Dozer, the bulldog

Dozer, the bulldog
About those fireworks...

Ellie Mae or may not...

Ellie Mae or may not...
In through the out gate...

Rattler relocation

Rattler relocation
Snakes are beautiful critters.

HappyDay Farms bees are happy bees.

HappyDay Farms bees are happy bees.
"Let us bee happy in our work..."


Nothing says summer like zinnias.

Pink Yarrow and carnations

Pink Yarrow and carnations
Life on the farm

HappyDay Farms grows it better.

HappyDay Farms grows it better.
Home-grown by HeadSodBuster

Where the living is easy

Where the living is easy
Garlic drying, with our newly painted water tank in the background

July magic

July magic
Artichoke-strictly for ornamental purposes

Mahlon Masling Blue

Mahlon Masling Blue
My friend and brother.

Mark's E-mail address

Monday, August 8, 2016

You Can't Get There from Here

This is the twelfth post from Reggae on the River, 2016. In trying to always maintain a strictly neutral position when it came to politics, I must say it was hard to avoid at times, while reggaeing.  

That said, you need to know that this a good post; it has words, lots of words. The words say things, strong things, good things. I may say the words more than once; that is a good thing. If you read the words, you too will know what the words say. You and I will be on the same page. 

It makes good sense to read words and know what they say. If the words I say are not true, that is OK too. If I say them ten or twelve times, it will make them come true. Oh, and by the way, I don’t need big words. No, I don’t need long words-I just need you to know that my words are your words-you can count on that.

You Can't Get There from Here

Reggae on the River, 2016, being my second foray into this iconic festival, presented a contrast when it came to accommodations, from those of 2015. Last year we were situated at the opposite end of the venue from the music, along Rasta Road. 

Therefore, when I raced from Melody’s kitchen on Sunday morning a year ago, back to my tent to get the phone I had forgotten, leaving my computer and camera brazenly behind on a picnic table, it took me no more than fifteen minutes to make the round trip.

Fear of having Terra Jean kidnapped was a marvelous motivator.

This year the powers that be determined that Volunteer Village should be located across Highway 101, back behind the reggae gas station. Were I to have had to make the same mission this year, I could not have done so in less than 35 or 40 minutes. It was quite the journey.

By way of emphasis, allow me to explain that Sunday morning, I had jetted over to Melody’s kitchen, simply to put out any fires before they got out of control. After procuring that which I originally sought, a latte(!), I started back to camp. 

Along the way I was accosted by a young man, probably the same age as Casey, who had been standing uncertainly at the intersection of the main road and one of the countless tributaries along its route. Accosted may be stretching it a bit since he had a hard time speaking above a whisper, the result of exercising his vocal cords.

“Hey, man, do you know where we’re at?” he asked. 

Now there was a philosophical question if ever there were one. 

I responded heartily, “Well, we’re either on the highway to hell or the stairway to heaven, take your pick.” All I can say is that it was the latte talking.

His mouth opened and closed as he seemed to weigh his options, but nothing came out. His face had a three-day growth of whiskers, it looked as though he had not put on clean clothes since some time in July and his eyes were laced with more lines than a coke-head sees in a week. 

“My bad,” I bailed him out with. “Are you looking for the exit to the festival? Out by the highway?”

Relief flowed over his features, transforming him even as the latte(!) was transforming my own outlook on life. 

“Yeah,” he said, unnecessarily it would seem, his head bobbing up and down like a Hunter Pence bobblehead. 

"Oh, sorry, you can't get there from here."
Our very own chapel...

His face dropped.

“But hold on a sec. You’re leaving?” I exclaimed in mock shock. “You want to leave Reggae on the River? Now? Before it’s over?”

Leave the kid alone!

I felt as though I were tormenting one of those tomato worms I used to get paid a penny apiece to find and DESTROY.

I immediately felt bad.

“I’m kidding!” I laughed. “I’m just joshing you. I’m headed right there and I can personally guarantee you safe passage on our pilgrimage.”

Throwing himself on my benevolent mercy, he acquiesced, and fell into step alongside me.

I throttled down so as to give the kid a chance to keep up, and started plying him with questions. There is not an individual, with whom I come into contact here at ROTR, that I do not make with the palaver. It is just too easy.

“I’m Mark,” I declared, “what’s your name?”

His countenance brightened, as he fielded the question with alacrity.

“Wally,” he said. (Disclaimer: Wally is clearly not his real name, but in the interest of objective journalism, I feel compelled to guarantee this young man’s privacy. I’m just that kind of guy.) 

“Great success!” I threw out there, for the first of a half-dozen times. “Where you from?”

He said he had come from Alabama, with a banjo on his knee.

OK, fine. I don’t remember where he was from because of that pesky inability of mine to process oral information very effectively. It may be that he actually lives in California, but sadly, I am unable to  verify this.

“How long have you been here?” I was hoping he could handle this one.

“Since Thursday.” 

“Don’t you need to go back to your camp first?” He had nothing but a small backpack with him.

Again, a quizzical expression crossed his face.

“Camp? What camp?”
Some of our gang

Swing and a miss.

“You’ve been here three days and you don’t have a camp? Where do you stay? At night, I mean?”

“Oh, well last night [Saturday] the music never stopped so we just partied right in the bowl. The other two nights it went almost all night, and then all I did was wander around until it got light.”

That clarified his disheveled appearance.

“No way, Dude. The music quits way earlier than that.” I’m not sure why I felt compelled to rock this kid’s boat.

“Well. the artists quit playing but the DJ keeps on going.”
Thursday night

“Got it. Where are you parked?”

His face scrunched up as he pondered the implications. Pointing south, he mumbled, “In that direction. Way down. I had to park miles away and take the bus [shuttle].”

Better him than me.

I was having a seriously challenging time, trying to keep my feet from pulling away from poor Wally, who was clearly not in any shape to keep up with Manic Markie. My feet were twitching.

“So, hey, you’re on the right track now. Can you see the bridge up ahead? You just stay on this track and follow these folks.”

He brightened up and nodded, and that was enough to activate my fuel-injected legs, and I blasted off, leaving Wally to his own devices.

Rather than focus on the distance between our camp and the music, however, the majority of those in our camp chose to focus on the benefits, of which there were many. To begin the ground was flat, instead of having a gully running through it like last year, and there was power to the people.

Seriously? Electricity?
There were lots of options for "camping."

Bull had negotiated that we be up against the camp chapel. Oh, yes, you read that correctly. While camping amongst the oaks, you can start each of your days with a spirited visit to the peaceful confines of a church the size of the Taj Mahal. It is remotely possible that we could have fit everyone at ROTR in this building, if a few chose to stand in the aisles, it was that big. 

I, however, being an established member of The Church of the Great Outdoors, already have a chapel, so I did not need a seat inside the camp church. As it turned out, Bull had assured the conservative Christian owners of this campground, that our crew would guard the chapel. 

The irony is almost too exquisite for this recovering Catholic.

Why would Nate-Dawg feel so strongly about guarding the chapel? There was a method to his madness. It turns out he had run power cords out the window of the chapel so that we could charge phones and of course, Suzy Puente, my new computer.

The man is a genius. We had so much going for us over here, it was sick. There were public showers that were reported to be gross beyond description, but Nate had the key to Cabin Number Three, a bunk house filled with, well, bunk beds, but no campers. There were two shower stalls in there of which we had almost exclusive use.

There was a bank of five port-a-potties located within one minute’s walking distance. They were kept meticulously clean by a crew which cleaned them every day we were there, and besides, if you were so inclined, you could use the facilities within the aforementioned bunk room.

Bucket seats and four-on-the-floor, but this is enough for today, no more.

Tomorrow: “Our camp, is a very, very, very fine camp, with two tents in the yard, it used to be so hard…”


  1. I like the humor!
    And the chapel? I'm glad it was useful for power. I too prefer the Church of the Great Outdoors (preferable the branch that is physically located at the beach)......
    Wally was a lucky man.

    1. Different kind of power than that generally wielded by the Church. And as for Wally...