Shootin’ the Breeze
I sit writin’ this I’m listenin’ to some mellow jazz. Got turned onto jazz by
my dad long ago, along with big band, swing, classical, country
and just about every other kinda music except polka. Years later I learned
that’s ‘cause polka music ain’t supposed to be listened
to...yer supposed to drink
lotsa beer and DANCE to it!! EEEEEHA!!
I tried to do the same
for my boys. I
tried to teach ‘em that if ya listen to the same music
exclusively yer shutting out whole worlds of wonder. I still can’t do rap,
but I don’t consider....well enough of that. My point is diversity is
where it’s at. Take
bikes fer instance.....
Bikes are all
only so much ya can do to customize yer scoot, but I’m sure
you could never mistake yer bike for someone else’s... unless
ya haven’t had a chance to put yer own flavor in the cake. All ya gotta do is go to
Sturgis to see my point.
same principal applies to everything. Isn’t it great that we all look so different? And isn’t it odd that
we all, [most of us anyway] have only two eyes, a nose and a
mouth? Yet of all the hundreds or thousands of people you see
regularly in person, in public, on TV, or even in yer memory....
none look alike: we’re all different. When ya do see someone
who looks like someone else, it really stands out.
That happened to me
the other day. I
had to go shoppin’ for some crap for my shack and as I was
trying to separate some hard earned bucks from my wallet at the
cash register, I looked up and saw a ghost.
A young dude and his
woman were at the next register and as I watched ‘em argue
about something stupid and yell at their kid, the present fell
away and I was twenty five years in the past riding beside a
close friend down a country road on a hot summer day.
name was Roland, a big, bearded bear of a man and he was
probably one of the kindest, gentlest souls ya could imagine. Two tours in Nam as a Lurp, [long range recon] gave him a
whole different perspective on life than anyone else I knew. He knew he could do
anything to anyone anytime, and that probably made him find
another level of conciousness, or else he’d end up in prison
the first time someone really pissed him off.
a ‘72 Shovelhead with the cover from Jackson Browne’s
“Running On Empty” album on the tanks. Back then album covers
were often used as tank art, and this one showed an empty gas
guage before an unending desert road from the driver’s point
once again we got hold of one and drug him into the barn and
over to the feeding trough.
After we got him situated, Jacob pulled out his knife and
started again. My
hands were gettin’ sliced up pretty good and I was kinda
bitchy about havin’ to do this to anyone even if it was just a
pig, so I spoke up.
“What the hell’s
takin’ so long?”
“This blade’s old
“Well, quit torturin’
the poor bastard!”
“OK! Let him go boys! This ain’t gonna work
So we let him go and
the poor hogs kept their family jewels ‘til another day. Next time he called and
asked me to come over to help him do somethin’ I made sure I
found out what it was, until he had his vet do his dirty work
one day when he came out to work on one of his horses.
Roland’s been gone
for about twenty years now. He died when he wrecked his Jeep into a creek and drowned. But I think of him often
and it’s my firm belief that if ya often think about those who
have passed, then they’re still with ya.
All this reminiscing
took place in just a minute as I stared at the young guy in the
“Your change sir?”
As the fella and his
family walked out I was tempted to say something to him. I didn’t know what. Maybe just that he
looked like an old friend, but that would have sounded stupid
and wouldn’t have accomplished anything. My friend would still be
gone no matter how much this guy looked like him.
I know a lot of
people. Most of us
do. But I once read that we usually only have about as many real
friends as we have fingers, if that many. When I go to wherever my
Kharma takes me I just hope that I leave as many friends as
Roland did.....and they think of me often........
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He once told me that you should
meet a new person everyday, and he did: everybody knew Roland. Once we were gettin’
gas in a small country town where neither one of us had been
before and a car
full of oriental people pulled in beside us. He started talkin’ to
‘em in Vietnamese and next thing I knew we were invited to
their restaurant and soon found ourselves bein’ fed things I
couldn’t identify or pronounce.
He had a small farm
and one morning he called to ask if I’d come over and give him
a hand doin’ something. When
I arrived he and an Amishman were standing by the barn obviously
waiting for me. As
I shut down the scoot and approached them I asked, “Whats
give us a hand.”
“What are we doin’?”
“We gotta cut the
“I waited too long
to cut the pigs and if ya don’t cut ‘em it makes the meat
Not bein’ a farmer
in any sense of the word I had no idea what the hell he was
talkin’ about, but I soon found out. Seems yer supposed to castrate
male pigs when they’re piggies to help fatten ‘em up and so
the meat isn’t tainted later on when ya butcher ‘em. Roland didn’t get
around to it ‘til his pigs were about two years old! I’m talkin’ about almost grown hogs
After chasin’ one
around and around for a few minutes we finally got hold of him
and drug him squealin’ and thrashin’ over to a small feeding
trough in which we managed to get him upside down and spread his
legs. As I held his
hind legs and Roland held his fore legs, the Amishman dug into
his pocket and produced an ancient, rusty roofing knife.
That pig was makin’
noises I never heard before!
His hooves seemed sharper than razors as I kept his legs
spread while Jacob took his good old time just a-sawin’ away! Finally he stood up and
said,”Let him go boys. This
old blade’s dull and needs replaced.” [Amish are known to be
slow about spending money].
So, we let go and that porker went sqealin’ and runnin’
out the barn door. Apparently
he told his buddies what was up ‘cause the rest of ‘em
huddled together in a corner of the pen outside lookin’ really
Jacob changed the blade and we tried approachin’ ‘em, they
flew in all directions.