By Fred Owens
Patti Detzer was in my dream last night. We were at a party and she was wearing a chicken costume and she was dancing and laughing and her hair was wild...... I rented a room for two years at Patti's farmhouse on Fir Island. It was such an austere almost monastic atmosphere with the silence and the wind. Patti and I rarely talked or ever ate meals together, but we did go on one date -- to see Leonard Cohen in Seattle. We rode down to this concert with Marc Zappa and Kathy Woelke. It was pretty fine music. Other than that for two years while I lived there she sat on the floor in the living room eating popcorn and watching TV in the evening. I sat in my room and read books and drank wine.
My son bought me the Leonard Cohen tickets as a surprise gift, two tickets. I needed a date. Who to ask? Anybody special in my life at that time? Nobody. Except Patti, who was my landlady, and there are boundaries for that relationship, but I knew she loved Leonard Cohen, and I knew she would accept my offer. So we had a pretty good time.
But it was a cold winter in that farmhouse with wood heat and my bedroom was in the corner away from the warm areas. It was Dec. of 2007 when I moved in. I was working full time as a nursing aide on the evening shift at Skagit Valley Hospital and usually came home about 11:30. Had a glass of wine, went to sleep. Got up in the morning -- it was cold, cold, took a shower and dashed off in the car to the Rexville Store to have coffee and talk with my pals.
Patti charged me $350 for the room. A good price, except I had to split and stack the firewood and carry it into the house and pay for it as well....... Anyway, the view from my bedroom window was glorious -- muddy fields and thousands of snow geese. Eagles in the cottonwoods. It was worth being cold, but after two winters I had enough and moved back into town.
Patti was good people.
Johnny Carson. We came upon some DVD tapes of the Johnny Carson Show from the 1980s -- guests were Dyan Cannon, Rodney Dangerfield and the animal man with a pet alligator. Johnny was always there, from 1962 to 1992. Thirty years, five nights a week. He was always there. We loved watching it last night. It wasn't nostalgic. It's like we were just there in the present. Dyan Cannon was wild and free. Rodney Dangerfield was funny but he got tiresome. Tonight we will watch the DVD with Robin Williams as the main guest -- it could be good.
Johnny Carson, not to elevate him too much, meant that America was whole and one country. Everybody liked him. Well, not everybody, but everybody was used to him being live on the TV five nights a week. He was American -- like mowing the lawn.
I mention lawn mowing because lawns are almost gone from drought-stricken California. We had to cut back on lawns because of the drought but I am beginning to miss them. Going bare foot, green and wet under the sprinklers on hot days in July in suburban Chicago when I was a kid. Neighbor to neighbor. They still have all-green lawns in the Midwest -- I don't want California to be too different.
George Bush Dies. Like millions of Americans I compared him to the guy we have now, and Bush comes out decent. Not to endorse Bush's accomplishments, but the point is that if a man is decent you might be able to influence his process.
Not too late to wish you Happy Thanksgiving one more time. And Happy Hanukkah.