Well, it's Father's Day, and I'm spending it with my daughter, grandson, and my son-in-law whose fatherhood will double any day now! Yes, another boy is due here, even as we speak, so we tried to give this particular Daddy the royal treatment.
As it happens, the stars aligned to make this Father's Day very special for Eric.
He had two wishes for the day. One, to make an early outing to the local Farmers' Market and adjacent park. Goal: to score a bounty of fresh, local fruit so we could create a massive fruit salad as part of dinner, and corn on the cob alongside. After the shopping, we'd play in the very creative and cool public park nearby.
Two, to have the ultimate Chicago hot dog dinner! Yeah, I know. We (my daughter and I) offered to make steak, sushi, stir-fry, barbecue, you name it! We thought we should do something special for him, and offered him carte blanche. We couldn't have been more surprised to find that he wanted the humble hot dog!
Well, it may have been humble in the past, but this dinner was anything but humble! I will show you how elaborate a hot dog dinner can be!
So, step one: go to the Farmers' Market. Yes! It's a great place and the array and assortment of fresh produce was fantastic. We bought tomatoes, corn, peaches, strawberries, blueberries, cantaloupe and coffee. We saw lots of fresh fish, swimming in giant tubs, lots more displayed on beds of chopped ice, and so much foliage it made my head spin. But here's the best part: We walked straight into the path of the Sacramento mayor, Kevin Johnson.
Now this isn't just any ordinary mayor. For the very, very few of you who don't already know this, Kevin Johnson is a former NBA star, and a hero of the Phoenix Suns. Roughly translated, in Sacramento Kevin Johnson is the mayor. In Phoenix, Kevin Johnson is a god. My son-in-law grew up in Phoenix. You do the math.
As a trained journalist, Eric has interviewed all kinds of people, including very famous people. Not to namedrop, but Eric has interviewed former Vice President Al Gore, and the Governator himself: Ah-nold Schwartzenegger. He doesn't impress all that easy.
But Kevin Johnson? We still haven't wiped the smile off Eric's face. He was practically singing as we walked away! He can't wait to let all his old friends see this photo of him and his family with the One and Only Kevin Johnson.
Step two: Played in the park, climbed on the climbers, swung on the swings, slid down the slides! It's a paradise for the 3-year old, and for those who love to watch him have fun, too.
We came home and made lunch, took naps, and did some general baby-readying of the soon-to-be-resurrected baby toys and paraphernalia. Then I took my grandson on a little walk to the neighborhood park where we did more climbing, swinging, sliding and hide-and-seeking.
Eventually, it was dinner time. I made the fruit salad and the corn on the cob, the baked beans and the hot dogs. Eric took on the condiments -- when he had told me last night what he had in mind, I negotiated this division of labor with him. I don't mind work, but this seemed a touch excessive. Let me put it this way: I'd rather be on the floor playing Candyland with my grandson that mincing raw onions, banana peppers, tomatoes, and yes-- cucumbers! (what the WHAT?) to be served on the hot dogs! Oh let's face it, I'd rather get beaten up in the parking lot than do that, too.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, dinner made it to the table. Here's what Eric's plate looked like. And he'd like you to know that the celery salt is an integral part of the Chicago-style hot dog experience. That, and the iridescent, glow-in-the-dark relish!