downright disgraceful to admit it to the world. That’s exactly what 20-some- thing Amanda Hearst did when she prattled on in exhaustive detail about what she wore in an annoying column in The New York Times called “What I Wore.”
I haven’t seen the column in a few weeks, so I hope the editors wised up and decided to give it the heave-ho. Those references to “batik-print Zara tulip skirts’’ and “black Lululemon leggings’’ put me to zzz.
Yes, I poked fun at Amanda for her excess, and I won’t apologize. Earth to Amanda: One in three Americans is either poor or perilously close to it. If you must spend $300 on leggings, at least keep it a secret.
I also advise the Olsen twins to keep quiet about the $39,000 alligator backpack from their luxury line, Bad Taste. According to news reports, the backpack is so popular among the one percent, the twins are struggling to meet demand.
Occupiers, meet me on the catwalk.
If you’ve lived in this state for any length of time you’ll know the name — M. Charles Bakst. He was a long-time reporter at The Providence Journal and the paper’s legendary political columnist from 1995 until his retirement in 2008.
But few people know that Charlie, as he’s called by friends in and out of the newsroom, had two heart attacks in 2009 during his annual pilgrimage to Red Sox spring training in Fort Meyers, Florida.
Thankfully he survived, but his life has changed in a big way. He eats hummus, not pastrami sandwiches. He exercises on a treadmill every day and he has slimmed down to 145 pounds.
“You have to tell yourself that you have a lot to live for and that you can do almost anything you did before, yet in moderation,’’ Charlie told me. “You just try to get as much out of life as possible.’’
He looks great. But don’t take my word for it. You can find him at Starbucks, one of his favorite hangouts since moving to the East Side from Barrington. He’s the guy who knows just about everyone in the room. He might have a few crumpled newspapers under his arm too.
Vegas on My Mind
I’d like to give the boys from Vegas a shout-out for creating one of the best reality shows on television, Pawn Stars.
The series chronicles the daily happenings at the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, a family-owned business in Las Vegas run by men with well-tended hair and pinky rings. We’ve been hooked since my son Henry discovered the show channel surfing one night.
We like the program because we have a lot of stuff around our house that we’d like to unload some day. I detailed our extensive collection of oddities in a column that I wrote back in October and emailed to the pawn shop, hoping to get a cameo on the show.
I’m still waiting to hear back from them.
Just to reiterate, guys. We have autographed photographs of Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. They were actors in the 1920s. They were married — to each other. Their Beverly Hills mansion was called Pickfair. Douglas was a swashbuckler.
No, the photos are not in color.
But yes, I can fly to Vegas on short notice.
Elizabeth Rau is an East Side resident who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.