Friday, June 09, 2006
Dave Klein - New Friends
I've been rich, I've been poor, rich is better. - Anon
Operating an 80 pound jackhammer on that hot, hot day in June, 1967, doing street maintenance work for the Gas Company did have one positive effect - the developing dust-covered thirst that would soon be washed away by a number of swallows of the ice cold beer that would be waiting for me at the Blue Moon Tavern on N.E. 45th in the U District. One of Lifes' small pleasures.
Later, sitting at the Moon, dusty but no longer thirsty, I noticed the arrival of a man, best described as athletic and LARGE and, unfortunately, extremely uncoordinated. Of course, he headed my way and sat next to me. No problem. Bear in mind the average '60's Blue Moon customer was more hippie=like rather than a street crew worker. Somehow, this gentleman pulled out a Racing Form from his pocket and started asking me about the racehorses while stuttering and repeating words. Each question took several minutes to understand and even longer for my response and explanation. Tedious comes to mind but, hey, where else was I going in the next half hour?
About ten minutes into our discussion, I suddenly realized my new friend had A. Quit stuttering, B. Stopped his body movements and C. Become extremely coherent. He asked me if I had noted that and I agreed. Here's where it gets good. Turns out this guy also worked in Construction, operated a D-7 Cat Tractor, and liked to go into hippie taverns, put on his act get someone to start making fun of him and then mop up the floor with them. I stared at him for about ten seconds and asked him why he sat next to me. His response was I looked like the best challenge at that time but he appreciated how I treated him and decided I was his friend. An interesting individual who played Fullback in one of the smaller colleges (St Marys'?) in Central California and extremely intelligent, except for his hippie hang-up. We eventually visited the Century Tav later on where he called a Hippie Moses and that was about the time I decided to call it a night. Better than jail or Harborview. I wonder if he ever made Longacres the next day?