Jeff and I used to go out in the woods behind Ellie’s house and smoke a little herb now and then. We’d blaze up on a jay when we thought no one was looking. Who did we think we were kidding? If Mom or Ellie wanted to, they could have called the cops on us, easy. But I was always fortunate in that regard. No one ever called the cops on me. But there was nothing secretive about our party.
Might just as well have sent out a memo inviting the whole neighborhood. It was easy to figure why a full grown man and a high school boy were going out to the woods on a bright, sunshiny day. Jeff was pretty laid back, to look at him, but I’d gotten to the point where the reefer was making me paranoid and compulsive. Jeff was counting on my compulsion to keep himself in weed.
Jeff always used to liked to tease me about my paranoia, whenever we’d go for a buzz.
The paranoia and compulsion were no joke to me. I’d get this splitting headache after we’d get half done smoking the stuff. That was accompanied by mild, visual hallucinations and a splitting headache. Of course, I’d been smoking grass and whatnot for a lot of years by that time. The thing that always confused me was why I couldn’t just couldn’t make up my mind to quit the stuff.
Jeff and I were going on a rampage every night, in my car, combing the town for yet another bag of weed. Jeff would find me one, and the paranoia would set in. We’d already smoked enough of good the stuff, to give me that predictable migraine headache again. I’d just hand over my bag of weed to the bastard, demanding a solemn oath, which was worthless, that he’d hold my bag till tomorrow.
Jeff was ripping me off, and I knew it, not that I could do anything about it. Me giving him my bag was the reason he was willing to go on the rampage, all over town. Some of our other party buddies were telling me about how Jeff was smoking out of my bag everyday. The kid had no scruples. I could not get enough weed to satisfy my craving. Then I’d get paranoid, and there we have it.
I used to go next door to mow Ellie’s lawn when I was younger, like in the 60’s, when I was in high school. I was in high school those days, myself. Jeff was a kid in those days. The lawns in our neighborhood were pretty good sized, and used to bring in a nice piece of change, for an enterprising young man to make a little money. I’d have done the whole neighborhood, but I wasn’t strong enough.
Honestly, I don’t think we had riding mowers then.
Matter of fact, I don’t think they were making oversized mowers or any kind of weed eaters or anything back in the 60’s. I used to do my best to figure out how to do a clean cut job back then, but those half acre lawns were killing me. All I had to work with were standard sized lawn mowers. I’d take a break from doing Ellie’s place, and sit there in her kitchen, over an ice cold Coca Cola, on her.
Grandma used to get hot under the collar, whenever I was working on our lawn and needed a break. There was no ice cold Coca Cola out of Grandma. If I so much as walked into the house before the job was done, it was world war three. Never mind the idea that a kid needed a break. What I was doing was more like a breach of contract to her.
It got so I didn’t want to cut Grandma’s grass at all.
But those were the days. I’d have a beer under age now and then. I hadn’t started in on that obsessive, compulsive reefer crap yet. The thing was that I’d gotten so I was doing gigs with a hippie band, back there in the 60’s, even though the money was no good. We’d play for soldiers, sailors, drunks, anybody who’d ask us to give them a show. I mostly played trumpet.
A rather delicate type of person, from the time I was growing up, I never did win a fight in my lifetime. There was no point in me acting like John Wayne around school. I’d just get beat up. But I did have a rather impressive stage presence, from the age of 13 or 14 or so. We had an open bar that was serving us the strong stuff, I would take advantage of the generosity of whomever was buying.
I know I did a lot of hooch in my day, just like Jeff was doing in his.
I was mostly a rehearsal trumpet player. I’d learn a certain bunch of songs in rehearsal. I’d learn what the trumpet part was, and fill the horn in to the best of my ability, no matter where I was. I was a marching bandsman, a nightclub bandsman, and church musician, whatever. The marching band and the church didn’t pay me at all. Zero, zilch, nada. Got so I felt like a whore on those gigs.
But back in the 60’s I was a good trumpet player.
I’d go anywhere and fill in with good, solid sound.
I’m not the one who made the deal about the band. I’d take what I was given from those gigs. We’d always stop at the diner after a gig. I’d have a late night steak sandwich and fries with the other horn player and the manager of the group. Those were the days. The sandwich was good, too. Trouble was, once I was finished eating my sandwich, I was more or less broke again.
The other trumpet player and I didn’t like the pay, but we were in a hippie band in the 60’s.
I didn’t really know Jeff until the 80’s, so you can get a basic take on the years between us.
Ellie was this older lady next door, when I was young. She had an invisible husband. I can’t even think what his name was, but believe they’re both dead and gone by now. They were Grandma’s next door neighbors up there on Churchville Road. Ellie used to compliment my trumpet playing over the phone to Mother, whenever I was getting getting good with my rehearsal time.
It seems like I was really doing well then, health-wise. I don’t remember when that was, though. See, I picked up a drug habit in college. That habit was messing with my health, big time. It took me some time to kick the habit. I used to go to the woods with Jeff, or walk down the hill to the hayfield with him. It bothers me that I can’t place an event in time.
I should know.
I can remember hanging out and doing a trick with Jeff. That hay smelled good.
Ellie was always watching out her kitchen window at what I’d do. Besides that, Mom had the whole trick figured out, just like Ellie did. Mom and Ellie were always mellow types, lucky for us. Mom didn’t like Jeff, but there was a difference between not liking him, and calling the cops on him. There was a pile of boulders in the woods somebody used to cover up with boards.
You know, a rock group. It got so playing trumpet for money was a thing of the past. I’d already gotten too old to have a childish imagination working. I had to give up the horn when I got my teeth out. I had a lot of compliments over the years, but never really got paid for my talent, at least not any real money. One would think playing in hippie band made you some money. Not so.