Oscar Party

Above: brother Abner and cousin Amalia donned Groucho Marx glasses in honor of Oscar Riles Parzen.

The Riles and Parzen families gathered last Sunday to celebrate the arrival of Oscar Riles Parzen (January 18, 2008, 7 lbs, 14 oz). Held at the San Diego Yacht Club, the affair was dubbed the “Oscar Party” and included awards, commemorative t-shirts, speeches and readings (I read “Where the Sidewalk Ends” by Shel Silverstein),* and an Oscar piñata (left).

Marguerite, Micah, Abner, and Oscar Riles Parzen treated us to a sumptuous brunch of smoked salmon, eggs Benedict, roast beef with horse radish, and pastries. Bloody Marys and Mimosas were also served. Little Oscar slept through most of the festivities.

Many years had passed since I thought of “Where the Sidewalk Ends,” a poem I read and re-read countless times as a child. With all the talk today about global warming (and how global warming is or is not affecting winemaking), recession, war, and the pitfalls of politics, it occurred to me that little Oscar is one of the “children” who know “where the sidewalk ends,” who has yet to see the “pits where the asphalt flowers grow.” It will be sometime before his halo slips into Baudelaire’s fange du macadam or mire of macadam.**

I hope the world’s a better place when little Oscar grows up and I was glad to share this moment of blissful ignorance with him.

The Riles and Parzen families and family friends. Oscar is in the first row, fourth from left, held by his grand-mère Jane Riles.

Proud father Micah Parzen.

Marguerite created these nifty commemorative t-shirts.

* Where the Sidewalk Ends

There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we’ll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we’ll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.

— Shel Silverstein

** “My halo slipped off my head and fell into the mire of the macadam,” wrote Baudelaire in his prose-poem “Perte d’Auréole” or “Loss of a Halo,” 1865. The macadam process for paving roadways was invented by Scottish road-builder John Loudon McAdam (1756 – 1836). The word tarmac is also derived from his name.

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