So anyway summer finally steamed in to the Bay Area with skies as blue as a Dutchman's britches, just in time for a Father's Day weekend.
As it was Father's Day all over, Tipitina, Suan, and Sarah all took their fathers out for brunch at Mama's Cafe on Sunday per Household tradition. Marsha's father had died many years ago in Napa State Hospital after his bipolar disorder had gotten the best of him, so she just went to see a movie at the Paramount.
Marlene and Andre, who ran the Household on Otis with its menagerie of misfits, generally used this time while everyone was out to enjoy one another's company, but this time they took little Adam to enjoy the Pirate Festival in Vallejo.
After the boys from the Household had cleaned up the hall which had housed the Native Son's of the Golden West Father's Day Affair, Martini headed out on the back of Pahrump's scooter to pay respects to the ashes of his own dad at the Chapel of the Chimes. Jose and Javier recuperated from their birthday party wounds by sharing a jug of wine with Xavier and Snuffles the Bum on the beach while Bonkers and Wickiwup romped in the high tide surf, getting thoroughly, shaking, side-to-side dog-wet in the way that dogs are wont to do.
While Martini did whatever guys named Martini do in a columbarium, Pahrump wandered around the Spanish Colonial-style buildings, which had originally been designed by Julie Morgan, and then revised by an associate of Frank Lloyd Wright. The place was sometimes the setting for concerts.
He watched through an archway as a solemn procession dressed in black passed through a courtyard centered with succulent plants. Well, what can you say at a time like this?
As he stood there, a hummingbird came down to hover to the side about head high, blurring wings looking at him. He held out his hand and the bird lightly perched on his extended forefinger for just a moment before darting up and, pausing a moment in helicopter mode, regarded him for a few seconds before zipping away.
When he next looked through the archway he could see a woman, dressed entirely in black with a black veil looking at him with her mouth wide open.
A man came up to her and asked quietly, what is it? Are you all right?
Pahrump waved and hurried from there to find Martini. Sometimes its best to leave them guessing.
Denby showed up at the house after the field trip to Vallejo had come back. Adam was out back wacking sunflowers with his plastic pirate sword.
Marlene and Andre?
They are in the bedroom, bonking each other, Adam said. He wacked a calla lily.
Did I ever tell you about the time I got lost on the tundra and came to live with the Apaches?
No, Adam said, eyeing the tempting hydrangea while hefting his sword.
Well that was long ago when I was a lot younger. Nearly your age in fact, or maybe just a little older. I used to get in all sorts of trouble, you know. Largely because my own family was all crazy. My sister was a champion swimmer -- she could swim the length of the Snake River and all upstream. Only problem is that she thought she was a fish.
Way, dude. She would get fish hide and sew up these dresses make of fish scale and wear em around the house. Reason she could never get no dates for the Saturday dance. Nobody wants to hold a cold fish on Saturday night, believe me. That is the truth, so help me Jehosaphat. As for mom, well she was always messing around, going fishing. Running off with the circus. She imagined she was a trapeze artist horsewoman -- only combo ever existed in the circus. It got so bad my dad would get up on the roof and refuse to come down. Which was fine by me 'cause he liked to beat me with a nine foot long bullwhip studded with nails.
Why'd he do that?
O I wouldn't keep my head in the lion's mouth long enough. And I kept hopping out of the cannon before my dad lit the fuse. That's right we had a circus with lions and bears and snakes. Except those sorry old lions were mangy and had no teeth. We couldn't afford decent animals, so the lions had to wear dentures and the dancing bear got lame. He just sat there blubbering like a fool because he thought he belonged in Alaska above the Arctic Circle. We had the only bear in Montana that suffered from bipolar depression.
Is that how you learned the guitar? With the circus?
No. I had to play the accordion for the dancing bear. Except he wouldn't dance on account of being lame, so it was all useless. They tried using me to collect at the door but I never could figure out the change and wound up giving back twenties as change for tens. So that idea did not work out so well. My dad had to find something useful for me to do, so he got the idea of shooting me out of the cannon. I didn't like that idea. So when it came time to shoot me out of the cannon into the lake, I ran away in the dark and got lost out there. It came to winter time and the cold set in and I gotta tell you Montana in winter is one cold place.
Fortunately I found this old bear den and crawled in there and got myself warm hugging up against the geothermal rock in there. Even so it was not hardly warm enough to stay alive and I would have died for sure in there. Until I heard something coming into the cave there blocking the whole entrance.
It was a bear?
It was a bear all right.
What did you do?
I didn't do anything. I couldn't, 'cause he blocked the way. He went to sleep in his hibernation sleep and there I was stuck in that cave. At least it was warmer.
Well, how'd you get out of the cave?
That's a long story. And I will come back to that. The important thing is that when I got out of there I took up with an old miner who sold me to a band of travelling gypsies because I couldn't carry the panniers for the mule that died on him. Well, I did try, but I fell down and the panniers broke open spilling out all the gold dust he had collected, which put him in a terrible wax until he started beating me with the tail of that dead mule.
Well the gypsies needed some kind of talent, being gypsies of course, so since I can't do much of anything -- can't tote, can't figure, can't dance, can't tell a joke and can't hustle -- so like most hapless folks like that I learned to pretend like they do on stage. Since I never could remember any of my lines I made up my own. I made up the happiest Hamlet that ever existed; in my version nobody kills themself and everyone ends up happy except for the Uncle, of course. Then I made up this pretend radio show with an imaginary weather report and everything. I criss-crossed the country, hitching rides with long haul truckers by telling stories to keep them awake past the blue horrors of early dawn.
You make a lot of money doing that?
Well, not really. I am not sure anybody liked it. Truth is, everybody going out Saturday night I had no money to pay somebody else for entertainment, so that's why I learned the guitar and that is the truth, so help me Jehosaphat.
All the while Denby told his story folks started arriving back at the cottage in ones and twos. Pretty soon it was suppertime for Andre and he put down his sword, forgetting all about his martial anti-floral endeavors.
From far across the water, the long howl of the the throughpassing train ululated across the paternal waves of the estuary and the fatherly grasses of the Buena Vista flats as the locomotive hunted its way past the dark and shuttered doors of the Jack London Waterfront, headed off on its embryonic journey to parts unknown.
That's the way it is on the Island. Have a great week.
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