My journey home began in early December. After two months away from my family, I was plum tuckered on trimming cannabis, eager for the comfort of my own home, ready once again to bask in the joys and the noise and the dramas of life with my four Lithuanian girls.
My time in Oregon had been busy, and my intention to visit with some friends there had been delayed until the very end of my stay. My flight was out of Portland, and several of my friends lived on the route north, so I took off several days before my flight to give me time to stop in on some folks.
Sadly, I never made it over to the Illinois valley to meet with Richard. We made plans to get together, but he got sick right before we were to meet, and it ended up not being a good time. I still had Bill and Jesse to catch up with though, and everything seemed to be a go for those visits, provided I could arrange transportation. I was hoping for craigslist rides, but that is always a gamble, as I’ve said before. As it would turn out, the only response I got on one of the ads I posted turned out to be one of the more interesting parts of this story.
But more on that soon. First I had to get from Talent up to Wolf Creek, which is about fifty miles. Failing to find any internet rides, I asked Nick if he would be willing to drive me if I paid for the gas. As obliging as he is, he agreed. We met Bill at the new café that had opened up at what used to be Circle of Wolves. Wolf Creek is a very small town, and every business I’ve seen occupying this space has eventually gone under, so while it was nice to see something new, it’s always hard knowing that the odds are against them.
After we shared a breakfast together, I transferred my stuff to Bill's car and bade Nick farewell. Bill and I made our usual rounds, visiting first Jack, who was getting over being sick and not feeling up to coming with us to Glendale, where we had all lived and worked together a few years back. It was nice to see Jack again, after several years. Bill and I went on to visit Richard’s farm, and I was glad to see Richard well.
After that we stopped by Dan and Kristen’s house, where we had a nice talk with Kristen and her kids. Dan was working so I didn’t catch him, but it was great to see their little girl Tigerlilly, who was now walking about. She is as cute as you could possibly hope, and it was funny how being around her make me want to have another baby, like would happen to a woman. (I don’t really, but darn if her pudgy face and bright eyes didn’t nearly overwhelm my better sensibilities.)
We also went up the hill to Gateway, Jerry’s old place. His grandson Mahatma had moved out, having a baby himself, and now his ex-wife Sheri was living there with her husband. I hadn’t seen her since right before Jerry died, and it was great to catch up with her and meet her husband Doug. I am glad they are there to care for the property after Mahatma moved out, and it was great to spend time in the house that I so loved.
But the day went quickly, and by late afternoon, I had to get back to Wolf Creek to see if my dubious ride would in fact pan out. Just in case, I checked the Greyhound schedule, asking Bill if he could take me down to Grants Pass (the opposite direction, but the closest place to grab a bus) just in case. He was happy to drive me down, but first we went to see if my Craigslist ride would show.
So the story on that is that a few days before I posted an ad seeking a ride to Eugene from Wolf Creek, figuring that anyone heading north might be able to help me out. The only response I got was from someone who immediately asked for a picture. This isn’t too unusual with rideshare, as some folks like to get a sense of who they might giving a ride to. The only picture I had on my phone was of Laura and I in Nashville, and I mentioned in the text that Laura was my wife.
The picture I got in return was of a good looking young woman who, in the texts to follow, started to come onto me strong. What are you doing tonight? Wanna get together? Wanna smoke weed? Are you a geographic bachelor? etc. It seemed suspicious, but it was the only response I got on my ad, so I kept the thread open, playing along a bit to suss things out. I tried to act innocent and naïve when innuendo was being laid on thick, and I shared the whole process with Reid and Nick, who shared in my suspicions at first, but who also mentioned that there really are thirsty women out there who are just looking for some quick and easy action.
Still, I didn’t quite believe that a good looking girl would be fishing for a hookup on Craigslist rideshare, and I tried to think of other explanations. The first possibility that came to mind was that this was some kind of a honeypot situation. Find some guy who’s thinking with his small head and lure him into a dangerous situation where he can be robbed. But, my reasoning followed, who would expect to score big by setting up and robbing a rideshare seeker? People who seek rides usually don’t have cars, or very much money, hence their use of rideshare. Still, this “girl’s” persistent request for full body pics, her inquires about whether my friends were single, and her passive aggressive responses to my insistence that I was married and not looking to hookup heightened my suspicions. This had all began two nights earlier, continuing via text until the day that Bill took me back to Wolf Creek to supposedly meet with her.
Such things as, “I’d be willing to hook up, no strings attached,” and “I’m just a new girl in town who wants to fuck” were thrown out casually, and this seemed very unlikely. I suggested that a good looking girl such as her would have no trouble finding a sporting young man if she were but to head into town and go to any bar, but she ignored these comments and persisted with her pursuit of hooking up.
Anyhow, by the time I was waiting for her in Wolf Creek, I pretty much assumed that she wouldn’t show, but I was curious anyhow. I wrote a message saying I was there and waiting, and got no response. I then wrote to see if I could call. We hadn’t actually spoken yet, and when I got no response, I called anyway. But the number she was texting from had been disconnected, according to the stock recording. That was all I needed to know.
“We better roll down to Grants Pass,” I told Bill. I still had time to catch the bus, though I would be cutting it close. Bill said he’d been to the Greyhound station before, so I didn’t pull up a map. But when we arrived, there was no station.
“Well this is where it used to be,” he said. I tried looking it up, and when I did, it gave me an address on the other side of town. We rushed over there, time ticking, only to find… nothing. No station. We stopped to ask, and someone directed us to a spot we’d already gone by. As we went by again, I spotted two young folks with big backpacks who looked like they too might be heading to the Greyhound station. Sure enough they were, though they told me there was no station. Just a single sign (which we’d driven right past twice) that read “Greyhound pickup.”
Bill was kind enough to wait around, just in case the bus didn’t come. I didn’t have a ticket, but neither did the other travelers, who were hoping that they could just get tickets from the driver. It seemed dicey to me, and it was essential that I get up to Eugene that night. I was staying with my friend Jesse, and we were going to a hip hop show at 9 pm. I’d already bought my ticket, and I didn’t want to miss Grouch and Del, both underground hip hop legends whom I’ve listened to quite a bit. The bus was late, and after a while I started to doubt it was even coming. I couldn't imagine how I would make it to the show at that point, but I was delivered when the other travelers told me that they had a friend who could drive them up to Eugene in a camper and that I could hitch a ride with them. What good fortune!
When the camper showed up I bid farewell to Bill and climbed aboard. It was messy, but at least we had a comfortable place to sit. I had a nice talk with the girl (the guy sat up front with his friend) and I enjoyed the company of their dog, who sat on my lap and kept me warm. (It was cold in the back.)
The ride went quickly, and soon we arrived in Eugene. They were nice enough to take me right to Jesse’s house so I could drop off my stuff, and then give Jesse and his son Uriel and I a ride to the show, which was just a couple of miles away.
It was great to see Jesse again. It had been at least a year or two. He was now attending the University of Oregon, in a masters program for Norse studies. Jesse never ceases to surprise me. He’s certified in permaculture and biodynamics, and he's a certified Waldorf teacher. He’s also friends with Paul Stamets and knowledgeable enough in mycology to run a mushroom lab. His knowledge of music, movies, and literature is incredibly deep, and I’ve never mete anyone (besides maybe Bill) who has done more actual library research on the history of the conspirators who run our world. There’s lots that one can learn online, but all of the best research into the ruling families and their financial and political empires was done in the days before the internet, published in exhaustively referenced (and often quite rare) tomes, many of which Jesse owns.
We arrived at the Wow theater and I picked up my ticket at the office. The hall was filling up quick, and unlike most shows, this one actually started on time. DJ Abilities was cranking out some sick tunes, some of which were samples from movies and other cultural soundbites mixed with some heavy DJ effects. I don’t know too much about Abilities, other than through Atmosphere, another of my favorite underground hip hop groups.
When Del came on, the crowd really got going. Like many people, I assume, I learned about Del because of his rap on the track Clint Eastwood by the Gorillaz. But a couple of years ago Jesse introduced me to Deltron 3030, Del’s sci-fi rap album set in the future. I had actually just been listening to this album while I was working the harvest, so it was cool to hear some tracks from that, along with some of his other hits, like Mr. Dabalina and If You Must. For his final number he performed Clint Eastwood, which really got the crowd going, and we all sang along on the chorus.
After a short break, Grouch came out, and he too put on an awesome show. He was joined onstage by Sunspot Jonz and Luckyiam, and they all rocked the mic tag team style. Grouch, Sunspot and Luckyiam are all part of the Living Legends, an underground west coast conscious hip hop group.
It was a lively show, and you could tell that the performers were all having a good time. Several times during the show people would toss joints up onto the stage, and at one point Sunspot picked one up and sparked it. It was funny because the venue had a strict policy about smoking in the club, and several people got hauled out by security for lighting up joints in the audience, but nobody bothered Sunspot. After he’d taken a few hits he passed it to some people on the front row, and it wasn’t long before the security guy came swooping in to put it out.
What a great show. It made me want to listen to more Del and Grouch. I go through phases of listening to hip hop, and I’ve been on a kick after this show. I even started writing some new rhymes myself, something I do from time to time. By no stretch of the imagination can I be considered a gangster, so perhaps it’s a strange thing that I like writing raps so much, but there you have it. I just like words, and nothing requires lyrical perspicacity like some hip hop. So get ready for some new tunes from E MC peeps! 2018 is a new year, and some good stuff is in the works.
Also, stay tuned for another article on the rest of my stay in Eugene.