To Those I Missed…

a rain

My sojourn to the Northwest was not my favorite part of the trip so far.

I actually love the northwest, but this time around it was not where I needed to explore.

You might notice, from an earlier post, that on a deep level, I was aware of this. Yet I persisted. Because there were so many people that I wanted to see.

A few miles west of McMinnville, Oregon a woman who was not paying enough attention to the realities around her, pulled out in front of me. Now, I’m a good driver but I have to admit that I even impressed myself with my ability to avoid colliding with her car. And, to avoid colliding with the guardrail. However, my extreme maneuvers, while enough to avoid vehicle to vehicle contact, were not enough to keep me from slamming myself into a ditch.

A witness was ecstatic when he stopped “That was some of the best driving I EVER saw! You avoided that like a pro! Are you okay?”

The woman did stop and took full responsibility for her mistake, and her insurance company is covering all costs that come from this. But it was really a bit of a wake up call for me. I’m not supposed to be here.

But now I had no choice for a few days.

I transferred all my belongings to a rental car while mine sat at a body shop awaiting attention in the form of getting the rocks out of my tires/rims, re-mounting and balancing, and an alignment.

So I went on my way north. The events of the afternoon caused me to miss a planned dinner with some of my favorite people in Portland. (Will her insurance company pay me for that? I think not.) I stayed one night with my dear friend Hank there, then went to Olympia, Washington next day to stay with a wonderful old friend Andrea and her awesome husband Robb.

On Sunday the three of us went further north to watch the Super Bowl with one of my favorite people in the whole world. It was great to hang with Dana and her fabulous family and watch Seattle trounce Denver. I’m not much of a football fan but to be in Seattle when this went on was highly enjoyable.

As Monday rolled to a close, spending time talking with Andrea by the fire all day, it began to sound like my car might be ready the next day. I was looking forward to that reality and knew I wouldn’t come north again once I got my car back. I REALLY wanted to see the restaurant of my grade school friend Bob, so to make sure I didn’t miss that opportunity, I blasted up to Seattle to have dinner at The Wurst Place in Seattle and reacquaint myself with a hometown friend. We took the ferry to his house on Bainbridge Island, drank some wine and talked about what the world is like now. I’m so glad I made the time to do this.

Next morning I was on the road again back to McMinnville to get my car. (It’s safe to drive but there will be cosmetic fixes ‘ll need to address later.)

I was supposed to go back up to Portland to stay a bit – see the people I missed last time around, and see a friend I haven’t seen in maybe 25 years, but once I got my car my entire being screamed – GO SOUTH – get the eff outta here!

So I did.

I told myself that now that I was headed south I could take my time. Visit all my friends in Eugene, Grant’s Pass and Redding. Then I’d cut over back to the coast and see everyone in Northern California that I’d missed on my way north. But that wasn’t what the songlines had in mind. Plus the weather. Threats of snow loomed and I was in no mood for snow – hell, that’s part of why I’d left Connecticut when I did.

So Eugene got only a quick drive-by hug with one dear friend (Lonnie it was great to see you – wish it could have been a longer visit!), Grant’s Pass got dinner. (Hey Corin, thank your lovely boyfriend for making up the guest room for me, sorry I couldn’t stay…)

Everything in me was pulsing “Home. Home. Home.” (In this case it didn’t mean Connecticut, it meant Timmy’s house in Vallejo. Some places just ARE home – ya know?)

And snow was coming next day. So I drove and drove, through the mountains, through the night – home, home, home.

So many of you, I missed.

Tim and Patti – I love you guys, it’s been too long. Kim that was a most awesome invitation for a day on the water – maybe some summer? My cousin Lisa, whom I had hoped to surprise. Kelly in Gig Harbor – it would have been wonderful to stop and say hello. Bobby – I really wanted to step into your world for a visit – maybe next time? Sachita – it’s probably good that you’re on vacation, yes? Paul – we’ll reconnect. Steve and Kathy I appreciate the invite and sorry I didn’t get there. Chewie – ah Chewie! Big love and hugs my friend – stay well and keep smiling. Bob and Marie and Ginny – I smile even now to think how I was going to surprise you. Laura – thank you so much for the invitation to crash at your place. Steve – I’ll have to catch you next time – I love you lots and lots – I really do! Lisa, I wanted to meet your daughter and see your smiling face but I just didn’t get there. Bernie, Bernie, Bernie – it would have been SO fun to visit with you! Breck – have I missed you completely, I hope not. Brice – I wanted to come see the llamas and meet your boys.

 

So I hope you’ll all love me anyway and forgive my not visiting.

I’m just gonna sit here in the Bay a bit and enjoy the rain before I start to work my way home.

Erté and the hippie

As a hippie in 1986 or 1987…

It was just another long grey day in San Francisco. One in a stretch of many.

We had no where we had to be, no one we had to see. The extent of our responsibilities was to get properly stoned.

We could wander down to the Haight and straggle around with the usual bunch, standing on the corner of Haight and Schrader, or go down to the Panhandle to get stoned. We could go for a walk in the Park. That always made for a nice day.

We’d emerge from 2332A Fulton St’s door, cross the busy street, pass the bus stop and plunge into Golden Gate Park. We’d go straight in for a while then start aiming West. A whole day could be enjoyed walking on paths, lounging in meadows, watching geese and tourists, scrambling on or under or around statues and carvings and bridges, eventually reaching the beach if we’d been industrious in our journeying, or popping out whenever we got tired and hopping a bus back to the house.

But today was too grey and misty for a day in the park.

For a lark we decided to go to Fisherman’s Wharf. It’s where all the locals are expected to take their visitors. We’d go tourist watching, maybe get some Ghirardelli chocolates or perhaps some seafood, depending on how indulgently rich we felt ourselves to be at the moment we looked upon the fried crabs.

We were quite stoned and giggling along taking in the sights when it started to downpour. We ducked into the nearest alcove and saw that it was an art gallery. We fluffed our selves up a bit and decided to play curious tourist as opposed to jaded and wet hippies just trying to get out of the weather. It was an actual quick conversation. Do we go in? We knew we weren’t wanted; stoned, disheveled, wet, happy. It’s raining awfully hard.

“I shall be a tourist.” I said as I swung open the door and strode through.

I think I lost my breath for a moment. It was an striking little space, maybe 1,000 square feet, if that. The overall tone was a tad somber, the walls were rich and luxurious, the flooring silent. Rain streamed down the window adding a flickering quality to the elegant ambiance.

But what took my breath away were the statues. Spaced around the room on pedestals and long tables were sinewy women in retro outfits of high society’s yesteryears or the garb of ancient history. Each stood twelve or 15” high and seemed to shine.

From one to the next I moved, transfixed by the subtle details that brought these images to life. The drape of a gathered garment, the bend of a leg, hint of a shoe. Peacocks and leopard women, sirens and goddesses and one I had to imagine was the Statue of Liberty in her alone time. And some of these sensuous beauties were men! The beaded hairpieces, exotic faces, and the colors so vibrant they seared into my stoned brain.

I had just met Erté and I was awestruck.

Nothing was in that room but myself and thirty or so Erté bronzes.

The rain stopped. My companions we eager to be on our way and likely so too was the proprietor ready to see us leave but I felt like I was dragged out of there, nowhere near ready to leave.

There’s been a tiny hole in my soul ever since.

Lazy luxurious hippie days filled my time in San Francisco and though I told myself often to go back again and look, I never did.

I’ve never since been in a place with a real Erté bronze.

Erte-Chinchilla