Broken Promises Under The Influence Of Blue Agave Chapter 1

A long hard day and it seems hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk. Sweat’s running down my back soaking into my tee shirt. The air conditioning in my truck probably needs freon because it is not working well in this heat. So on the drive home from work, as sometimes I do, I remembered the morning I woke up and the bed was cold next to me. It’s one of those things in your life that happens and it seems insignificant at the time, but it changes the path your life takes forever. To tell you the story I should back up and start at the beginning.

I have a best friend, and yes, she is what I call a girlfriend, not a lover, a girlfriend. Her name is Crosby. When we first met, she told me yes, she was named after Crosby, Stills, and Nash–her dad wanted a boy and after three tries for a son, Mom said “no more.” So Carly became Crosby.

Crosby and I met at a friends party. We talked all evening. I would say there was an immediate sexual attraction, but there was something deeper between us–almost like we knew each other in another life and we just found each other again. Through the next few months, Crosby and I did become best friends. We went places together like the movies and a million dinners and even two vacations that required airfare.

Crosby and I developed our man/woman relationship over a lot of time. She became my best friend in the whole world. One of the special things about Crosby is she is a great cook and I love it when she gets in the mood to cook and takes it out on me. One Saturday afternoon she called me and said she was bored and wanted tacos. Crosby said she had all the makings and would come over and make tacos for us if I supplied the beer.

By this time Crosby and I have been friends for over three years. We have a closeness, yet an understanding, that we are best friends and that we should not fuck up our friendship with sex. Crossing that line would complicate and probably destroy our unique relationship. We talked that through in the first few months, we even shook hands on it. That agreement has worked out well all these years until that particular taco night.

The dinner was great. We drank several bottles of Corona while we ate and talked. Usually, our talks are about everything that close friends would talk about. Her being a woman and me being a man led to interesting viewpoints. Where sometimes we disagreed, which was fine, the trust factor in our relationship was stronger than our own opinions.

After dinner, we sat at the table for an hour and conversed about a lot of subjects but never politics, neither of us found that interesting. I don’t remember now which one of us suggested to bring out the bottle of tequila. I do remember setting the bottle on the table with two shot glasses. Crosby picked up all the dishes off the table and stacked them in the sink while I poured the first of two agreed upon shots.

Those two shots and the conversation went on for quite awhile. The two shots ended up being several more, but at that time we both didn’t care. We laughed and in between laughs we fell into deep serious conversations. Crosby and I were emotionally connected but I could feel something different that night. So we did another shot. The Blue Agave haze had us right where it wanted us. We slammed the glasses down on the table at the same time. The conversation stopped as we swallowed the tequila. We didn’t say a word but we both stared passionately into each other’s eyes. It could have been a telepathic conversation but whatever it was the handshake promise of no sex ended with that shot on that night.

Crosby got up and sat in my lap. She put her arms around my neck and kissed me deeply. That kiss was aggressive and soft. She made love to me with that kiss. I had nowhere to go with my arms except around her waist. I wrapped my arms around her while we kissed again. I held her tight while she started to grind slightly on my lap.

Crosby looked at me and her expression told me what she wanted. Both of us knew what was coming next and nothing had to be said. A minute later we both were naked in bed and three years of unchecked passion exploded. We could not stop, there was no turning back, this was a one-way ticket and we both were in for the ride.

After we had sex Crosby turned away from me and fell asleep. I laid there for a few minutes trying to capture what really just happened. In one ear the Blue Agave whispered that this was real, in the other ear, I heard it was only a dream. I drifted off to sleep.

The next morning I woke up and the bed was cold next to me. I sat up in bed and looked around. I listened and did not hear any sound. I got up and slipped on my underwear and went into the kitchen. The bottle of Blue Agave and two shot glasses still on the table. I went into the bathroom. Crosby was gone.

The only evidence that she was there were the dirty dishes in the sink and those shot glasses. I stood next to the table in my boxers with my arms crossed and tried to put together what had happened and how we broke our promise yet it felt so right. I was confused at where or when she had left.

As I drive home in my truck I remembered that night as if it were yesterday, but it was seventeen years ago. I called Crosby a thousand times. She never returned my phone calls. I went to her house, she was never there. I never saw her again and I wonder where she went? My friendship with Crosby still runs deeply in my soul and I can never completely get her out of my mind. I wonder why she left and why she never said goodbye? I wonder if she thinks about me once and awhile? Does she have a fond memory of our taco dinner and Blue Agave?

I’ve never married and I have dated plenty of wonderful women. The one thing I never did again, make a handshake promise that we would only be best friends. My friendship with Crosby lasted three years and in one night of uncontrollable love making it destroyed us. In some ways, my life is better for that experience but the loss is as equally great.

I pulled my truck into the driveway and switched off the ignition and smiled. I’m thinking, is it really possible to fry an egg on the sidewalk?

 

 

 

 

Obsessions But Wait Not All The Time

I contradict myself and I cannot figure out why I am like that. I find it frustrating at times. You see my chemical makeup dictates that if there is something that needs to be done I have to attack it and get it done. There is no waiting until tomorrow in my chemistry.
So for instance, while living in Wendy The Witch and The Bug Out Bus, (Our RV) if you were wondering. When bedtime rolls around and there are dirty dishes in the sink I cannot go to bed until they are washed. Nothing is worse than getting up in the morning to swill in the sink. I usually make the coffee which while living in Wendy The Witch is right next to the sink. If I look at that sink with leftover dishes I risk the unpleasant feeling of the dry heaves which may or may not stay dry very long.
Now comes in the confusing part, why at times do I not feel guilty when I have other chores to do. Let’s say, the floor needs to be swept since it feels like walking on gravel barefooted. I can compromise with myself that the sweeping can wait until sometime tomorrow. These examples may seem insignificant to some of you, but for me, they are one and the same and I do not understand why I can have one be an obsession and the other leads to procrastination. You would think walking on gravel barefooted would cause the obsession over the swill and dry heaves at a sink full of dirty cold dishes.

I’m confused, oh well priorities, yeah priorities, maybe I can compromise and not feel guilty about it. No, I am positive the next time bedtime and sleep begin to wash over me I will not be able to leave those damn dishes in the sink.

Just A Quick Road Trip

Roadtrip03

Over the past several months while planning this road trip, The question was asked, “why would you ever go to your forty-fifth high school class reunion?” Some people have told me that they have never attended any of their high school reunions. This last weekend our road trip took us over 1,348 miles in four days to Northern California to visit with classmates that are as old as we are.

The simple answer is, we all went to high school in a Christian boarding school. I met my wife there our senior year, and seventeen months later we were married. When I say boarding school, I mean we lived there. Dorms, cafeteria, gymnasium, chapel and even our own laundry service. Yes, we had roommates, and that is the reason why forty-five years later over thirty people came from all over the Country for a one-day reunion and dinner.

The stories and friendships have lasted a lifetime, and we spent the day reminiscing, and I am positive everyone but me, embellished some of those old stories. Never the less we lived together 24/7 most of us for our junior and senior years. Those were turbulent years from 1970 – 1972 when we graduated. The teachers and other staff at the school at times found it difficult to deal with the unrest of that era as well as we students found it difficult to conform.

We visited all day, laughed and told stories that are unwritten except in our memories. It’s funny how closely those stories are remembered by each one that lived them. It is apparent to me that my classmates are experiencing the same thing that drew my wife and me together so many years ago. Our lives are rooted in a bonding that cannot be explained except to say we lived it, the good and the bad.

The reunion was something I wanted to go to, but at the same time, I really didn’t want to go until I got there. Yes, it was a long way to “turn and burn from a Thursday morning to a Sunday afternoon. We decided not to fly, but to take our new Toyota Rav 4 on a long road trip. The car was comfortable and traveling at speeds close to 80 miles and hour we got just over 30 miles to the gallon on gas. We got home tired but no back pain, limping or other physical issues we could blame on such a long trip.

I have not idea if we will make our fiftieth reunion in five years or not. Or how many of us at that age will be able to travel that far. It doesn’t matter really because in our hearts we will always be together until death do us part.

This Has To Be Statistically Impossible

This weekend I am alone. My dear wife is in Northern California working on some issues with her eighty-four-year-old mother. It is a rainy weekend here in Southern California, and I am at our little place in the desert sitting in my RV, which by the way I named, ‘Wendy The Witch And The Bugout Bus.’ Don’t ask, I come up with nicknames and crazy stuff like that all the time. That is because I have a well-known disease with the acronym CRS, “Can’t Remember Shit.” So my nicknames help me with my illness. Perhaps in a future blog, I can explain how I came to naming the RV such a strange name.

Okay, let’s talk about Statistics. I am a long way from being any sort of a mathematic genius, and I do not know statistics as a science. What I do know is that once and awhile something happens and it is virtually impossible to repeat it. We all have said something like, “I could stand here all day, and that would never happen again,” right?

This morning I made coffee in the percolator. As the water heated up and started groaning and churning inside the pot, I thought it a good idea to fill my little container of sugar packets. Yes, I have to have a small amount of sugar in my coffee, I’m a wimp and not a cowboy.

As I grabbed a handful of packets out of the box, I pulled my hand out, and one of the single serving packets flipped in the air and somehow after two summersaults flopped into my cup of water. How is that possible? I said a bad word that I would not want my grandchildren to hear, but there it was floating in the water. Thinking to myself, I could stand here and try that for a year, and it could never happen again. Statistically impossible yet there it was floating in the cup of water.

So my morning started with that little experience which led me to share something as mundane as that with you on my blog. These things happen throughout all of our lives, I know that. I use that same kind of experience when it comes to my writing. One of the things I am good at is telling myself it is statistically impossible to write today, I work long hours, exhausted all the time, and I have about as much creative juices as a leather belt. These are all true in my case. So convincing myself my creative tank is empty is a compromise for me not to face what I really want to do, and that is to shake out the thoughts in my head, from those little voices that speak to me, (yes I hear voices in my head).  My best excuse not to write and it is a good one, that when I retire, I can write full time and make up for all the years of excuses I have made.

So here I sit on a three-day weekend no wife just me and Wendy The Witch and a ton of tortillas and hotdogs to sustain me. I started to write, and it came easy. I’ve been working for months on a new story entitled, “Norma Rose.” I started down the path developing Norma Rose as a person and other characters that my voices told me about. Then about chapter 8, I hit the writer’s block, brick wall. It was a bad one too. I went back through the story concerned about how it was developing. I could not move forward, and worse yet the voices went silent, and it took weeks to hear them again.

I have snuggled down on this rainy weekend and stared at my storyboard, and something happened, the writer’s block came tumbling down. I started writing, I couldn’t write fast enough because those damn voices were talking to me at breakneck speed.

Perhaps as impossible as writer’s block is a reality for writers, the seemingly impossible thing happened. I saw a rough cut pathway ahead for “Norma Rose.” Perhaps I stood there long enough, and I was able to flip a packet of sugar into a cup of water a second time. Nothing is statistically impossible I suppose.

There Is Only One Monster In My Closet

As a child and I’m sure probably most of you remember a monster under your bed or in your closet. Many nights after going to bed I would call out to my mother because I heard something making a noise.

Mom would come in and patiently check under the bed and in my closet for the monster. No monsters were ever found. So, ‘go to sleep’ is what she said. Off goes the light and the door is closed trapping me. My only option to fall asleep before the monster returned. As a child, I occasionally lived that ritual. As I grew older the monster went away, right?

Well, I’m here to tell you that in fact, the monster in my closet hasn’t entirely gone away. It maybe is not as scary now that I am all grown up and all haired over, but it still lurks and mocks me every now and then.

My monster no longer has red eyes and snaggly teeth, no more scales or pointy sharp fingernails. No, my monster today is gigantic yet flimsy and changes colors every week or two. My monster is now king sized fitted sheets! I cannot master folding them. I get tied up in knots, spun around until I am exhausted. One day I had a bright idea. Lay them out flat on the living room floor. Gently fold them shoving the fitted ends into each other. Then fold, fold and fold. Put in the pillow cases and one last fold and stand back, observe and to my chagrin it looks like a wadded up jumbled mess of monster colored cotton.

Now that I am a year older I have reconciled with my monster and I have peace. Into the closet, I stuff him away. I stand back with my hands on my hips I look him square in the eye. I reach up and slowly close the closet door. Guess what, I don’t hear any noises at night anymore either.

Just Sitting Here Reflecting

Today is Boxing Day in England. This tradition has spilled over here in Canada and other Commonwealth Nations. If you are interested, you can find out all about Boxing Day on the internet. That is not my intent other than to say in these modern times it is really an extra day off. Lots of shopping deals are available that compares to “Black Friday” in the United States.

So this morning I sit here next to the woodstove with a roaring fire in Quebec, Canada visiting my son, his wife and our two-month-old grandson. We also visited with my daughter-in-law’s family Christmas Eve, which was really interesting. Obviously, I’m from the United States and speak English. This part of our extended family speaks French-Canadian. I find it interesting to hear them visit amongst themselves and talk in their native tongue. Eventually one of them will tell me what is being said so I can catch up on the conversation. Perhaps I should make the effort to learn the basics of French-Canadian so I can follow along a little better when we visit the next time.

Spending Christmas with family and friends is so much fun. Eating lots of traditional family meals that later require some of us to find the Tums in the medicine cabinet to calm down a bubbling gut. That is a small price to pay for such good food. Christmas dinner was absolutely delicious. We had Boeuf à la Provenςale with egg noodles. We had fresh carrot salad with raisins and my wife made her “famous” Candy Cane butter cookies.

These past few days are in such contrast from where we live in Southern California. There is about 18 inches of snow on the ground and my son and I shoveled snow to keep the driveway clear. Now we have to figure out how to walk or perhaps slip and slide on the layer of ice exposed from under the fresh layer of snow. The woodstove is making it cozy inside this well built hundred year home. The temperature outside is a balmy -10 celsius, for you other Yankees like me that means about 14 degrees Fahrenheit.

So I sit here and think to myself how lucky I really am. I have a loving family and extended family. I have two grandsons that actually make me feel younger and today on Boxing Day, I have the blessing of sitting here and just reflecting.

Wondering What He Would Be Doing Today?

Every year on December 8th since 1980 I pause and think about John Lennon. A horrible day when his life was taken 36 years ago. That day part of my life caved in, and a hole inside of me still exists at the insanity of such a horrific act to a man, musician, and icon who wanted only to change the world to be a better place.

This blog post is not about John’s life nor his struggles as a world renown personality and a person that changed music for many generations. This blog post is about how I found out he had been murdered.

December 8, 1980, my wife and I lived in the far reaches of Northern British Columbia, Canada. We lived outside of Fort Nelson, British Columbia at mile marker 295 of the Alaska Highway.

Our small son, Isaiah would turn 3 years old in a couple of months. Of course Louise, my wife was 8 months pregnant with our second son to be born in January 1981.

In Fort Nelson, we were renting a small two-bedroom cabin. Small meaning about 400 square feet small. That cabin was easy to keep warm because in the north country where we lived -50 below Fahrenheit is not that uncommon.

I had a job at the Fort Nelson General Hospital in the maintenance department. That is how I supported my family while Louise took care of our little boy and worked at being pregnant. To her credit, she also did sign painting. I remember Louise got a job painting a company logo on the door of a logging truck. She clambered up there as pregnant as could be and painted that logo. The owner let’s say was a little nervous, but my pregnant trooper would not be denied.

We had no television in our cabin. The only thing we had to find out what was going on in the world was a., (are you ready for this?). All we had was a ladybug record player that my son had to listen to 45 RPM records of children’s stories and music. The ladybug record player had a radio built into it, and on cold winter nights I could pick up the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation or better known as the CBC.

The CBC is critical to the north country and many times is the only line of communication to these small communities. So in the evenings after supper, while watching Isaiah play in front of the heater I would sit and listen to the CBC on the ladybug.

On December 8, 1980, the voice of the CBC is where I first heard the news that would alter my life. The murder of John Lennon in New York City. Shock is not the right word to use as the news spilled out around the world even in faraway Fort Nelson, British Columbia.

Part of me died that night. A part of my own identity perished at the blink of an eye. I had nowhere to turn to express my grief. I mourned for over two-weeks as if a close family member had died. Since that night 36 years ago I still mourn his loss now of course with a lot less pain, but I wonder every year on December 8th what John Lennon would be doing if he were alive today.

And for me, the words he wrote so many years ago, I still hum, “Give peace a chance.”

Brittany And The Caramel King

Brittany woke up to music coming from outside her bedroom window.  The music was cheerful and made her think she was in a happier place then in the small motorhome that her family now called home.  Both her mother and father lost their jobs within two months of each other.  It was called an economic downturn.  Brittany did not understand what that meant, but she did understand that most of their things including their home were gone.  Now they were living in their motorhome.  JJ, her brother, was still asleep as were her parents.  After traveling in the coolness of the night, her father pulled over early this morning to get some sleep.

Brittany sat up from the couch that was her bed.  She peered through the curtains and to her surprise she saw brightly colored tents, with red strips. There were brightly painted trailers and small square tents with flags at the peaks. Lots of people were walking around. A giant wheel with seats full of people circled slowly over the whole place. Brittany wondered what it would be like to be so high up in the air. She thought to herself you could probably see forever. She watched as a merry-go-round went in circles as brightly colored horses moved up and down to the music. It looked magical, and the sweet music was exciting.

Brittany wasted no time getting dressed, and as quietly as she could, she opened the door of the motorhome and stepped outside.  The sun was bright and warm against her skin.  She skipped down the small embankment and climbed over the fence.  Both feet hit the ground at the same time. She stuck her hands in her jean pockets and nonchalantly walked towards the music.

She walked around excited about all the things she could do.  There were games and tricks; a tall clown with balloons walked around handing them out.  Sadly, she realized that everything cost money.  Her heart sank.  She found a bench and sat down.  Swinging her legs back and forth she decided to watch the people and enjoy the colors and the beautiful music.  At least that was free.

While sitting on the bench, she noticed a man that was as around as he was tall.  He was not very tall, and his pants were white with large black polka-dots, and he wore a striped black and white shirt with the stripes going around his belly.  His face was round and puffy making Brittany smile.  He wore a gold colored crown on his head in which the brightness reflected from the sun on his cheeks.  He carried a large red wooden box with a strap around his neck.  He was talking quite loud, “Caramel apples here come and get one, only three dollars.”  Brittanynoticedthatonlyhisplumpcheeksmovedashewalkedaroundthroughthecrowdofpeoplerepeatingoverandoverthesamething.

He made his way towards her and stopped right in front of her.  He bent down slightly holding the red wooden box with both hands. “You want to buy a caramel apple from the Caramel King?”  He said with a smile.

Brittany slightly embarrassed shook her head no.

“Awe come on it is only three dollars sweetheart.”

Brittany murmured, “I don’t know what a caramel apple is.”

Surprised the Caramel King stood straight up, “You’ve never had a caramel apple before?”

“No sir.”

“For only three silly little dollar bills you can taste something wonderful that you will never forget for the rest of your life.” He reached out and pulled an apple out of the box, holding it close to her he said, “how about it?”

Brittany crinkled her nose, “I don’t have any money.”

“Well, I’m sure your parents will give you three dollars if you ask them for such a sweet treat as this.”

Brittany shook her head again, “No we don’t have enough money for that.”

“Well, sweetheart where are your parents?”

Brittany pointed towards the motorhome, “over there.  We lost our house, and now that is our home.”

The Caramel King turned around and followed where Brittany pointed. “That is where you live now?”

“Yes, sir.”

The Caramel King tightened his lips and nodded slowly.  Brittany thought about running away but didn’t.

“I’ll tell you what sweetheart; the Caramel King is going to christen you his Caramel Princess for the day.  Is that okay?

“What does that mean?”  She asked.

“It means that you are entitled to one free Caramel King-caramel apple.”  He pulled one out and handed it to her.

Brittany reached up and took the apple.  To her surprise, it was heavy, so she grasped it carefully with both hands.

“You are my Princess you enjoy your apple sweetheart.”  He removed his crown and holding it out with one hand he bowed forward as far as he could.  With that the Carmel King stood up as tall as he was and plopped the crown on his head and started up his speech again, Caramel apples here, come and get one, only three dollars.”

The apple was as large as a softball, brown and gooey.  Holding the stick made the heaviness of the apple unbalanced in her hands.  Brittany held the stick tightly as she surveyed the delight.  She turned it slowly around and around not sure how to eat it.  Finally, she just bit into it.  Her teeth sank into the caramel and then into the crisp sour apple.  She closed her eyes while tasting the crispness and sweetness in her mouth.

Bite after bite brought the unfamiliar pleasure of eating a caramel apple that Brittany had never experienced before.

That day stayed with Brittany as she became a wife and mother to her three kids. Every year the family would go to the county fair, and each year Brittany sat on a bench and ate a caramel apple-still remembering the day so many years ago when she became the Caramel King’s Princess for a day.

Wilby’s Writer’s Diner Is Still Open for Business

With our Nation polarized with the upcoming Presidental Election. Each side poking the other side in the eye and trying to convince each other their side is right. I am convinced we all need a time out from all of that. I will not use my Diner to launch into anything political ever.
My son sent me this link today and I thought it is worth sharing. So take a break from our crazy world and listen to this rendition of George Harrison’s song, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” Jake Shimabukuro does a great rendition on the Ukulele. Enjoy!

Can You Hear The Silence Of Your Soul?

Yesterday, for me is what I search for in my hectic, stressful life. The recognition that I can, in fact, hear the silence of my soul. I’m sure everyone has their own experience that certainly can be different from mine. For me yesterday gave me that time to hear myself when there are no distractions from my busy lifestyle.

Star Valley Wyoming is approximately 14 miles wide and 50 miles long, located in the mountains on the western edge of Wyoming bordering on eastern Idaho. The valley is surrounded by the Bridger-Teton, Caribou, and Targhee National Forests. The altitudes range from 5,600 feet to 7,000 with the surrounding mountains over 10,000 feet.

There are three major rivers, The Salt River, The Snake River and the Greys River all meet in Alpine, Wyoming and form the Palisades Reservoir.

The Salt River winds through the floor of Star Valley. Yesterday we drove around and checked out a couple of our favorite spots on the river. The river is running clear and perfect for the possibility of catching a couple of cutthroat trout.

 

We drove up the Greys River to the fork of the Greys and Little Greys and enjoyed the wilderness and peaceful sound of a baby Osprey in a huge nest high up in a tree overlooking the river below.

We finished our afternoon off by stopping for lunch in Alpine at the Bull Moose Lodge and Saloon. The food was tremendous, and the ambience leads us to believe the night life at the saloon is worth checking out one evening.

If you ever take a trip to Yellowstone, The Grand Tetons, and Jackson Hole, I would invite you to head 50 miles south of Jackson and drive through Star Valley you will not be disappointed.

For all the years we have been coming here I never get tired of the wilderness of the Greys River or the many farms throughout the valley. I also enjoy the small towns and communities and find that even when I am in town, I have the same peace of mind as I get standing on the Salt River fishing.