April 3, 2011
The kids are alright
~ The Who
Bill’s son Sean came to town this past weekend. We haven’t seen each other for over a year, despite good intentions and half-baked plans. Sean and his wife Jennifer had hoped to visit last August; we talked about renting an Outer Banks vacation home in the off-season last Fall. Jen’s M.F.A. in photography and Sean’s tattoo artist apprenticeship and their wait person restaurant schedules, plus a gallery show or two, put the kabosh on our wishful thinking.
Sean wasn’t in Cleveland just for the pleasure of seeing us; he had a funeral to attend and attend to, which was the understandable priority. After staying Thursday night with his mom, he arrived at our house Friday at about 12:30 pm, had to leave a little after 4:00, was back 7:00-ish. Saturday he was gone at 1:30 in the afternoon, returning at 6:30 in the evening, and departed for home in Philadelphia at 9:00 a.m. Sunday.
Deducting our sleeping time, we spent 20 hours with each other, talking nonstop. None of us are morning gabbers, but we talked anyway, only in softer voices. Name the topic, we covered it: cars, car racing and my GTI; politics; birth and death and growing older; finances and housing; relatives and friendships; typography and old fashioned lead-set type; the meaning of the word “kern” and its origins. Raising chickens. Hawks.
Movies and which actors push our “must watch” buttons. How Skunk Baxter of The Doobie Brothers jumped off the Blossom stage and into the aisle to play for a saucer-eyed teenage Sean. Food, food trends and the food business. (Sean works at the futuristic Asian hot spot Pod and Jennifer at Morimoto, THE Iron Chef’s cutting-edge sushi place. They both are very, very good at their jobs.)
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And we talked art. The drawing techniques both Bill and Sean learned from famed illustrator C.F. Payne , who Bill was fortunate enough to work with in the early ‘80s. The art Sean’s doing for The Food Network, along with the on-again-off-again status of his painting. He’s managed to do a couple of commissions, but isn’t working as feverishly in his studio as he was last summer since he’s concentrating on developing his tattoo skills.
Sean brought his laptop, so we could view his progress. I’ve wanted a tattoo for years, but I realized, looking at what Sean’s doing, that my thinking is in a little closed box. I must expand my mind. His tat of an antique key, with a drop shadow, blew me away. A drop shadow. Wow.
Monday evening, Sean called to let us know that he and Jen were invited by their boss, mega-restauranteur Stephen Starr, to fly off for a week to train and supervise the wait staff at Makoto, his newest “temple of oysters and sake” in Bal Harbour on the northern tip of Miami Beach.
Makoto’s offerings are termed “modern Japanese:” Toro tartare with caviar, nori and fresh wasabi; chicken tskune meatball with sansho pepper and quail egg; black cod karashi sumiso; snapper carpaccio with uni, plum, shibo and spicy yellow pepper. I don’t understand 90 percent of that last sentence, but I don’t need to. Sean and Jen do, and they do.
Before he left us Sunday, Sean promised that he and Jennifer would return to Cleveland to see us soon. I hope this comes true, but they’re 47 and 39 years old and Bill and I remember who we were at those ages.
They have their own lives to live. Places to go. People to see. So much Kobe fried rice with foie gras to eat.