When I was younger, I worried a great deal about what people thought of me, a characteristic instilled in me by my sainted mother. During the sixteen years I taught in the Laytonville School District, Annie and I certainly felt the fishbowl effect, any time we ventured out in public.
Pop into Video Outreach for weekend entertainment on a Friday afternoon? Only if you are ready to have at least two impromptu parent/teacher conferences as you try to select a film that, you know, wouldn’t raise any eyebrows of the other patrons of the store.
Oh, good Buddha. Gertrude’s mother is in the parking lot and I think she’s heading this way. Time to shift into Plan B or we’ll be here all night...
Or how about the quip both Annie and I overheard in Geiger’s one Friday afternoon, by none other than one of the labor force of the shop? Upon observing that we had included amongst the smattering of groceries deemed imperative to survive the weekend, a six-pack of MGD, this staunch paragon of virtue noted archly,
“Hmmph. That’s nothing. Usually it’s a twelve-pack.”
Well, I’m glad we’re keeping track. Be sure and file your observations with the Mendocino County observer. Besides, if we weren’t so f**king poor, it WOULD be a twelve-pack...
For most of my career, I had little connection with cannabis, simply because I was not growing and had no loot for frivolities. When Casey waltzed off the Pacific U up near Portland, things perked up.
The day he departed, our relationship took a significant step forward, with me accepting Casey as the adult he was. Therefore, with that new-found status, I also accepted the fact the he embraced cannabis of his own free will, the same as I had at approximately the same age. I was a senior in high school, seventeen years old, when I began my lifelong affair with the sacred herb.
The apple don’t fall far from the tree...
I didn’t know it then, though it became much clearer when I began to teach in the District, but I have had a mood spectrum disorder all my life, which emerges in the form of a benevolent mania. I go at full-speed 24/7, my mind racing so far ahead of my 62-year-old frame, it’s ridiculous. It’s like the race between the turtle and the hare, only it turns out as expected-every time.
The hare leaves the turtle in the dust, just as my brain leaves my body in a heap. With only four or five hours of sleep per night, my mind on a hamster track, my body can only sigh and try to keep up.
I use cannabis to try and corner that skittish beast of a brain, and it helps reduce my mania from hurricane-like symptoms to simply overcast with a chance of rain. A bong rip soothes the white-water-crested waves surging about in the narrow confines of my little BB-sized brain.
I’m sorry if I do not meet the standards that you feel I should possess, but I’m not really that sorry...
When I started growing my own medicine after I retired, I still worried incessantly that there would be many who disapproved of my actions, though why I cared is still hard to pin down. As I alluded to earlier, it is a trait that I attribute to Pauline, a product of an earlier era in which reputation was of paramount importance.
I personally ascribe to a philosophy handed down from above by the Divine Bette Midler, who once stated quite eloquently, “F**k ‘em if they can’t take a joke.”
It took just seven sessions of therapy to remove my lifelong panic attack disorder, and along with it went any desire on my part to meet up to others’ expectations.
Not any more.
I have revealed much of this in the recently-complete series on Reggae on the River, but I want to climb one more rung on the ladder to my own emancipation from the criticism of others: I am proud to grow the ganja.
As with any farming endeavor, the amount of work is overwhelming, unless you are quite passionate about what you are doing. It is no secret that here on the farm, we take great pride in growing organic produce and medicinal cannabis for our community. By us, I mean the younger generation.
I do not move dirt any longer, nor till the soil with my hands. I do not even enter the picture until the girls have been in the ground for a month or so, and I can start the trellising, a three-month-plus process that never really ends until Harvest. Even at that the lads still pound the four, ten-ft-high corner t-posts in place, because I can no longer pound much of anything into the ground, except maybe a pitchfork into loose soil.
However, what I lack in quantity, I make up for in quality, and my girls are healthy, happy and burgeoning. I no longer worry that I will be perceived as some kind of degenerate hippie who “grows his own pot.”
“Now Mr. Farmer
Please fill the earth with some good marijuana
I ned ya medicine, this herbal dr.
Now burn it up for me.
Blaze up your medicine, and it’s just fine...”
The lyrics of "Farmer" haunt me with their power.
Now, suppose one of my favorite artists on the planet just played at ROTR, 2015, and I did not know about it, though I have been perusing the lineup since last February, when I found out Stephen Marley would be there. How is that possible?
It goes like this: I recently got introduced to Fortunate Youth through Pandora, thumbing-up every one of their songs, including Mr Farmer. By recently, I mean just within the last couple of months. When I first started planning for ROTR, I did not recognize any of the artists in Thursday’s lineup, so I mentally scratched Thursday off the agenda, and focused on Friday through Sunday.
Imagine my shock-and chagrin-when I mentioned my affinity for Fortunate Youth recently to Conner, who looked confused.
“So...did you just see them?” knowing pretty well that I had not been in attendance at ROTR on Thursday.
Now it was my turn to look confused. “Where might I have seen them?”
Oh, No. Now I know where I might have seen them.
In the time it took to ask the question, the blind became enlightened, and I felt as though I had been socked in the gut. Sucker-punched by poor Conner, who probably thought I had finally slipped my mooring.
In any case I have recovered well and am pushing ever onward and upward, no pun intended. I will continue to take pride in producing that which provides such stellar relief from my own regimen of mental idiosyncrasies, as well as those of others.
“Mr. Farmer say please
You grow it for the doctor
It seems they need relief.
Oh Farmer, say please, You grow it for the nation
To put their minds at ease.”
And I am proud to say that I do indeed grow it “to put their minds at ease.”