Friends and lovers..where do they all come from?

God sent them (maybe). Sometimes they bring you a cat (sometimes, a real cool cat!) They are with you for life (sometimes). Their contribution of joy, into our lives is an inestimable thing, a gift of laughter..can trade cooking, share coffee. French roast, French kiss! living on the Riviera, –convertible sofa, that is! Friends..

We can go places together. Look at old cars, see my art-show..somebody showed up to produce me, one time, out of the blue, “You’re a genius!” (my friends always help with that..when that happens), either something they say, give me an idea; or supply just the right thing to make it really happen, –like an old TV in a blond wood cabinet, GE Ultra-Vision! for the art-gallery display-window, looking onto the street towards a Venice sunset; and the pedestrians..playing vhs-grabs of L.B.J. making a speech stretching to the top of the screen, wearing really small glasses on his elongated head, on account of the old vacuum-tubes and B-52’s flying over, dropping holiday greetings, for the Cambodians (kind of a rough edit).

A friend..the Ranch! a friend got us there. That place. Wow!! four hundred-and-sixty acres of it, looking across a plain to the 10,000 foot peaks of mountain at the west end of Death Valley (containing, farther in, the Castle of ‘Death Valley’ Scotty..now under the strict control of the U.S. Parks’ Services). So..but if you’re friends and lovers, then you get married right away, it’s simple as that; and hopefully, for the honeymoon, you get to go someplace as nice as that (the Ranch). Friends read your poetry and thoughtfully comment on it..they withhold harsh criticism, –until you’ve gone too far. Then you are put in your place..gentle, but firm. My friend did that for me. His garage was a work-shop. The house, inside, would have been the envy of curators of TV-Radio museums across this great land (wish I took some pictures). And he had a big old giant telescope..in the bedroom. It looked like Albert Einstein’s, something like what he’d have at the house..for Marilyn Monroe to look through. Sometime you forget to look up at the stars. A friend will remind you of that..a friend will. Also, when the pigs bust him, you will go and get that friend out of jail (even when it’s twenty-degrees out, ’round midnight). Sometimes, for a special occasion, friends will share a pair of O’DOUL’S’s by a roaring fire, to tip back for a toast, “Here’s looking at you, we’ll always have Paris!” a-and so on, and so on.

My friend, Steve – he saw I was kind of into it – so he aks me one time if I wanted an organ, a Hammond CV! with two full manuals..and tubes, the draw-bars and everything, –except the Leslie; but a monumental tone-cabinet they used with it when it was at the church, I suppose (it was installed in his bedroom and we went and got it). We used it to make a record at our place, there, –where so much happened in its hey-day there on the strip in Bear City, an album of my poems, we recorded, bee-ess’d into song-format’s..”Don’t you eat those sea-sponges, Buddy! those sea sponges..from the sea..you’ll get so fat, yeah,man! you will want to hide from..ev’ry-bod-ee..” (it was a sort-of blues; and made some video’s, too, to go with the music, Steve helped with that, too, –like the bathtub scene, shot in Apartment #3, minus air-tanks).

None this year, well..one quick one, but all gone now, as shown in picture

There was usually a lot of snow by Christmas. Steve and me, we never had four-wheel-drives, –to buy one, much too much money! we’d just chain up and drive. We’d share coffee, some mornings, pretty early, listen to jazz on the ‘mutt’ hi-fi stereo, piled, there, at the Fine ART’s Cafe, put together from random items arriving daily at the Senior Thrift..where we volunteered, heh-heh! then go out and fix problems with peoples’ TV’s..lot of times it was just bang on the ten-foot dish with a push-broom, knock the snow off that was getting in the way of their satellite signal’s, maybe have to do a re-alignment, too, from the immense weight sitting on it, overnight, making the dish go off-kilter, a little. Steve’d be out there by the dish with a wrench in his gloved hand squinting through dark-glasses at clouds parting a little, to admit deep blue skies showering light flakes, shouting, “Can you see anything?!” And I’d be going, “No, wait..yeh! a little more, a little more, –that’s it!”

3. Stand! there’s a cross, for you to bear..

At the Ranch there was no light at night at all, except of the heavens. And no Tee-Vee. It was heavenly. Steve shared that with us. He got us there..way,WAY out of nowhere! the Ghost Ranch, north up 395 toward Lone Pine..Independence. Nobody has seen this place (except a few of our friends..and, couple others, it was like, a private club, supplying the luxury of nature, –God’s country, Steve called it..and it was). There was a fair amount of snow there, in winter. Somebody finally bought it after they tried to sell it for a long,LONG time (years, part of a family estate..I fashioned a bridge of sorts over a wash, so we wouldn’t have to fix it everytime to drive in in the future, I named the bridge after Dick, the second owner of the place, who bought it shortly after WWII, –six years prior, the Clark’s had passed away..the original homesteader’s, laid to rest in front of a boulder, height of about fifteen feet looking over the meadow, presently used for target-practice..Death Valley out there, somewhere). You could go up and shoot guns. Anywhere, anytime. Favorite thing to do upon arriving was fill a fruit-jar with spring-water from the kitchen tap, go outside and pop off a few rounds. There was bears. You didn’t see them, just their poop, on the trail, morning sunrise. You did see deer, and quail and bobcats. And rats! lots of them. Rats!! (in the house). It had a fireplace and a wood-stove. And a standard WOLF range (with a huge griddle). And everything else. It was peaceful. So-o-o restful. At night we turn off the generator so as not waste propane..light candles. Morning sun-rays, coming through the kitchen-window by the sink with big, beautiful clean spring-water, piped in, from the foot of the Sierra Nevada’s, a fifteen minute walk. Our friend shared that with us. We were gonna move there; but instead, we just moved a bunch of shit up there and left it..left it for the next guys. With all the other shit that was already there. That’s all it is, finally. And Steve went to heaven. He’s with Mom, and so many others we’ve loved in our lives. When you get older, things start to happen, medically speaking. And God fixes us a lot, over the years, keeps us around, –but then at some point your number comes up. And that’s it. All that’s left is fond memories.

Eli, a.k.a., ‘Kracker’ (Steve’s old cat) with ‘Honey’ the watch-dog..hounding him in the bathroom

Steve was our friend. We’re still here, waiting, –hoping for something big. The Big Dipper. It reminds me of Steve, hanging up there. Steve shared one of his favorite Bible verses with me one time, from the Old Testament. I don’t remember (maybe it’ll come to me). Time is funny. Steve loved dogs, dogs, and old movies..and old TV-shows. And he loved the Lord. Our shepherd. He is.

Published by scrunchymacscruff

Thank you

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