Bob and Zachery, Grease lightning and the Green Sweater.

The Green Sweater

Living on the east coast in Rochester New York as a Home Health Aide was challenging work. I went into strange homes with new family customs that I had to learn and respect. I experienced diversity and listened to the stories of mostly older patients.

The family owned a Chinese restaurant. During the afternoon while the family was working, I took care of the matriarch. A mother who had a stroke. I did all I could to make her life as comfortable as I was trained to do. I collaborated with the nurses and physical therapist that visited once a week.

This lady was a rock on what she wanted. She would often hit me. I would let her know that was not appropriate. We would battle it out sometimes. Yet overall, I knew she liked me. I enjoyed her company too.

Her sons brought me a meal from their restaurant for lunch every day. I love Chinese food, so it was an incredibly special treat. Sweet and Sour Pork, lots of greens and noodles.

I was not use to the freezing weather and snow. Living on the west coast my whole life I found driving on black ice especially scary while driving to the home of this family who lived out in the country.

As the patient got better, she no longer needed my service. The day I left this strong woman gave me a gift. She would not take no for an answer and gave me a lovely Asian green sweater with lovely buttons. They were round and covered with a type of enamel with little designs.

I loved it and so when I traveled back home to California it was one of my prized possessions.

I ended up in Santa Cruz California. One night while I went out with my man, I had one too many Grease lightnings. The bartenders at the Poet and Patriate Pub were supplying us with many a pint. Bob and Zachery combined Amestein Lager with Guinness. We coined it “Grease lightning” because once served you had to power it down.

A big biker dude came up to my man and asked,

“Hey John why do you two power down your brews?”

John just smiled and then we walked over to play some darts.

On one of our many adventures playing darts with the local community of poets and patriots, or a few pirates, I got suckered into a conversation with an incredibly sad lady. She was cold on St Paddy’s Day and was not wearing green. I was wearing my green sweater, with green shirt and green shoes. I had plenty of green on. So, I said she could wear it a little while to warm up. The night went on and as I left to the lady’s room when I came back, she was gone and so was my lovely green sweater. I even told her my green sweater story story.

As we left that night to walk home, I heard one last song playing from the pub. One of my favorite Irish tunes. So, I danced the jig in the parking lot next to the pub. Then out of nowhere I swear a large Leprechaun danced awhile with me. We laughed and danced.

Around 1991 John and I sure did have some good nights at that local Pub in Santa Cruz. Wherever the green sweater is I hope whom ever has it is enjoying it’s beauty and warmth.

Apple Cider

When humans participate in ceremony, they enter a sacred space. Everything outside of that space shrivels in importance. Time takes on a different dimension. Emotions flow more freely. The bodies of participants become filled with the energy of life, and this energy reaches out and blesses the creation around them. All is made new everything becomes sacred.

~Sun Bear

In 1990 Betty MaCusic and I met at a little coffee shop in Rochester New York. She was drawn to my stick figure tattoos on my left arm which looked like American Indian Kachinas.

“Are those Kachinas on your arm?”

“No, but they do look like them. They are actually a design I created.”

I was having a cup of coffee and some apple pie. I asked Betty to join me. We talked for a few hours about life. I was new to the east coast and she had lived there for years. I just turned 30 and she just turned 70. It seemed like a friendship that was predestined to happen. We had many common interests. Two of them them being an interest in Native American spirituality and art.

Betty talked about politics, spirituality and architecture. As her life unfolded before me, I was amazed to find out how beautiful and emancipated she was , and how tragic her life had become. She was a teacher, mother and grandmother but was now unemployed, divorced and distant from her grandchildren. She had lived on the street when she did  not take her lithium. Yet, during the short time I lived in New York our friendship grew and continued years later even after I moved back to Californian. Writing letters was still an art form then and we wrote to each other for many years. She would send me index cards with special quotes on them to inspire me.

While living in Rochester my white ford sedan took us on rides along the Erie Canal and into local wine country. My car was purchased on the east coast so I had snowtrakker radial tires and windshield wipers that sprayed a special solution to stop freeze build up.

One trip that I especially enjoyed with Betty was to the New York wine country of Naples. It was very cold during November and the farmland and vineyards were bare. The hills seemed to roll on forever. Some of the farm land and hills went through forests and over rivers. I remember one hill being very steep with an amazing view that looked over a frozen lake covered with snow, but even with my snowtracker tires we almost went over this hill. I was new to driving in the snow. As I was making a turn I put on the brakes too fast and the car did a 360 and then slid to the end of the hill …very slowly. We almost went over a 30 foot cliff.

After  surviving this trauma we drove silently for some time on our way back to the city of Rochester. We stopped off at an apple farm on State Victor Route 444. In the middle of this large apple farm was a friendly barn converted into a store where products of all kinds were available for purchase. Anything and everything pertaining to apples that is, even bee-apple honey. A big barrel was set up on a country table that served the most devious apple cider I ever tasted; perfect to take off the cold chill of the autumn day and near death experience.

(Betty’s husband worked on the Manhattan Project while they were living in Los Alamos, New mexico. It was top secret. It was not until years later than her husband confessed to her what he worked on as a nuclear physicists. This changed Betty’s perspective on life and I feel always troubled her psyche.)

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