Darrel and John

Yin & Yang pendant from Darrel and John modeled by Flash the cat.

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!”

Babies of 1992 and Alumni . Santa Cruz Sentinel

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 !!

The Catalyst




I think technology has ruined a few things!

When I lived in New York I stayed with a family where on every Thursday morning the trash truck would come to pick up the trash. At about nine in the morning the women in this house got up quickly and ran to the windows. I did not know what was up but I found out. The trash truck was not a fully automated one with a fancy robotic hand instead it was swarming with about four guys. I would say anywhere from 16 to 25. Hey, it was a rough job no shirts seemed logical. We put some good men out of work by replacing them with those robotic animated trash trucks.

Then when I lived in Santa Cruz California I noticed that chairs where set up around the local car wash. It was a small one and had some great Santa Cruz Roasting Company Coffee inside the little car wash cafe-store.  It was early one morning when I decided to sit down in one of the chairs. Then slowly the cars started to arrive and went into the wash. One by one I saw the ladies drive up. Hey you reader,

“I said ladies no men.!”

The men came out with their rags and cleaning solutions ready to dry the ladies cars. These guys were surfers working part-time jobs. That particular day I was asked to get up from my chair by a rather happy lady who whispered,

“If you don’t have a car in the wash you lose your seat. ” She pulled the chair out from under me.

Now the blowers at most car washes at gas stations don’t quite do the same kind of job as the part-time surfer guys. Tan muscles, long blonde hair and the female eyes watching them. Ladies hands leaving big tips in the trim of their pants seemed more productive to me. Yes,  much more interesting to me then some big fans blowing my car dry. Technology sucks sometimes.