My Fort Wayne salon.

At some point when you’re preparing for company, it doesn’t seem worth the trouble. Who gives a rat’s ass if the damn sink is clean?, you think. Don’t listen; this is the devil talking. In truth, a clean sink is everything your guests want, even though it appears they don’t notice. They do, on a subliminal level. Subliminal is good; it’s what we want when we entertain.

All this by way of saying that supertalented mystery novelist and internationally acclaimed beauty Laura Lippman swung through town Friday on her book tour, and had dinner here at NN.C Central. Emma joined us. We had ourselves a time. We talked and talked and talked, and although I’d like to reproduce at least some of the sparkling conversation, I won’t. Some people like their privacy, and also, I had some wine, and my reporting wouldn’t be reliable. But it was fun, sort of like the Algonquin Round Table with beet salad, and it made me wonder if I oughtn’t run a salon for touring writers. (I could serve my beet salad, which did what it always did; went all the way around the table and ended up back at me, more or less untouched. Beets are a hard sell.) Next up: Hank Stuever? It could happen. Come on down! The guest room sheets are still unslept-upon, and I could make my beet salad.

Anyway, buy Laura’s book, seen here:


It’s very good.

After so much fun, when Saturday brought another in a lovely string of days, I knew we had to seize the moment, so we headed lakeward. I paddled back to the Puddle to see my friends the swans, now down to two cranky parents and one teenage cygnet. The other was nowhere to be seen. A hungry pike? A coyote? Nature, red in tooth and claw, isn’t saying. Whatever happened, it wasn’t because the parents weren’t on the job, because those are some on-the-job swans; one hangs back to threaten intruders with his terrifying, six-foot wingspan. I didn’t do anything to convince him I was friendly, because a healthy distrust of people is good for a wild creature.

And just so I did the full sublime-ridiculous continuum, I took Kate to the sandbar for some swimming later. The sandbar is a spit of shallow water that sticks out from an island in the lake, where people go to stake their boats and tip the brown bottle. I’ve learned to watch out for the rental pontoon boats, and wasn’t disappointed — as we paddled up, a tattooed specimen with what can only be described as a mohawk mullet pointed and hooted, “I need me one-a them! I gotta gets me one-a them!” Whether he was talking about the kayak, me or the 7-year-old in the bow I have no idea; we parked well away. This is, I realize, all payback for the years I spent as a dissipated young adult partying on boats in the U.P. (Is there photographic evidence? Oh, hell yes.


Confused about the drug war? Jon Carroll explains it all for you.

When Rick James died, I knew the WashPost would do a special appreciation of him, and I knew who would write it. And I was right.

Safari keeps crashing, so I’m gonna go. More tomorrow.

Posted at 10:10 pm in Uncategorized |

9 responses to “My Fort Wayne salon.”

  1. basset said on August 9, 2004 at 10:38 pm

    Comment on the dissipated young adult picture, actually; or, more specifically, on that vision in white and gold near your left hand. I miss Stroh’s.

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  2. Dave said on August 10, 2004 at 6:52 am

    I’m laughing out loud, I come here to make a comment about the Stroh’s can that I see setting there and find another fan has beat me to it. Misspent youth, indeed.

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  3. mc said on August 10, 2004 at 10:05 am

    You’re so right about the anti-cleaning-for-guests devil. Spent 45 minutes before work cleaning for the family onslaught expected tomorrow. By the time I’d finished obsessively plucking dead leaves off the plants, I was thinking, surely they won’t care if the rugs aren’t vacuumed. But you know they will.

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  4. Joe said on August 10, 2004 at 10:38 am

    It could only be a better picture if it would have been CARLINGS BLACK LABEL. $4.99 a case in Kinderhook Mich back in 1975.

    Cheers Mabel Black Label,


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  5. Nance said on August 10, 2004 at 2:28 pm

    And here I thought you folks would notice the nice mahogany boat. Buncha lushes.

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  6. basset said on August 10, 2004 at 11:10 pm

    there is something labeled Stroh’s out there now, but it ain’t the same – they make it in Memphis or someplace equally ridiculous. gotta have that Detroit River water, seasoned with iron ore and dead bodies like nowhere else.

    I remember when the real stuff was 49 cents a quart on sale at the Osco drugstore in Bloomington, Indiana. what a life back then.

    mahogany boat? is that what it was? now if it’d been an aluminum jon-boat with a floor full of empties rolling around in two inches of dirty water, I would have noticed.

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  7. Nance said on August 11, 2004 at 2:17 pm

    1941 Chris-Craft utility, ’bout 19 feet. Once scorned as labor-intensive, now you can’t touch those boats with a 10-foot checkbook. Sigh.

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  8. Linda said on August 11, 2004 at 7:04 pm

    In all seriousness, why do people hate beets so much? I’ve never been able to figure that one out. Every man I’ve ever dated has said to me at one point or another about meal preparation: “I’ll eat anything but beets.”

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  9. Mindy said on August 11, 2004 at 7:13 pm

    That’s a great boat, all right. I remember it being mentioned in a column ‘way back when. As was the young Nance and pals flitting about the lake without a care in the world. That must have been some weekend.

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