Tag Archives: santa monica pier

The Purple Cow Resturant

The Purple Cow

I never saw a Purple Cow,
I never hope to see one,
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I’d rather see than be one!

by Gelett Burgess
Other poems of BURGESS (14)

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I awoke this morning thinking about my grandmother on my paternal side. She was quite the gal. She drove all the way out from Pittsburgh Pennsylvanian, with her family, and invested in the Santa Monica Pier. She had food-stands on or near the pier where she sold different items such as pineapple and cold water taffy. I heard a story once where she got her hand caught in a taffy stretching machine. She came to own and run a restaurant on the pier called the Purple Cow.

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Taffy Machine

She reminds me of the character from the 1945 film Mildred Pierce. NO she was not involved in a murder because she was much more inventive and practical and was married to the same man all her life. Yet my grandmother was an epicurean entrepreneur and a genius at what she did. All her wealth she moved into purchasing land in the San Fernando Valley. She owned a farm in the Santa Monica Mountains too. She invested in her children’s future  helping them all to reach for their dreams. By the time I came around most of her financial wealth and creative spark was gone due to the usual metamorphose of change, age and a new generation.

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1942 Santa Monica Pier

I remember her old hands, and the way she had to slide down the stairs at my parent’s home. My mother kept a special dresser drawer of pictures and things from the past where a few of my grandmother’s poems rested.  I wish I asked more questions and paid more attention to stories told about her. I do remember her gaze at me when I was around her as a child. I felt her need to be by me and to hold me. I feel that now too. I like that!!
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Equilibrium and Sparks

“This he [she] feels, is my proper vocation, this is the optimum, the law, the life for me to live. Here I find the degree of equilibrium, safety, calm and leisure which I need, or here I find the challenge, passion, fight, and hardship with which my soul’s energy expires.” ~ Pg. 256 Par. 1, The Varieties Of Religious Experience William James

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Dad, mom and me

Making fruit salad this morning is a proper thing to do for breakfast. It is when I got to the pineapple, after the strawberries, that I thought about Dad. He was the one that showed me how to cut up a pineapple. He grew up on the California Santa Monica Pier. His mother gave him his own stand on the pier selling pineapple. She set him up good for a young teen. He cut up the pineapple and sold pineapple on a stick. All profits were his to keep. Along with diving off the end of the pier for two bits, or body building at the original Muscle Beach, his stories where nice to hear while he taught me just this skill.

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The Best Soundtrack for a Film

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(Please click on the YouTube song below by The Swords of Fatima first before reading the story. Read with the music playing to achieve the full effect of the story.. This is a CD band embellished non-fiction review story...)

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raveling down the snake again towards Santa Monica, this drive is so familiar, years and years and even in a mother’s womb when the journey first began.

The yellow Sticky Monkey Flower  blossoms are highlighting the canyon hills and the noble Yucca is all dried up this April. To the ocean we go and to the pier.

We are going to the place where Mom and Dad lived in their youth at the Santa Monica Pier. As a teenager Dad would dive off the end of the pier for money. They married and soon after the war sold cotton candy from a stand. The stories and images flow through my mind, knowing that they are now both but ashes in separate boxes side by side.

Lyrics to The Swords of Fatima

Taken from The Swords of Fatima Monsoon and Sandstorms CD  http://longbladerecords.com/the_swords_of_fatima/

Sunday is the worse day to go to the beach. Crowds of people were everywhere. I almost got run over by a fast red car. There was a mad man at the threshold of a bridge who troubled us. This bridge arches over the Pacific Coast Hwy.  We did not give him any money so he said,

“You will lose everything and be out on the streets… fuck you.”

“What are you saying?” I said.

“Bitch, you will lose everything and will live out on the streets!”

He was a very unpleasant man so I walked away and gave him the finger, which made him an extremely crazy mad man.

“Fuck you…bitch…you will be out on the streets!”

I then gave him the peace sign and said,

“I have been out on the streets,”

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“Get your kicks on Route 66”

Waking over to the pier the sounds of the cars, bikes and talking people got us feeling down. Should we eat at a restaurant? The beach it covered with crosses and coffins with American flags. We went instead to play some  air hockey but didn’t have any coins.  The arcade was so stuffed and full that I said time to go. They followed as I stormed away thinking,

“This is hell, this is hell.”

Gazing in at the Merry Go Round and feeling some joy we soon all calmed down for some food and a beer at the Ye Olde King’s Head, but before food and drink, we had to pass by the mad man.

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US minus Dancing John

Waking up the steps to the mad man we found him singing a beautiful song for some ladies handing him money. I threw some long stem yellow sour flowers at the mad man’s feet before whispering in one of the lady’s ears,

“You are lucky you gave him some money, otherwise he would be screaming nasty words at you!”

He might have been a mad man, saint or Bodhisattva !

Another man came up from behind me and said excuse me as he then ran by with a purse. It had a broken strap. He looked at me and jumped into his car, which was parked illegally, and drove away.

“I bet he pulled that off of some ladies arm.”

“You are probably right.”

We all agreed that it must have been so.

“You’d be surprised how much that happens at a crowed place like this on a Sunday at the Santa Monica Pier!!”

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Dancing John