When I finished my three-year enlistment in the US Army, I came home and took some time off. I got married while I was in the service which was in my opinion, a bad idea. There were circumstances during the time that caused this. Anyway it’s not in the scope of this story to pursue it, the marriage only lasted a couple of years and I was done with it.
I got a job at a car lot in Oregon City, McKee Pontiac. I worked in what they called “the new car get ready department.” We did what the title suggests. It was during this time that I met a guy named Ron Taylor. Long-haired, hippie looking sort, easy smile and smelled like petuliah oil for those of you old enough to know what that is. Anyhow, Ron and I got to be good friends. I used to go down to his house in Gladstone and sit around with him and his wife Sue, and his cousin Cliff. It was at this house that I met the rest of the crazy hippie types. A big, easy-going guy with “Moose” for a tag. Then there was Roger. I got along with Roger great because he had great taste in music, and cars and could converse on either subject or both depending on how many doobies he’s smoked. There was this other gal there named Wendy. She had this big German Shepherd . He was a nice dog but she didn’t know jack shit about how to handle him but instead insisted she was an authority on the breed. Having had German Shepherds all my life naturally put me at odds with her. I got along with her Dog lots better than I did with Wendy. She was a real class A dumbbell. I would sit crossed the room from her whenever she was there. Cliff didn’t like her much either. The rest of the clan finally deep-sixed her because she was just too much of a pain in the ass to deal with .
On the subject of Mary Jane, I tried it while I was in Korea and decided I didn’t like something else being in charge of my brain. Besides that the stuff we smoked in Korea was also cured in opium. Yeah it was la-la land after two tokes, and that’s no fooling either. I’m kinda sensitive to this sort of thing making me a cheap drunk, and a cheap stoner. I was actually neither. I liked to sit around and have a few beers and listen to Santana, Fleetwood Mac and Pink Floyd, and when Cliff found a British space rock band named Hawkwind we liked that too. It was fun watching my hippie friends get stoned. If I were a parent and my daughter told me she was going to a party where people might partake of Mary Jane I’d feel a lot better about that than if she were going to a beer bash. My recollections of people getting stoned did not conjure up fist fights, car accidents, fights and calling each other names, and acting like fools. Instead I saw my friends laughing till they had tears in their eyes, loving the music they were listening to, or sitting around eating chips and Cheetos till their fingers turned orange.
We sort of all had music assignments too. Cliff found the band Hawkwind, Ron found a band named Mason Proffitt (no relation I think.) and I found this wonderful old blues man Albert King. This was long before the days of CDs. I bought them all on big black 33 1/3rd rpm long play lps. What greatness that was also, the albums were truly works of art. Brings to mind Creams Wheels of Fire Chrome album, Santana’s first album, ZZ Top’s Tres Hombres, with the great Mexican meal on the inside cover that just made you drool looking at it. I’d buy a couple of new albums get on the phone and call up Ron and tell him what I had and he’d get me to bring them down.
I remember one Saturday night I was sitting around the house for some reason. I got a call from Sue, and she asked me what I was doing. I could hear music in the background and Cliff and Moose saying loudly so I could hear, “Come on down Proffitt!” So I drove from my place to Ron’s a trip of about fifteen minutes driving the speed limit or 7 minutes illegally. I got to the front porch and the porch light was on. I knocked on the door and Cliff answered it. All the standard lights were out in the house but there were two or three high-powered Blue-Blacks (more intense than the standard black lights) on. I stepped into the house and when I turned around I saw that Cliff had a giant butterfly painted on his face. It was invisible in normal light such as the porch light. It glowed a bright lavender under the black lights. Sue had painted up Ron, Cliff, and Moose. Roger came over later on. He didn’t have a girl friend at the time so he was sorta like me in that respect. Sue told us that Ron had scored some magic mushrooms. She wanted to know if I wanted any which I passed on. My imagination doesn’t need psychedelics to begin with as any of my old friends can tell you. Well about an hour later Sue remembered the mushrooms and asked Roger if he’d like a mushroom sandwich. Roger told her he’d like one partly because he was semi-stoned and the other part because he had the munchies, imagine that? Roger ate the sandwich half expecting to trip out immediately. Organics like this take a while to kick in due to the digestive process. Well Roger got a little bummed out and left. We were still sitting around listening to Pink Floyd’s Pillar of Winds, when there was a knock on the door. I got up and answered the door. It was Roger. His eyes were huge, staring orbs! I thought he’d seen a ghost or something because his complexion was white and he looked scared. He came in and Ron said “hey man you look like you seen a ghost?” Roger looked at Ron and his mouth was open but no words came out, then pretty soon he blinked and said ” I was driving and I got home and went to bed. After I was in bed I heard this sound like lots of wind. I got up and I heard it coming from the front door. When I opened the door I saw “The Wind Man!” “Oh wow man!” Ron said, Cliff was giggling and said “That’s really heavy man.” Moose ask him if he was still there and if he could go see him! I had to laugh Roger told Moose “Hey man it’s not funny! He was a scary dude!”
We all decided that the mushrooms worked. I remember those days at Rons sitting in a living room full of incense, pot smoke, and Sue’s great kitchen smells watching the smoke float around sort of semi excited by the ultraviolet radiation from the blue-blacks, and listening to Jimmi Hendrix, Humble Pie, Procol Harum, and even a tune or two from Moby Grape, any of you remember that band? Ron was a great friend. I lost him to cancer a few years back. I can say I told him that I loved him. I’m glad I did too, because the Reaper snatched him away and I saw it coming. Ron was a great natural guitar player. I used to sit and jam with him until our fingers actually bled. A guy named Fred Thomas used to come over and jam with us when Ron moved up to Sandy. Fred used to write some great music all on his own, and Ron and I would jam with Fred until the sun came up. Friendships like that only come around once in your life.