Back To The LandLife used to be really simple living in a small cabin in the hills, another middle class white kid who moved to the country and didn't really know what he was doing. I never went to the dump--I didn't have any garbage! Yeah, the original ecologists: if you don't have money you don't make trash. That still blows my mind: I didn't have garbage. And no running water either so I decided to do something about that and it brings to mind this episode.
The first year on the mountain I carried gallon glass jugs up the hill, maybe five gallons twice a week up from the county road. I didn't pay rent and had never met the owner of the land. I had helped Timothy move out because Tuna Jackson had promised the owner some improvements if he'd let him move in. Then Tuna changed his mind so I wrote the owner a one sentence letter telling him that I had moved in. I never saw him in the three years I lived up there doing whatever I wanted on his land—that's just how things were back then. (More)
AveryAt the post office a barefoot woman was dancing in the parking lot on the wet wintery day. Her shortish strawberry-blond hair was over her face and her head was down; she danced in manic patterns along the pavement like some butterfly mating dance. When I got out of the post office she was still dancing and I went up to her.
"Is that a profound artistic statement," I asked, "or some drug-fueled mania?" She continued dancing and moved toward me. "Let me see your face." She looked up, pale with pink lips, her hands cold and red. She danced and I danced with her; she stopped in front of me and I took her in my arms and we had this kind of slow hug dance. I turned her around and held her from behind, picked up her leg and slowly swirled her around; I held her close, she was a waif, and I lifted her off the pavement and danced/carried her--I was getting turned on. (More)
Interview with Ed Denson
Goodbye ArchieWow, Archie is gone, Thomas Umina is no more. I first met Arch outside a food buying club distribution meeting at the A-Frame back in '76 or '77: who's the new guy with the ponytail? Archie was one of those inclusive folks who organized and motivated people into supporting and working on community projects. His outrageous sense of humor reflected his CB handle "The Joker" well.
Once I went into a store by Sicilitos and when I walked back out my car was gone. Wait, did I really park it there? I started looking around and finally spotted it around the corner. Then I noticed Archie and Jeff through the restaurant glass watching and laughing; I had left the keys in the ignition and The Joker saw an opportunity.
For many years Archie was a fixture at Sunday softball games in Whitethorn; he playing shortstop and third base for the Lost Coast Whalers with his wife Lily and kids Kyle and Ruby completing the entourage. A diehard Dodger fan and enthusiastic ball player he mostly got along with everyone but he could give as good as he got. A few times after throwing one of my periodic fits (the working title of my book? Been In The Woods Too Long) Archie called me fat boy but he wasn't lying.
For a couple of decades Archie famously organized, set up, and ran the Labor Day weekend Fire Dept. bake sale, out there decorating Four Corners with his buddies and luring tourists and locals to stop and donate for delectable treats, hot dogs, and whole meals too. There was often a band on Saturday Night; it was quite a show and who knows if there will be another bake sale now that Archie is gone. (Go to back issue #33 for a fuller picture of Archie in action)
From West Covina to Santa Cruz to Whale Gulch to Puerto Escondido, Archie lived life fully, dying a doting grandfather in this land of the dirt he liked to dig.
Adios muchacho, amigo, chongo loco...
On The Road In MexicoTravels with Ally: Sinaloa
We hadn't planned on driving down the West Coast of Mexico but got a wild hair and took a right at Tucson, abandoning Interstate 10 to Texas, Laredo, and the big birthday party in San Luis Potosi. ( My septic system had failed days before we left California; we each had to dig a hole in opposite ends of the back yard like the old days. The shit was literally bubbling up in the back yard but I didn't want to postpone the trip waiting for the sewer pumper the next day--my caretaker would have to handle it.)
After a night at the beach of San Carlos, Sonora, we headed into the badlands of Sinaloa. We didn't want to tarry in cartel-infested territory but as dusk neared it was apparent we wouldn't be able to drive through the whole dangerous state in a single day. At dark we found ourselves outside Culiacan, just about the last place I wanted to spend the night; I sat at the gas station, immobilized, wondering what to do: keep on driving through the night, not recommended, or drive into the city to find a hotel, notwithstanding the shoot-out on the main street the previous week. (More)
The Online Personals
It all started last September when my neighbor was talking about putting a personal add on match.com; he couldn't muster up a positive attitude through his slightly depressive fog and no matter how much I encouraged him, and told him I would help him write it, he demurred. Finally I beat him to it and put one in myself although I was hopelessly innocent getting right to the core of things with my first profile that started out by saying "I need an heir." (More)
Alderpoint Memories: Jim Dudley
And that was the end of the Riverview Inn--I went back to Wapanuka promptly.