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Sunday, Oct. 22, 2006
It takes a brave man to do what I do.

Or a totally insane one, Iíve yet to decide.

Take last evening, a gala affair held at the distinguished local house of Ribs, BBQ and sports bar (ďWe can seat 45 at the main bar alone!Ē) which also happens to be the employer of Maggie, the Middlest. Since her rather abrupt departure from Boyfriend Bob, for reasons told previously but not limited to the puzzling revelation that he did not want her to be working while he spent a fair amount of time elsewhere, Maggie has returned to her occasional employ at the House of Rib. And it was a gala affair because we had out of town visitors, being none other than the mother and sister of Boyfriend Bob, a pair of ladies with considerably more interest in the welfare of Maggie and her three month old son than the father of same, apparently.

Awkward? Oh heavens no. The family of estranged fathers often come to town. And they were warm and genuine, they doted on the grandson as only women on a mission can.

I do a fair amount of doting myself, but am frequently given the bumís rush by the females of the tribe. Itís not hard to do, really, when you consider that Iím the only male normally on site who is above voting age. Or able to eat solid food, for that matter.

Which bring us back to the Rib Joint.

Ally and I have likely dined with Maggieís employer a dozen times or more. Ribs and BBQ are things I regard fondly and the place does them well, the menu has become a sacred scroll for me to plunder. Ally the maternal granny and Peg the fraternal granny were doing what grannyís do best, the aunt and Maggie were chatting away and the grandson was bathed in the great light of attention from the whole crew. He is a sunny baby, given to a calm demeanor which erupts in delighted smiles at passersby.

I had to think, as I wolfed beef brisket and pulled pork, about the amount of uproar that such a small being can cause. What a draw and an attraction. People drive hundreds of miles for a day with the grandson. Quiet houses are made into warehouses of devices to swing, shriek and amuse.

I donít know quite the moment, and maybe it wasnít over a platter of ribs, but I feel more like a father now than I did when the three children I call my own were home, and small. Thereís a bit more fear, having gone through it and learning, being beat around the head with the travails, and emerging on the other side ready for the little house in the swamp and peace, for the love of God. Knowing that the whole story is about to start over is something to cripple. A turn with a grown daughter back under the roof, and a three month old in tow.

Granny Peg put it in perspective, and I didnít expect it. I was burping my way through a post-Rib frenzy, the longneck gone and the bill paid and she turned and regarded me most seriously, most tearfully. ďThank you for all this, for doing what you do. It means so much to me . . . and I canít even put into words how sorry . . .Ē

She is mother to a son, and the son has little to say to her, or anyone else. She is grandmother to a joy, who speaks volumes and asks for little.

I donít know quite how she does a difficult thing like contacting a fellow Granny and a mother she barely knows for the sole sake of acknowledging them and meet a small being, but it took a lot of class. I was glad to see that, and told her so. Maybe she feels adrift at enjoying her quiet life and wants in on our mayhem. Iíll be glad to share.

But Iím still totally insane.

And partly covered in Simulac.

The suspect on the left is very fast, very cunning, and is honest to pete smarter than half the characters I deal with on a daily basis. I get Ďem both, itís a package deal.

But the dog happens to like Simulac. Regurgitated or not. Iím gonna use that, believe you me. Being insane means you look at a Boxer who doesnít mind a little baby spit and see advantages to that. Insanity wakes you up at 4 am, whether a baby is crying or not, because you know sooner or later he bloody well will. The terribly insane will look you square in the eye and tell you how much they are enjoying all of this and wouldnít change a thing, which qualifies my darling wife for Bellevue straight off.

Next Episode: How Outfoxed changed a diaper while watching Sunday football and still kept a hand free to warm up those onion rings left over from the House of Rib.

Oh yeah, I turned on the comments feature at long last.

Pity, or offers of vacation houses on white sand are always appreciated.

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