Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Tarot Talk, and Baseball News.

My daughter mocks me for being an old hippie because I chat with Tarot card dealers on the Internet, all woman, nice people, from around the world – Chile, Sweden, the UK, Australia, Israel -- talking about their aches, pains, jobs, families, their elaborate alchemical fantasies, and their cosmic uncertitudes. Go to Aeclectic Tarot Forum It’s all very polite, like having tea with ladies.

For macho balance, I listen to ESPN Talk Radio Tonight I’m listening to Game Six of the playoffs between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Houston Astros. The winner of these best of seven playoffs will face the Chicago White Sox in the World Series.

I grew up in Chicago. I was born in the North Shore, and therefore expected to be a Cubs fan, because they are the nice boys from the north side of town. Instead I turned out to be a fan of the White Sox, the tough guys from the south side. I’ve been a Southie ever since.

Forty Lives Continued.

Ron Firman was cooking a single cocktail-sized Smokie Link in a cast-iron frying pan in his Berkeley, California apartment sometime in the early 1971. That is my enduring image of Ron. The amazing thing is that he still lives in that same apartment, on Spruce Street, north of the UC campus. Ron owns a custom painting business called Arthur Deco, and he has the most wonderful and engaging obsessions. Ron is a remarkably healthy man with such a light touch of humor, never married, no children, but he has good shoes and a steady girl friend.

I visited him last year. I hadn’t seen him since the 1970’s although we had stayed in touch. I slept on his sofa bed. I trimmed his bamboo hedge in the back courtyard, and I bought him a brand-new warehouse broom – a stout instrument with natural cornstalks – which I consider to be the essential tool in patio sweeping.

Note: Ron bought the four-unit apartment building that he lives in, because he didn’t want to move.

Geraldine Gross walks like a delicate crab. She lives on the hill in LaConner in a tiny house built next to Joan Cross’s much bigger house. She is the dominant gardener in LaConner, I would say. There would be no point in her being humble about that. She puts in considerable volunteer time tending the various patches of public gardens around the town.

Last spring she let me house sit in her small place while she went on a month-long Buddhist retreat. I was grateful to be offered her place, but I didn’t really like it there, it was too austere and spare. I kept worrying that I might make a mess.

Glenn Johnson talks too much, everybody says that. He doesn’t “get over-excited,” because he is always that way. I never met a man with so much mental and physical energy. If he didn’t have that organic farm to work on for 80 hours a week, I’m sure they would have locked him up some place. But the farming grounds him – him and his over-emotional wife Charlotte. They make beautiful vegetables. The place is called Mother Flight Farm, twenty acres on Fir Island, in the Skagit Valley, with the best topsoil in America.

I sold vegetables for Glenn and Charlotte a couple of years ago. Every Saturday morning I drove my truck to their farm, loaded up with wonderful kohlrabi and carrots, onions, potatoes, lettuce, spinach, beets, basil and garlic – on and on – vibrant live plants, picked just the day before. I took them to the small farmer’s market on Camano Island, sold most of it, made a few bucks, and got to take home several bags of veggies for my own use. It was a good deal – mainly because I was out of Glenn’s sight and he had to find somebody else to talk to.

Gretchen Dykers is a big-hearted lesbian woman and too much of a drinker. She is a hefty farm girl by any standards. She loves horses, so if I compared her to a Clydesdale or a Percheron, she would likely feel flattered. Gretchen runs LaConner’s premier coffee shop, the Café Culture. I have spent way too much time there, hanging out with my pals in the morning, or doodling on my laptop in the afternoon.

The motto of Café Culture is “The barista is always right.” I coined that phrase for reasons that are hard to explain, except that I used to work for Gretchen as the substitute barista. I liked serving people and I made a very good lattes, but there was no way I would put up with an overly-demanding or whining customer. Hence the slogan.

I’m gone from there now, but Gretchen hasn’t taken down the sign.


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Anonymous said...

i wounder if this is the same firman. did he grow up in ny?