|The pilot and copilot of today's excursion|
This is the fourth installment of Reggae on the River, 2016, a Shameless presentation of views and opinions, straight from the Devil's Workshop.
A Few Good AR's
When Lito and Robin popped in on Friday, it was already after noon, so I was surprised when they asked if I wanted to go back up to French’s Camp, the site of Reggae on the River, 2016, to continue setting up the two kitchens.
“Dang! I can’t. I told Bro Brian I would be here because he wanted to stop in while he is on the mountain. So, no, I have to pass. What are you going to be doing? Painting tables?” It didn’t really matter because all of the setup work was pretty much the same, but my siblings (or at least seven of the eight) had congregated here on the mountain, and I figured I should make myself available.
|This is what last year's VIP kitchen looked like|
“Putting some storage racks together, hanging lights, maybe painting. It’s all good if you have other plans; I just figured I ‘d check it out with you. Anyway, we’re going over to the Pepper Pot for a few minutes and then we’re off. Great success!”
The Pepper Pot was the newly acquired twenty acres, a couple of parcels over from HappyDay Farms. The Pepper Pot was the home of most of Annie’s vast array of heat-seeking peppers, plus most of the eggplant being grown on-farm. Peppers are not necessarily her specialty, as such, but they are a special interest of hers.
Annie uses them in her cooking, she preserves them, she makes salsas and she sells them at market. When I up-planted sixty of them into our greenhouse, I got big ups for tagging each one individually, so there would be no confusion.
I live for “big ups” from Annie.
Lito and Robin had not been gone five minutes before I started to think about the big picture. Brian was here for at least one more day, so he could visit tomorrow; it was already after twelve so it would be a short day; the temperature was a mild[er] 96 degrees; and finally, this would make three days of volunteer “service” under my belt already.
|Revelers at last year's ROTR|
I called Lito and when he picked up, I said, “Hey, are you still on the mountain? If you are I decided I would go on up with you and help out. I want Nate-Dawg to see me up there for the third day this week.”
“Nice. We have a few more minutes here, spreading straw, and then we’ll come scoop you.”
I got the essentials together: wallet because I was leaving the mountain, filled water jug, ice cubes in the hat to get me up to the hippie gas station across from French’s Camp, and the most quintessential item of all [for me], a few AR’s. “Already Rolleds” is a succinct way of saying that I had had the foresight to roll up some of my medicine, so that I would have it as needed.
Rolling joints is an art form in and of itself and I take great pride in my ability to craft the perfect doobster: I use Raw papers, not the short ones at three-and-an-eighth inches, but the ones that are close to four-and-a-half inches long.
|I'm not the only one who rolls 'em big...|
A properly-rolled bomber should be able to substitute as a baseball bat in a pinch.
The funny thing is though, my fingers do not always cooperate. Some days they function as smoothly as Uncle Ed’s homemade chocolate edibles, and other days it takes me three wasted papers to determine it just isn’t happening. You win a few and you lose a few; as long as I am still in the game, I’ll take my time in the penalty box, as need arises.
For those not as well-versed in the ways of “reefer madness’ hounds, I can only speak for myself. I indulge to keep my mood spectrum disorder under control, so that if I am manic, as I am 98% of the time, cannabis acts as magnet to draw me back down to earth.
On those extremely rare times, when I am trapped under the pillows, incapable of forward progress, cannabis does the reverse, and infuses enough life-spirit into me, to kick-start the engine.
It’s not a matter of getting high; it’s a matter of maintaining the presence of that which allows me some modicum of normalcy.
Normalcy? In a world where refugee children are vilified because they might be Muslim, my use of cannabis seems rather benign.
Prior to abandoning The Doze, I set up our fan in the lowest part of the house, where Dozer inevitably chills when the heat is most extreme. I then took a wet cloth saturated with cool water, and gently rubbed the old dude down as a means of trying to help him get through one more day.
|Leave. Me. Alone.|
English bulldogs suffer when it’s sweltering outside. Originally bred in a climate which eschews heat, bullies wheeze and their breath sounds ragged, as they struggle to draw in enough oxygen. The hotter it is, the more extreme the reaction.
Were I to take him out and engage him in a serious workout, either with his ball or a stick, I would risk his keeling over dead, they are that sensitive to the heat. Annie and I are acutely aware of his fragility and we cater to him simply because we can.
Annie identifies with Dozer because the heat is draining to her also. On the other hand, being a SoCal born-and-raised kind of guy, I like the heat. I would infinitely prefer to be roasting alive than to be cold. I feel that I can cool off immediately with water or ice but it takes a lot to get me warmed back up, once I have gotten chilled.
Upon arriving up at ROTR, having survived an attack of a killer seatbelt which threatened to choke me to death (Mind you, there is no relation between this incident and my indulgence in cannabis…), Lito and I attacked the two storage racks that needed to be assembled. Purportedly each shelf could hold more than a thousand pounds.
|Mid-sized David in action...|
As we cut the binding to access the contents of the box and opened it up, the first thing we found was a set of directions, published in multiple languages. “Directions? We don’t need no stinkin’ directions,” I said, as men have been saying since at least 1948, which is when Bogie said, “We don’t need no stinkin’ badges” in Treasure of Sierra Madre.
And we didn’t need them as it took only a few minutes to put the shelving units together. After we had slipped the shelves themselves into their respective slots, I tested the weight of the unit by trying to lift one end. I had none success, as Mike Krukow would say. I figured I could probably handle one corner, but not one side.
|We also helped set up the"Great Success Lounge"|
Frequently it’s not a matter of I can’t do it, because I do still have the strength; it’s what happens the next day. Hey, it’s all part of the package-deal, this aging process. I am doing OK; a lot of folks my age have it a lot worse than I do. As my mother used to say, “I’m in good shape for the shape I’m in.”
Besides, what I lack in terms of physical issues, I more than compensate for, with mental ones. No one gets out of here alive.