Blogging in E minor
Usually just a bunch of silly crap.

A Box Full of Pennies and a Dream, Part IV: 25 Years Later in Inconclusive Retrospect

Link to Part I; Link to Part II; Link to Part III

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Lee Murr: Nudged by gravity, erosion, and ice, giant boulders break free from the exposed mountains where highways cut through them. . . . 

Marion the Librarian: When Takkic took off for California, I was heartbroken. We had been dating for two years, yet I didn’t even get a chance to see him off. I just found this letter in the mailbox one morning saying he was leaving town with Lee Murr. He couldn’t even wait until the morning to say goodbye! That’s how he was: impulsive and self-centered.

Almighty Mike: He was in our band at the time. He just quit showing up for practice. We found out later that he had left town. I know he had a lot of problems.  He didn’t have a job and he was living out of his car. But the dude didn’t even call. Man, don’t do us like that! 

Troll-Traig: So they actually did it! They went off to LA! Or so we thought. We were all rooting for them.

Charu Cockrobin: He and Lee were like that. When they got together, anything could happen. They used to climb on bridges, stay up all night, and do the goofiest shit. And they weren’t on drugs. Those two were crazy together!

Perth Amboy: When I heard they had left, I knew no good could come of it . . .  except for a good laugh, perhaps.

Charu Cockrobin: So I was drinking a brew, floating on a raft in my pool when, to my surprise, up walks Takkic! He was bearded, dirty as hell and smelled like crap. And he had a canteen dangling from his belt on handcuffs. I thought, “Look what the cat dragged in!” I said, “Dude, you’re just in time for a party!”

Marion the Librarian: I got off work one Saturday about a week after Takkic left. Charu’s parents were out-of-town and he was having one of his blowouts. He had some of the wildest parties! Anyway, I walked into the backyard to find Takkic there waiting for me! OMG I was so glad to see him! He had cleaned up since he had arrived, but he left his scruffy beard intact. Can’t say I really cared for it, but it didn’t matter. My baby was back!

Troll-Traig: For some reason, he was wearing a canteen.

Perth Amboy: I asked about Lee. Takkic said he had left him in Colorado. WTF?

Takkic: I was so happy to see Marion. I told her that I couldn’t live without her and came all the way back to be with her, nudge, nudge, wink, wink. It had been a long day . . . a long week for that matter! After a while, I excused myself and went down in Charu’s room in the basement and crashed. I was awaken by a long, lithe naked girl crawling into bed with me and planting an eager tongue into my mouth. It was nice to be home, wherever that happened to be.

Charu Cockrobin:  I was always having parties when my parents were out of town, and this was one of the biggest ever. People were swimming in the pool in their underwear, cars were parked all up and down the streets for blocks and people were in the front yard doing beer bongs. I was hanging out on the roof partying with some of my closer friends, admiring the vast expanse of depravity that was our property. Then the cops pulled up with their cherries twirling.

Smooth Spoon: A helicopter flew over and lit the whole scene with its search light. They sent a friggin’ helicopter, man! People were running in all directions, jumping fences, dragging off coolers or ditching their beer.  It was pure pandemonium.

Perth Amboy: We got out of there. I didn’t like the looks of that scene!

Marion the Librarian: Takkic and I were making love in the basement. I was riding on top of him when all these people came running down the stairs. They said the party was getting busted, then ran into the laundry room and hid. You could hear a helicopter outside and people screaming upstairs. Then the cops stuck their head in the basement door and shined their lights on us. They made a few crude remarks and left. Eventually, all the people in the laundry room left as well. Takk and I hadn’t missed a beat. Like, we hadn’t seen each other for a week. We weren’t about to stop!

And I got him to part with that stupid canteen!

Takkic: Then next day I went to Lee’s folks’ place to drop off his stuff. His mother asked me to just take his guitar directly downstairs – she didn’t want to even look at that ugly thing! She mentioned that she had heard from Lee and he was hanging out with a group of hippies. She expected him home in a few days. NO WAY!!!

Perth Amboy: I got a collect call from Lee saying he was at this hippie convention in southeast Missouri. So we decided to go look for him.

Smooth Spoon: Perth and I got lost and ended up pulling into this compound with a Nazi flag flying in the middle of it. This guy came out in an orange robe, and I decided that I just had to give him a hard time.

Perth Amboy: I didn’t like the looks of the place. I got the hell out of there in a hurry.

Smooth Spoon: Then after we left, we were pulled over by federal agents with machine guns who thought we were Nazi militants. Scared the bejeezus out of me!

Perth Amboy: The agents turned out to be pretty cool, once we convinced them we weren’t Nazis. We hardly fit the bill! They gave us directions to the Rainbow Gathering. We found them alright, but apparently we had missed Lee. And as it turns out, hippies are entirely overrated anyway.

Lee Murr: I was resting on one of these boulders on the shoulder where I-44 meets I-270 when a friend from school picked me up.  He and his buddies hadn’t recognized me, but initially decided to pick me up based on my Jim Morrison t-shirt.  They happily brought me all the way home to my parent’s house where my family was eager to hear of my adventure; after a shower, please. 

Almighty Mike: One day, out of the blue, Takkic just shows up at band practice, as if nothing had happened. We said, “Dude, where the hell have you been?” He was completely unrepentant. It was as if he left because he thought we were holding him back, but now that he had returned, we should be grateful that he still wanted to jam with us. The nerve! We told him to step off.

Lee: My parents were always supportive of me as long as I was making an effort to do something. They listened to my wild story and didn’t admonish me for trying. I suppose they knew I’d be back sooner than later as I hadn’t done the necessary planning for such a move

Takkic: Eventually, I met up with Lee at his folks’ place to compared notes. Strangely, we didn’t really have a whole lot to say to each other. It’s as if we had both come back changed – but in completely different ways.

Lee Murr: Since I hadn’t reached my original destination I considered the trip a failure in that regard;  I really enjoyed playing guitar and could’ve easily immersed myself in the lifestyle of a struggling LA guitarist, but it was not to be if I couldn’t at least get there.

Takkic: I could see myself being just another struggling musician living in LA — in and out of day jobs, mooching off women to survive. Hell, that’s what I ended up doing over the next four years anyway.

Lee Murr: What if we had made it to California?  There are only so many openings for “Hot New Band” and thousands of people trying to fill the positions.

We’ll never know what might’ve been, but my life has been enriched by the experience of trying to get there.  Funny how we change; my current feelings about going to LA are “Not in a million years!”

Charu Cockrobin: That experience had an impact on Takkic. He got his hair cut and got more serious about finding a real job. He worked with my father for a while, but that didn’t last long.

Marion the Librarian: Takkic picked up these strange survival tactics. He would hoard food, and he was always counting things, as if to figure out how long they would last. He started donating blood plasma twice a week for a while. That really scared me.

Takkic: As the result of habitually donating plasma, the crook of both arms became scarred. They still are. When donating plasma, a huge two-way hypodermic needle sits in your arm for more than an hour. I have an “innie” on my right arm and an “outtie” on the left. Most of the time, I was the only white person there. The folks who worked at the donor center didn’t realize how desperate I really was. They thought I was in there for some sick kicks or something. It’s not easy being a white man in a black man’s world.

Lee Murr: Our trip may be the impetus for the survival kit – two canteens, a coat, and a hat – that I carry in the trunk of my car year-round.

Gnau on fb: Hey Dude Whatz up? This is Paula Gnau. Looks like things turned out pretty good for you. Even we who have chosen the hard road have grown up. I read your blog. It is a shame we missed each other in Denver. What a great place to visit, ha ha, but as u found out, theres no place like home. I will always miss it.

Takkic: See, Lee, the Gnaus are real!

Troll-Traig: Gu-NOWWWW!

Lee Murr: Takkic and I were all about overcoming fears. This trip had helped both of us grow in ways we wouldn’t have imagined at the outset.  Yes, it was dangerous and foolish, but until you’ve done something – you haven’t done it.  I hope that I never need to know how to beg for money or gas vouchers, but I learned that it is possible to survive when you have next to nothing. 

Takkic: You read the stories and see the movies about people who make their dreams come true. They are somewhat misleading. Careful planning helps. Resources and contacts help even more. These things are not absolutely necessary, but if you don’t have them, you at least need some saleable skills, resourcefulness or at least a giant dose of street smarts. Success requires more than a boxful of pennies and a dream.

Lee Murr: Life is cumulative; we all are the sum of our experiences. Thanks for the memories, old friend.

Takkic: I have a sneaking suspicion that we’re not finished just yet!

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