Monday, May 27, 2013

Living in the past, with words and music.




"I don't believe it.
Don't touch me.
Hey Ray, hey Sugar
tell them who we are."

Back then. To say you were confident, or cocky, would miss the point. That's nothing different. You have gone through life like that. Always thought you could do anything and everything.
But at the end of high school, seems like there was an extra measure of confidence.

"Well we're big rock singers
We got golden fingers
And we're loved everywhere we go
We sing about beauty and we sing about truth
At ten thousand dollars a show
We take all kinda pills
That give us all kinda thrills
But the thrill we've never known
Is the thrill that'll getcha
When you get your picture
On the cover of the Rollin' Stone"


The boat was lower in the water when it left the marina at Hall's. Must have been all that beer. The wild reds of the sandstone brightened by the reflection off the water. 'bout six miles back down the lake to the house boat.
Poet Shel Silverstein, balded and bearded, wrote that song for Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show. Better than "A Boy Named Sue." Which he also wrote, for Johnny Cash. Being a poet wouldn't be so bad. Words, and maybe music.
Would have made more sense if they had let us bring the beer right from the start. Cheaper, too. Still, the five of you pooled enough money to drop the ski boat low in the water, like a beer barge headed to Oktoberfest.

"Wanna see my picture on the cover
Wanna buy five copies for my mother
Wanna see my smilin' face
On the cover the cover of the Rollin' Stone"


Rights of passage, like any other ceremony, you need to make it your own.
Here's an idea. See all those lizards darting over the rocks?
We need to catch them. And you do, one at a time.
That isn't so hard. "What kind of right of passage is that? Anyone can catch a lizard"
You looked at them, with a the confidence (and wild-eyed craziness) of the 'Lizard King.'
Nervous laugh.
"And bite the lizards head off."
Those with small lizards, thankful. One fellow, with a big lizard – looking almost like a Gila Monster – turning green.

"I got a freaky old lady
Name a Cocaine Katie
Who embroideries on my jeans
I got my poor ol' grey haired Daddy
Drivin' my limousine
Now it's all designed
To blow our minds
But our minds won't really be blown
Like the blow that'll getcha
When you get your picture
On the cover of the Rollin' Stone"


Drinking beer now. And throwing dives off the top of house boat. Be careful the water's only about 20 feet deep, and watch for rocks down there. It's safer than diving off the cliffs, though.
Man, that is a nasty sunburn. Better put some vinegar on it. They have several gallons of the stuff.
Up on the rail, you grab that stupid straw hat off Coach's head, and he grabs for it, just as you leap into the water. With both grabs, holding tight, the cheap straw job rips apart. And you bounce on the fiberglass of the boat, just before hitting smooth surface.
We're looking for a bloody trail in the water.

"Wanna see my picture on the cover
Wanna buy five copies for my mother
Wanna see my smilin' face
On the cover of the Rollin' Stone
On the cover of the Rollin' Stone
Gonna see my picture on the cover
Gonna buy five copies for my mother
Gonna see my smiling face
On the cover of the Rollin' Stone"


No blood in the water. In fact, while it is hot, let's try the cliffs. 
Amazing, I never knew that kid could dive like that.
Like Lao Tzu says, being loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone gives you courage. A few of us loved everyone. Courage followed.

"I ain't kiddin' ya. We would make a beautiful cover."

Talent and time will tell. It will tell what's going to happen to you. When you are living vicariously through your children? Words and music. But music first. Thirty-five years from now, when your trying to remember who you are, and who you were, the music comes to you. The words follow.

"Fresh shot, right up front man. I can see it now. Smilin' man. Ah beautiful."

















Thursday, May 16, 2013

Scientific observations from across the years and around the lake


I found some interesting notes from the Proceedings of the Colorado Scientific Society's road meeting held in November, 1892. The presentation at that program was developed by Geo. L. Cannon, Jr. who identified himself as a lecturer at the Rocky Mountain Chautauqua Assembly in the previous season. He titled it: Notes on the Geology of Palmer Lake, Colo., and the Paleozoic Exposures Along the Front Range.
"A scarcely perceptible erosion ridge runs through town, from the base of Mt. Thompson to the Arkansas-Platte divide — the beginning of the crest of that great tract of upland country that projects far out into the area of the great plains. Near the Rio Grande Pavillion, drops of rain separated by a few inches space will start on that long journey to the Gulf by widely diverging paths, some falling north into Plum Creek drainage, and seeking the "Father of Waters" by way of Palmer Lake, Plum Creek, the Platte and the Missouri rivers; while other drops fall southerly into Monument Creek which joins Fontaine qui Bouille at Colorado Springs, this intern, the Arkansas at Pueblo, which empties into the Mississippi 400 miles below mouth of the Missouri River," wrote Cannon.
The report mentions distinctive landmarks in this area.
"The views from this point are amount the most beautiful in Colorado. To the west rise the precipitous walls of Mt. Hermon,  Mt. Cannon, Chautauqua Crest and Mt. Thompson, towering 1,500 to 2,000 feet above the valley. to the east, the curious 'Elephant Rock,' Phoebe's Arch, the Lion Head and castellated summit of Monument Creek, with its far-reaching, pine-clad mesas and frequent exposures of brilliantly -tinted rocks of fantastic forms. To the north lies Palmer Lake, and valley of Plum Creek, filled with numerous buttes, mesas and flat-topped ridges separated by gentle, undulating valleys, The gentler slopes are carpeted with a growth of silvery-green herbage, that contrast admirably with clumps of oak brush and dark pine forests, and with the warmer tints of the sandstone and granite exposures. In the early summer the hill sides are often a mass of purple-blue, or gold from the acres of abundant mountain flowers. the scenery of this vicinity differs from that of the points along the foothills, in the substitution  of mesas and buttes for the usual hogback configuration," he said.

Photo info: Top photo is relatively famous photo by William H. Jackson about the time the preceding observations were made. Bottom photo taken near Elephant Rock this week.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Hart Lee on the Hardware Store in the Star


The Best of Hart's Stuff from Rico

By Hart Lee,
The Dolores Star Press
copyright, 1968,
compiled, edited and published
by Lawrence and Marilyn Pleasant
MCMLXVIII
From the Files of the Dolores Star
(also known as The Splatter)

from Friday, August 16, 1963

Did you ever go into a store or someplace of business and and come out with more than you bargained for — Now for instance take Taylor's Hardware store, we have been trading there off and on for the last twenty or thirty years. Any time you go in there the first thing you see is an old beat up water bucket setting the front counter slushing over with hospitality — been setting in the same place ever since old Sy Perkins bought his wife her first two piece under ware. Then the two pouch hounds which are the trade mark of the joint are always found asleep in front of the nail rack — and should they be missen, you'll find the outfit out of gear and running on the rocks.
Sometimes you just drift in the place don't want to buy a thing, then you find a comfortable chair and watch television which is turned on as soon as the janitor shows up in the morning until its time to lock the doors, and you'll always find somebody around thats got time to shoot the bull for awhile. In fact nobody is in very much of a hurry. Take your time and live.
A lot of times you'll go in and ask for something — say a ram rod for a 10 gauge shot gun, well it might take a little while to find 'em but its a bet they have a dozen of the things when they do run them down.
And if they don't have what you want they'll grab a want book and order it for you whether it is a pound of roofing nails or a trainload of combines — Just a darn nice place to trade.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

History is more than a memory




History is more than a memory for me. I learned that years ago.

Last classroom on the south, upriver side; warm enough that windows all had to be opened, like flapping up-side-down bird wings in the spring, strategically positioned to allow sight recognition of anybody in the parking lot, coming or going.

Brian Tobin, with hair matted on one side and askew on the other, rants about screaming Arab regulars, voting early, often, and some story about fishing with hand-grenades as a Marine in Viet Nam.

Post WWII History, with William E. Leuchtenburg's first, or second edition of "A Troubled Feast: American Society Since 1945," and your choice of other supporting readings. I chose Hunter Thompson's "Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, 1972." Classic. More than a writer, Gonzo loaned his press pass to one of his derelict friends, who in turn, made "Big Ed" Muskie cry publicly on the back of the "Sunshine Express."

But in the regular text, the photo on page 5 is the iconic shot for Life Magazine of the sailor in full uniform kissing a bowled-over nurse, also in dress whites, on the streets of New York. Consumer Culture and the Cold War, first chapter.

The Man from Missouri, "Truman brought to the task a mixed assortment of talents, sentiments, and personal qualities. None doubted his grit. He made bold decisions quickly and executed them briskly. However, he was generally unreflective, sometimes cocky and brash," wrote Leuchtenburg.

By the end of the semester we could quote the lyrics from the Eagles' Hotel California and noted that, if Rip Van Winkle had fallen asleep in the Eisenhower years and awakened with Carter in the White House, he might think that nothing has changed.

Russel Baker said it this way:

"The growing public absorption in the hedonism of public pleasure and private consumption -- the hunt for the ideal restaurant, the perfect head of lettuce, the totally satisfying human relationship" were "the current equivalents of the Eisenhower age's passion for big tail fins, drier martinis, darker steak houses and cozier evenings with the family."

Everyday, we would drift down the hallowed hall of Dolores High School, past the class pictures of earlier classes that would stare down at us, disapprovingly, from above the grey lockers, and filter into that last classroom. We would serve our time, burn our hour, as history and the odd Jedi master tried to interest us in the lives that we were likely to live, the government we were destined to deserve, the place in the cosmos we were to choose and accept.

My good friend Rusty Hector graduated the year before I did and tells the following story:
"Brian Tobin -- I think my senior class with him was American Government. If I recall correctly, it was the final day of class and school year. His parting lesson went something like this...
'If you remember nothing else from this class, remember this. As Seniors you feel you are invincible. When you start getting all puffed up and full of yourself I would ask you to fill a 5-gallon bucket with water. Stick your arm in the water, all the way down so your elbow is submerged! Remove your arm from the bucket. And that voided space in the water is how much they will miss you when you are gone.'"

According to Hector, "From time to time I still share the story, (recently with a coworker actually). I think it is a great reminder of humility. You Go, Brian! Lesson learned!"

Did I learn a lesson? Are my eyes open? Am I doomed to repeat?

"My history had been composed to be an everlasting possession," according to Thucydides. "Not the show piece of an hour."

History is mine to make, I learned in the hour. As I sat there there, next to young men and women that would fight their own wars, park nose-to-street in anticipation, and for easy access to the battle, select their own public pleasures.

It was more than a memory for me then. Still is.