Santa Cruz California has beaches for surfing and a Boardwalk to walk on the wild side. The University of Santa Cruz sits on a hill above this once hippie and murder capital of central California. A beach town where beach meets music at the Catalyst Club. Pubs, donut shops and pizza parlors mark their territory too.
!991, you might find us early mornings at Farrell’s Donuts and in the evening we hung at the seedy pub, known to the locals, as the Poet and Patriot. Powering down a Greece Lighting, made up of Guinness and Anchor Steam, got the night off for a rogue conversation with the local Thunderbird or a game of cheating darts. Bob and Zachery made the time enjoyable and even broke up fights… the successful job of the best of the best toxicologists!!
Darrel and John were big men. The chairs they sat in at the counter every morning, showed the wear and tear below. The owner of Farrell’s Donuts told John that he was going to make him pay for it. Darrel had a beard and long hair while John, his younger brother, just had long hair. They were misfits, rebels and they liked us and often they would service up our coffee and say,
“Service with a smile;”
Taking waitress Linda’s job not too seriously. They were characters. Darrel and John had a big pickup truck with a camper. They collected stuff from the local dump, ya know the stuff nice people throw away and these two recycled it. They were reformed hippies but that didn’t make any difference. When we moved into our little one bedroom home they supplied us with some good furniture. One of the big chairs we kept with us for eighteen years.
After we got our new home all fixed up we invited Darrel and John over for dinner of BBQ steak and home-made chili. We lounged like Romans and Darrel’s belly was so round that when he sat down he put the chili bowl right on top of his belly. He ate his chili down.
Once in the early morning in Farrell’s Donuts parking lot I saw Darrel sleeping in his truck. So slowly I snuck up to him. I reached my hand slowly to tickle his beard when he griped my hand. I screamed. He looked at me and yelled,
“Don’t ever sneak up on a man sleeping in his truck. I might have broken your hand clean off!”
Our first baby was born in Santa Cruz. Darrel and John surprised us and entered the picture in the local newspaper. Now that is dear friendship. When Darrel passed away from a massive heart attack he was just in his forties. He was cremated and at his demise party they put his ashes next to a picture of him; as big and as mighty as the tree in their yard. Many of his friends showed up that day. They were drinking and smoking all sorts of funny things. Darrel was one of those kinds of dudes that warms your heart just thinking of him.
It doesn’t seem like 22 years ago when Santa Cruz was our home, a town of characters and friends.
Happy 22nd Birthday JF !!