Thursday, November 30, 2006

On the Road to Woodstock part 27 (The End)

Chapter 27

I woke to my dad gently squeezing my big toe. Still sleepy, I got up, went to the bathroom and moved my bowels for the first time in four days. It was certainly strange how I didn't have to go until I got back home. I was glad for that. I sure didn't like those portable toilets. And there was nothing to wipe with if I went in the woods.

I brushed my teeth and hadn't realized how grimy I'd been till I put on a clean set of clothes after showering. After scraping off some of the mud into the toilet, I put my boots back on.

I went downstairs, and my mom told me how she'd been worried about me, and how it was good to have me back home. Then she asked me what I wanted for breakfast.

I ate and then went and sat on the couch and watched the clock, and when it was time I went out the door and up to the top of the block and waited for Lynn to pick me up. She was my cousin Bob's wife, and she gave me rides to White House Sightseeing in DC where we all three worked along with other family members.

I did busy work and go'fered until a little after three when my Uncle Ralph came by to pick up my Aunt Suzanne. They were John's parents, and I always caught a ride home with them.

As I came through the front door my mom told me a girl had called, and she'd left her number. I knew it was Sherry, and my heart did one of those roller coaster numbers.

Her number was by the phone in the dining room, and I grabbed it and raced upstairs to my room. I sat on my bed getting up the nerve to call her. I was half afraid she would back out of her wanting to be my first and half afraid she wouldn't. The phone was in the hallway, and I finally I made the call.

A woman answered. "Hello." She didn't sound happy.

"Is Sherry there?"

"Hold on." I heard her put the phone down and scream Sherry's name a couple of times.

Someone picked up. "Hello?" It was Sherry.

"Hi, it's John."

"Hold on." I heard her yell, "I've got it, mom." There was a pause, and then I heard the click of the other line being hung up. "Johnny Lee." I could hear the smile in her voice.

"Just call me John."

"Oh, but I like 'Johnny Lee'."

"Okay." I didn't like it myself, but if she wanted to call me Johnny Lee that was cool.

"What did you do today?"

"I went to work." And so opened the door for endless questions about White House Sightseeing, and a hundred other things. I didn't mind it, though. Then she told me in great detail how her mom had bitched half the night about her sneaking off to Woodstock. After her tirade stopped, she went on to tell me how she and Linda had gotten together earlier, copped some pot and gotten stoned. She talked about that for a while, and then came the question I'd been nervously anticipating.

"What are you doing tonight?"


"Can I come by?"

"Yeah." My heart did that roller coaster thing again.

"What time is good?"

"Around seven." We usually ate around six.

It took us about a half an hour for the two of us to figure out the best way for her to get to my place. I didn't know anything about Fairfax, and she didn't know anything about Arlington, but we finally we figured it out.

"I really want to see you again. I'll probably leave here around six thirty. I'll call you before I leave."


We said our goodbyes, and then I called my best friend David. We talked for a long time with my telling him all about Woodstock and all, and he gave me a hard time about missing Jimi Hendrix. "Man, how could you miss Hendrix?" He asked if I wanted to get together that evening, and I told him about Sherry's coming over. I told him about my meeting her and our subsequent adventures, and he said, "You lucky dog." We talked a little while longer and then hung up.

By then, it was almost time for my dad get home, and I went downstairs and put on Jimi Hendrix's Electric Ladyland. I was still bummed out over missing him.

Soon it was dinnertime, and I ate quickly and ran upstairs to listen for Sherry's phone call. I must've looked at my watch a dozen times waiting for six thirty to roll around. It was ten to seven when the phone rang, and I jumped. I'd pretty much given up on her calling.

She said she was getting ready to walk out the door, but she talked for ten more minutes before finally hanging up. I turned on the TV and tried to watch but after fifteen minutes I had to get out of the house. I was too full of nervous energy.

I ran down the stairs, told my parents I was going out, then opened the door and stepped out into the evening air. I walked to the top of the street and then to Fern, the next street over and began pacing back and forth between there and Fox. About every five minutes or so a car would come up Fern, and I would look to see if it was Sherry, but it was nearly half an hour before I finally saw her old station wagon chugging up the hill.

She turned the corner and pulled over to where I was. I got in, and she asked me, "Where to?"

The sun was going down, and I remembered a spot up at the end of Ridge Road were we could sit and watch it set. We drove up, parked, and smoked a joint while we watched dusk turn to darkness. We talked for a while, and before soon we were making out.

We didn't go all the way that night, or the night after, or the night after that. But by the time the Friday night rolled around I told my parents I was spending the night over at David's, but I was surreptitiously planning on spending it with Sherry.

She picked me up around eight, and we drove out to a big secluded house in a wooded area of Fairfax County. She seemed to know the guys and girls that lived there pretty well, they were all hippie types, and after we all sat around in the living room smoking pot and listening to music, Sherry asked one of the guys if we could use the spare bedroom. "No problem," he said. Pretty cool, I thought.

Everyone told me how happy they were to meet me, and then Sherry and I found our way to our borrowed hideaway. After she set the ambience by lighting candles and setting up a portable record player, she put on some music, and we lay down in the bed. Sherry took a long time kissing me and slowly undressing the both of us while we explored each other's bodies. The candles softly illuminated the room, and the music from the record player danced in my ears. She'd brought some albums and it was late in the morning when knowing how much I liked The Beatles put on Sergeant Pepper. And then she gave herself to me fully. As she had promised, it was very romantic, and I finally understood why they called it making love.

We stayed together about a year, and then she moved out to California after much protesting by me. I was heartbroken. I felt betrayed, but the bitter truth was she simply had outgrown me. We had been drifting apart for months, and when the chance came to make a clean break she took it.

I got over it of course. I was in tenth grade by then, and when the news of Sherry's departure spread through certain circles at Wakefield High -- it was no secret I was going with an older woman -- it wasn't long before another girl swept me away.

I never forgot Sherry. As they say, everyone remembers their first. And I thank that muddy, rainy concert for bringing us together.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

On the Road to Woodstock - part 26

Chapter 26

The sound of footsteps coming down the aisle from the front of the bus gave me just enough time to pull my hand from beneath Sherry's sweater before a guy came to use the restroom. He went in and pulled the door shut behind him

Sherry giggled a little. "I was enjoying that."

"Me, too." I smiled at her.

We looked at each other for a few moments, and then she got a curious grin on her face. "How old are you?"

"Fourteen," I told her reluctantly.

"Wow, I thought you were older than that." She seemed thoughtful, and then she smiled slyly. "Can I ask you something personal?"

"Yeah, I guess." I winced inwardly.

"Are you a virgin?"

I swallowed hard. "Yeah."

"I thought so." She seemed pleased with herself. "I'd like to be your first." I looked at her with surprise. "I want it to be special." She touched my hand. "I lost my virginity in the backseat of a car. It wasn't really pleasant at all. I did it mostly just to get it out of the way. I want your first time to be special." She paused a moment. "Romantic, you know...?" She got a faraway look in her eyes, and then her attention returned to me. "Where do you live?"


" I have a car. Can I come visit? We can take a drive."

"Yeah," I said. "Anytime."

"I'm seventeen in case you were wondering."

I had been but was afraid to ask. "Are you still in school?"

"Yeah, and I hate it. Thank God this is my last year." She tilted her head back and closed her eyes. "What grade are you in?"


"Ninth grade... Jesus... " She looked at me. "You're so young." She must've seen the hurt come over my face. "I didn't mean it like that. You seem a lot older, that's all, and I keep forgetting. You know, you're so much cooler than most guys I know, at least the ones in school. They can be such assholes."

I looked into her eyes, and she returned my gaze. I said to her, "You have pretty eyes."

"You're sweet." She kissed me on my forehead. "Where were we, anyway?" The guy that used the bathroom had just left, and Sherry and I began making out again. After some time I got up the nerve to feel her breasts again, and from her soft moans she seemed to be enjoying it.

Time always goes too fast when you're enjoying what you're doing, and so it was with the bus ride home for we soon began stopping for lights, a sign we were getting close to the city. Before long, we pulled up in front of the boutique in Falls Church where we had left four days ago. It felt like so much longer than that.

Everyone disembarked from the bus, and John and I helped Sherry and Linda get their stuff to their car. It was an old station wagon, and Sherry proudly claimed it as hers. Once they were packed up, John and Linda started making out, and at first I just stood there looking at Sherry until she grabbed my hand and pulled me close. Then we embraced in a long sensual kiss.

At first I was worried that my dad would be in a hurry to get going, but then I realized that he was most likely pretty glad that I was with a girl his being a lady's man and that he wouldn't mind my taking as long as I wished.

Sherry and I were still going at it when John tapped me on the shoulder and said, "We better get going. You know your dad." I was surprised at John being concerned about anybody, especially my dad, but I unwrapped my arms from Sherry and told her we had to go.

"Wait," she said. "Let me get your number." She opened the car door and reaching inside the glove box came out with a fine-tipped felt marker. "Okay, go ahead." I told her my number, and she wrote it down on the palm of her hand. "Can I call you tomorrow?"

"Yeah, sure."

She gave me another kiss and said, "Goodnight."

"Goodnight." I watched her get into the driver's side of the car and waited until she got it started. Both Sherry and Linda waved goodbye, and then they pulled off.

By the time John and I got to the bus most everyone was gone save for a few stragglers, and my dad was sitting in one of the front passenger seats smoking a cigarette. He looked relaxed. John and I got back on and took a seat far enough back to where we could talk in private. Soon I heard the clacking of the diesel engine starting and the chushhhh of the air brakes being released, and then we were headed home to Arlington.

"So did you fuck Sherry?" John looked at me with glee as if he were anticipating hearing juicy details.

"No," I said firmly. Sometimes John went too far. I waited a minute to cool off, and then said, "I felt her up, though." I looked at him with a big smile on my face.

"Cool, man." He was quiet for a few moments. "You're probably smart. Once you fuck them, they fall in love with you."

He made it sound like a bad thing. In my mind, sex and love should go together. I'd never experienced either, but it just seemed as if it were the natural order of things. They called it making love, didn't they? But hell, what did I know?

My dad parked on 31st Street a block from where South Fox jutted down to a dead-end.
He shut down the bus, and he followed John and I off and then pushed the big door shut with a solid thump. We walked together in silence to Fox Street where both our families lived. I grew up there, and when I was eleven John's family moved from DC into the house across the street.

"Goodnight, John," my dad called to my cousin as he went to his side of the street.

My dad and I walked to our house, and he opened the door, and we stepped inside.

"Well, did you have a good time?" My dad smiled at me, and I could tell he was glad to have me back safely.

"Yeah, pretty good."

"Looks like you found a girlfriend."

I looked down and blushed.

My dad put his hand on my shoulder. "You look tired. Why don't you go on and go to bed."

I turned, and started to head up the stairs.

"You're going to work tomorrow, aren't you?"

I hadn't really planned on it, but I said, "Yeah."

I ran up the stairs as quickly as my tired legs would carry me, went to the bathroom and then opened the door to the bedroom that I shared with my younger brother. He was asleep, and after closing the door I pulled off my sweaty boots and dirty clothes and slipped underneath the covers. I never thought it could feel so good to get into my bed. Compared to my sleeping on the ground for three days I felt as if I were on a cushion of air.

My mind was redlining thinking about Sherry and the sex thing and all, and I thought I would be up all night with anticipation, but sleep came quickly as did the morning.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

On the Road to Woodstock -part 25

The din of the bus's diesel engine and the disinfectant smell from its small restroom were familiar sensations from my many bus trips, and they reminded me that I was on my way back home. For all its glory, Woodstock had felt like a war zone. The rain, the cold, the heat, the mud, the wind, the lack of food and water all combined had left little comfort to enjoy the music. I looked over at Sherry.

She was the angel that had come from my four days of hell. The setting sun shown in through the bus's window, and her hair captured its rays and turned them golden. She turned towards me and smiled. She seemed content, and I was glad.

"What are you thinking?" she asked. She reached over and put her hand on mine.

That you're beautiful and kind and gentle and sweet, and I feel really good being with you. "Nothing," I said. I tried to stifle a yawn, but it forced its way out. A moment later Sherry yawned, and she laughed.

"Are you tired?" she asked. "I know I am."

"Yeah, I guess so." Actually, tired was an understatement.

"You look sleepy."

"Yeah." My eyelids were resisting my attempts to keep them open.

"Let's take a nap." She leaned over and rested her head on my shoulder. She moved forward a bit, and I took that as a cue to put my arm around her. She snuggled in close to me, her head against my cheek, and I turned so that I could feel her hair against my face.

I wanted to stay awake. I didn't want to waste a moment of feeling her close to me, but sleep crept up like the rising moon, and then I found myself awakening from a dream. It was dark outside, and I knew a good chunk of time had passed.

"You're awake," Sherry said.

"Yeah." I was groggy for a moment, and then I felt slender fingers run themselves through my hair. I turned so that I could see her eyes, and they looked soft and kind in the dim light. She returned my gaze for a minute.

"You have beautiful eyes," she said. She stroked the back of my head with her hand.

I pulled my hand from behind her back and let my fingers mingle through her wavy locks. She pulled my head close to hers and put her lips to mine ever so lightly, and I felt an angel's touch. She ran her lips against mine, her mouth open slightly. I returned the favor, my mouth against hers, and our lips slid across one another.

It was a totally different sensation than from the night before when animal lust masked the delicate intimacy I was feeling now. This was not just a kiss but also an exchange of emotion. It was not lust but love. It was something new.

She ran her tongue along my lips, and it felt delightful, and I did the same for her. Before long our tongues were darting around each other in an erotic dance. This was a kind of kissing I'd never experienced before, and it was incredibly sensual.

She opened her mouth wide and pressed it against mine, our lips moist and slippery. I pushed my tongue inside her mouth, and she sucked on it gently with her lips, and then she pushed herself deep into my mine. I'd never had a woman's tongue in my mouth before, and the sensation caused a stirring in my loins.

I put my other arm around her and pulled her close to me, and she pushed against me till I could felt her breasts. Our heavy kissing slowed to a steady rhythm, and she began to grace my face with small, gentle kisses.

She began to kiss my neck, and it was another unique sensation. Then she began to kiss my ear. Shivers began to run through my body, and when she began to move her tongue around inside my ear, it tickled so sweetly I had to pull my head away.

Sherry giggled. "You like that," she said. I shook my head up and down like an eager dog. She put her forehead against mine and looked into my eyes. "You kiss really good."

"You do, too," I told her. She pulled me close, and she pressed her head against the side of mine. She hugged me tightly and ran her hands up and down my back. We embraced for a long time, her body warm and soft against mine.

We began to kiss again, softly and slowly, and I moved my mouth to her neck and began to kiss it as she had done mine. I reached a spot right below her jaw line, and she let out a gasp of pleasure. I slowly moved my kisses up from her neck to her ear and ran my tongue along its soft folds. Her breathing became heavy, and when I put the tip of my tongue into the deep of her ear she let out a soft moan.

She pushed her breasts against me and began to rub against my chest. After a minute, she pulled away, and at first I thought I had done something wrong, but then she turned around and slipped over into my lap. I was aroused, and I was certain she could feel me against her thigh.

She put one arm around my neck, and began to run her hand over my chest and shoulders. I had an arm around her waist, and with my free hand I stroked her back and ran my fingers through her hair.

She kissed my neck and tickled my ear with her tongue, and I had to pull away again. The feeling was too intense. Sherry giggled once more, and I smiled at her. I buried my head into her neck and found that special spot beneath her jaw and began to kiss her softly there. She tilted her head back, and I began to touch my tongue tentatively to her neck not sure if she would like it, but when she began to groan and press her neck against my mouth, I knew I'd done good.

I ran my hand up and down the side of her back, and she reached back and took hold of my wrist and guided my hand to her breast. I was shocked and caught off guard, this being uncharted territory. But she seemed to sense my lack of knowledge and began to move my hand against herself. My initial fear gave way to a sense of adventure, and I began to explore her breast on my own.

I thought back briefly to that moment two days ago when I had first seen bare breasts, and I agreed with myself that this was a whole lot better. She kissed me gently while I felt her up. She rubbed her thigh against me, and I instinctively squeezed her breast hard. She pushed her mouth tight against mine and thrust her tongue deep into my mouth.

I began to massage her breast more vigorously. I began to explore the area with my fingers, and I could feel the outline of her bra. She moved my hand to her other breast, and then she slid her hand underneath my shirt and began to run her fingers against my chest. The feeling of her hand against my flesh was exquisite, and after a minute or two as if she knew what I was thinking she guided my hand to underneath her sweater.

I ran my hand around her back and touched my fingers against her skin. I couldn't believe this was actually happening, but it was, and I was taking great delight in my good fortune. I ran my hand up her back and felt the back of her bra. Then I slowly inched my way to the front of her body.

I felt the taut skin of her belly and slowly worked my way upward. At first I was reluctant to feel her breasts again. This was all new to me. But I gathered my courage and moved my hand back to where I wanted it. It was pure bliss. To have my hand on a semi-bare boob blew my mind. I had broken the barrier of the breasts. I was copping a feel.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

On the Road to Woodstock -part 24

It was getting near three o'clock, and I was getting anxious waiting for the bus to get there to take us home. John, Linda and Sherry had been passing the time with small talk, but I hadn't been saying much but more watching my wristwatch and the road.

Three o'clock came and went and still no bus. It would have made more sense if my cousin John at White House Sightseeing had sent the original driver rather than my dad. He would've known where he had let everyone off and could've picked us up at the same spot. My dad on the other hand didn't know the place and might've gotten lost.

I stood up and started to pace. I told the other three I was going to the road to watch for the bus. We weren't really that far from the road and could've easily seen it from where we sat, but I couldn't sit still.

I went up to the road and saw that the cigarette vendor was still there. To hell with it. I scrounged around in my money pocket and dug out a dollar bill and bought a pack of Marlboro's. The guy didn't have any extra matches, so I opened the pack and got a light from him.

I took a deep drag and it felt good. The nicotine coursed through my veins, and it relaxed me. I walked up the road towards the main road as if it might bring the bus a little quicker.

I smoked the cigarette a little bit too quickly, and it made me a little lightheaded, so I sat down by the side of the road for a minute. I put the cigarette out on the ground grinding it into the dirt with my fingers.

The dizziness went away, and I stood and started to walk all the way out to the main road but decided against it. It was a pretty long walk if I remembered correctly, and I decided to walk back and join John and the girls.

"Where'd you go?" John asked me.

"I got some cigarettes," I said. I pulled out the pack and passed it around. John got one out and Sherry, too, but Linda declined. The pack came back to me, and I got one out for myself. Sherry got her lighter out, and with the exception of Linda we all lit up.

"Thank you," Sherry said.

"You're welcome," I told her.

"Yeah, thanks." John looked up at me.

"There's the bus," Linda said and pointed.

I turned quickly, and saw it drive by. Dammit, how could I have missed it? All that watching and waiting and the one moment I wasn't looking the bus came. Dammit.

"I'm going down to see where it went," I said. I tossed my cigarette to the ground and took off in a quick sprint after the bus, and saw it go down the road and take a left towards where the Hog Farm was. Damn, I couldn't believe that I'd missed it come in. I slowed down to a quick walk.

I continued walking down towards where the bus had gone. After couple of minutes went by, I saw the bus come back around the bend and back up the road towards me. I took off running towards the bus, and as I got closer I saw my dad behind the wheel. I was gladder to see him than I had expected.

I saw him smile, and he pulled up beside me, and I heard the air brakes hiss loudly as he stopped the bus and opened the door. I walked up the steps to where he sat in the driver's seat. "Hi, dad," I said. I couldn't help but smile.

"Hello, John," he said. He was a stocky man with a rugged face and close-cropped hair. "I sure am glad to see you." I could see the relief on his face.

Despite our differences I sure did love him. I felt much differently towards him than I did my mom. I couldn't say for sure whether I loved her or not, but there was no doubt that I loved my dad, and I felt kind of guilty about that. One was supposed to love their mother. With my mom and dad it was kind of like good cop, bad cop with my dad being the good cop. Besides, I grew up being with my dad most of the time and we had become the best of buddies. Life with my mom was different. She was the only one that ever disciplined me. My dad on the other hand let me do whatever I wanted.

I knew my dad loved me, but he wasn't the type of man to say the words. His way of showing me his love was by giving me anything I wanted. I didn't ask for much, or at least I didn't think I did, but for what ever I asked of him I got.

"Where's your cousin?" My dad didn't like John. He thought that John was a bad influence on me. It was John, he knew, that had gotten me into wanting me to grow my hair long, and it was John that had introduced me to sniffing glue and marijuana. He wasn't happy about my sniffing glue -- I had quit that anyway -- but he wasn't that much against my smoking marijuana. Rather, he tended to condone it, which surprised me. He told me he had tried it himself once or twice, but that it didn't do anything for him. He was a drinking man himself.

"He's just down the road on the right," I said and pointed with my finger.

"There's some other people back on the other road that I've got to pick up, but I wanted to find you first." He looked up at me where I stood next to the driver's seat holding on to the pole that extended from floor to ceiling. I could tell that he was sure glad to see me.

"John's with a couple of girls that are going back with us. We need to pick them up, too. They have some camping stuff."

When I mentioned the girls, my dad gave me a sly smile, and I felt embarrassed. I couldn't figure it out, but I felt funny about liking girls where he was concerned. It was strange. All during my prepubescent period I couldn't wait until I was old enough to interact with girls that looked sexy, though I had no idea what sexy was. I just knew it when I saw it. I had a brother nine years older than me, and he was always bringing home girls that had breasts and shapely hips, and I had this inexplicable attraction towards them. It was if I had been born horny. But then strangely enough when I had reached the age when it was normal for a boy to like a girl in a sexual way, I felt oddly embarrassed about it.

"Well, let's pick them up, and then we'll get the other people." He pulled the door closed with the handle by the driver's seat, put the bus into gear, released the air brakes with a hiss and began to drive down the road.

"Stop here," I told him. We had reached the spot where John and the girls were. My dad opened the door, and I got out and went to get the trio.

By the time I got to them, the three had gathered up most the stuff and were carrying it towards the bus. "Grab something," John said, and I grabbed a cooler that was setting on the ground and followed the three to the bus.

My dad had gotten out and opened up one of the cargo bays that ran along the side of the bus. The four of us put our stuff in, and Linda and Sherry went back to get the rest of it.

"I see you got yourself some girls," my dad said to John and me.

"Yes, of course," said John smiling slyly at my dad. They were two of a kind when it came to women, but I felt uncomfortably shy about my dad knowing I was with a girl.

Linda and Sherry got back with the rest of their stuff and stowed it away in the cargo bay. My dad pulled the bay door down and latched it shut, and he turned to the girls and said proudly, "I'm John's dad." He put his hand on my shoulder. "This John," he said as if to clear up any confusion the girls might've had.

"Well, let's get going y'all," my dad said in his Texas drawl. He let Sherry and Linda get on the bus first then he followed them on as if to get a good look at their behinds, and then John and I got on.

"Go on to the back," John said to the girls, and John and I followed them to the back of the bus. John and Linda took the wide backseat that was across from the door to the toilet, and Sherry and I sat in the left two seats in front of them.

My dad ground the transmission into first and drove down to the main road where he turned the bus around and headed back to pick the rest of the people up. He drove down to the Hog Farm, and I was surprised at how many people that were waiting to get picked up. I wondered how they knew where the bus was going to be. Been watching for it, I guessed

With the help of my dad, everyone loaded up their gear into the cargo bays and then boarded the bus. They looked dirty and beat, slightly more guys than girls, and they filled a good two thirds of the seats. My dad got back into the driver's seat, put the bus into gear, got turned around, and drove back down the road until we got to the main road. He made a left turn onto the small highway that had been the road to Woodstock, up shifted through four or five gears and then finally we were on our way back home.

Monday, November 06, 2006

On the Road to Woodstock -part 23

Sherry and I walked back to where John and Linda sat on the ground next to the girls’ packed camping gear. It looked like more stuff than the two of them could carry by themselves, and I guessed they had made a couple of trips from the bus to get their things to the campsite.

John stood up as we approached and steered me away from Sherry with his hand on my shoulder. "Come on, man. Let's walk down here for a minute." We took a stroll down along the road until we were a good distance from Linda and Sherry. I thought John was getting me ready for some bad news when he stopped and turned and faced me. He smiled. "Everything’s cool." He slapped me on my back.

"Really?" I looked at his sunburned face. He looked proud of himself.

"Yeah, man. I talked to Linda and told her that you were just a shy little fucker and that you still liked Sherry."

"You told her I was a 'shy little fucker?’" I felt my face flush with embarrassment.

"Yeah, she thought it was funny. Besides, you are a shy little fucker."

"Yeah." I nodded my head reluctantly in agreement. "So Linda's going to talk to Sherry?"

"Yeah, she's gonna straighten everything out between you two. It's up to you to make the next move."

"What should I do?" I wasn't looking forward to facing Sherry.

"Tell her she's pretty. Tell her you like being with her. Tell her you enjoyed last night with her. Shit, the way you two guys were going at it I thought you was fucking her."

I probably could have if I'd known what I was doing. Sherry sure seemed she would've liked it. I wondered if she had been with a guy before. Probably. Hell, Sherry was older than I was, and there were girls my age that had had sex before.

"Have you taken a shit yet?" I looked at John kind of shocked. Of all the things he could have asked me at that moment he asked me that.

"Um, no I haven't."

"Me neither," he said. "Wonder why?"

"Don't know. Just haven't felt the urge."

"Just as well. I hate those plastic shit cans."

"You think those are bad? When we visited Aunt 'Nita last year all they had was an outhouse."

"I heard about that. I bet it was nasty, huh?"

"Oh God yeah. Down in the hole there were all these maggots crawling around in the shit. It smelled terrible. I used it once, and after that I just got some toilet paper and went in the cornfield."

"Sounds pretty gross."

"It was." I was quiet for a moment. "It was fun shooting Uncle Willard's guns, though."

"I heard you shot a bird while it was flying in the air."

"Yeah." I looked down. "I felt bad after I shot it. The birds were crazy, though. They kept circling around even after I had shot at them a couple of times. It was like they were playing a game." I paused for a moment. "I never actually expected to hit one."

"You kill it?"

"It was still alive when it fell to the ground. I shot it in the head to put it out of its misery."

"Damn." John looked at me, and I wondered what he was thinking. "Didn't you shoot a bird in your backyard?" he asked me.

"Shot two of them." I nodded my head. "They were different though. They kept waking me up in the morning. Mockingbirds." I thought about it for a moment. "That was before we went to Georgia. I don't think I would do it again."

"Did you use your pellet gun?"

"No, my dad has a .22 pistol."

"What's your dad doing with a gun?"

"I don't know. He told me he'd let his friend Vern’ keep it for him after he almost shot my mom by accident. That was when I was a little kid. Then when the riots started last year he went down and got it for protection." I thought about it for a moment then let out a chuckle.

"What?" John looked at me.

"Last Fourth of July my dad was shooting the gun into the air. The next day he showed me the hole in the floor where he'd accidentally shot the gun off in the house. He showed me where it grazed his leg."

"Your dad shot himself in the leg?"

"Yeah." I grinned.

We stood around for another minute, and then John said, "Let's go ahead and get back. You got to talk to Sherry."

I wished he hadn't reminded me of that. I wasn't looking forward to talking to her, much as I wanted to get friendly with her again. "All right," I said.

Linda and Sherry were sitting down talking when John and I got back to where they were, and when Linda saw we were coming she got up and walked towards us. "Go sit down with Sherry," John told me.

Linda smiled at John and me, and then she and John walked off together. I did as John said and went and sat down next to Sherry. She looked at me and smiled kind of timidly.

"Hi," I said.

"Hi," she said back to me. She looked down and fiddled with her fingers.

"I enjoyed last night." I looked at her.

"I did, too." She looked up at me cautiously.

"I like you a lot, you know," I told her. "I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings." I looked down. There were some moments of silence, and I began to think I'd said the wrong thing.

She reached out and touched my hand. "You're sweet." I looked up at her, and she looked back at me with those big brown eyes of hers. She had a Mona Lisa smile on her face.

I took her hand, and we exchanged a long glance.

"You have nice eyes," she said to me.

"You do, too." I squeezed her hand. "You're very pretty, you know." I was using John's lines, and they came out much more naturally than I had expected. I guess because they weren't just lines. I really meant what I said, and I guessed she could tell because she got a grin on her face.

"Thank you," she said.

"You have nice hair, too."

"It must look a mess," she said. She looked at me and smiled coyly.

"No, it looks great." I swallowed hard and said, "You look like an angel." I meant it, but I thought maybe it sounded phony.

Her face turned bright, and she leaned forward and gave me a light kiss on the lips. "That's the nicest thing anyone's ever said to me." She scooted a little closer so that our legs touched lightly. We gazed into each other's eyes, and she moved her head close to mine. I leaned forward and touched my lips to hers, and we kissed for what seemed like a long time. I guess I'd said the right thing.

She pulled away slowly from the kiss and touched her forehead to mine. "You kiss really nice," she said.

"I like kissing you." I looked into her eyes.

"I like kissing you, too." She smiled and then giggled. "Come on. Let's get up." She stood and pulled me up with her hand. I stood with her, and she let go of my hand and skipped over to where John and Linda were sitting. She turned and motioned for me to follow. She looked happy.

I went over and joined her, and we both sat down with John and Linda. She smiled at Linda, and Linda smiled back at the both of us. John had a satisfied look on his face. I felt good. Everything was cool again.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

On the Road to Woodstock -part 22

I just found out I missed seeing Jimi Hendrix, and I felt sick about it. John, Linda and Sherry sat on one of the blankets we'd used the previous night, and I stood with my hands in my pockets facing away from them. I didn't want them to see my disappointment.

If only I hadn't been such a hurry to make the phone call to DC. If I had just waited a little longer. I felt bummed and embarrassed.

Damn. Jimi Hendrix. I would've given up the rest of the concert to see him.

But it was over. I had missed him. There was nothing I could do about it now as much as I wished I could. I took a moment to bat back tears, and tried to turn my attention to the fact that I was going home, that we were all going home, but somehow it didn't seem as important as it did at first.

I turned back to John and the girls. "I got a hold of John Paris," I said to John.

"Oh yeah? What did he say?"

"They're sending up a bus."

"That's great," Linda said. She grinned at me.

Sherry looked up at me and said, "Yeah, far out." She had a bright smile on her face, but when I didn't return it she turned her head down and got all sad looking. I knew instantly that I’d fucked up.

I looked down at my feet. I liked her a lot, more than ever since last night, but I didn't know how to express my feelings.

I looked back up hoping to make eye contact with her, but she seemed to be avoiding looking at me.

Linda said, "We might as well get back to the tent and pack our things."

"Yeah," John said, and he stood up. Linda and Sherry whispered a few things between themselves, and then they began folding up the blankets. And Linda kept glancing at me as if I'd kicked her cat.

I felt like crap. I missed Jimi Hendrix, hurt Sherry's feelings and pissed off Linda. I'd got us a way home, but that did little to help my mood.

I stood wallowing in my misery when John handed me a blanket to carry and said, "Come on."

I hung back and let Sherry and Linda go ahead, and John walked along with me. "Hey man," he said, "why so bummed out?"

"I don't know."

"Is it because you missed Jimi Hendrix?"

"Yeah, I guess."

"You sure?"

"I don't know."

"Did you fuck Sherry last night?"

"No." I don't think John knew I was a virgin.

"'Cause I thought you did, and that's why she's acting all weird."

I looked at him. He was just like my dad whose philosophy was to find 'em, fuck 'em and forget 'em.

No," I said to him, "I didn't fuck her." I felt disdain, but I tried to not let it show.

"Do you like her?"

"Yeah." I looked at him. He was shallow, but who else was I going to talk to? "I like her a lot."

"Well, she doesn't think you like her." He looked at me. "I thought you were dumping her."


"Yeah, man, that's the way you been acting."

"I didn't mean to," I said. I looked down out of embarrassment.

"Look," John said, "I’ll talk to Linda and she can tell Sherry that you still like her." He gave me a pat on my back, and I started to feel better. John could be an okay guy when he wanted to.

We made it back to the tent where Linda and Sherry were pulling stuff out and packing up. My camera sat outside the tent in its leather cover, and I went over and picked it up. I unsnapped the front of the cover and looked at the frame counter. Three days and I'd only shot 11 pictures. There'd been so much going on that taking photos hadn't been on my mind much.

I sat down on the grass and watched Sherry and Linda take down their tent. It only took them a couple of minutes, and I got the idea that this wasn't the first time they'd been camping.

John sat down beside me and together we watched the two girls pack up all their stuff. Within 15 minutes they'd accomplished their task. "You think we should have helped them?" John asked me. It was more of a snicker than a question. I shrugged my shoulders.

Linda looked at John, "Would you mind watching our stuff? Sherry and I are going to use the restrooms." She didn't look at me at all. I might as well not been there.

"Sure," John said.

After they'd left John told me his plan. "When they come back, keep Sherry away from Linda so I can talk to her alone."

"How’m I supposed to do that?" I looked at him with shock.

He looked away for a moment, and then looked back at me. "Your camera. Tell Sherry you want to take a picture of her."

My sphincter tightened up. He wanted me to talk to her. "I don't know," I said with doubt.

"Come on Johnny Lee. You can do it."

"I'll try," I said weakly.

"Go hang out by the road. That's the way they'll be coming back."

"And then what?"

"When you see them coming, just ask Sherry to pose for a picture."

"What if she doesn't want to?"

"Don't worry. She'll like the attention."

"You think so?"

"Yeah man, she'll dig it."

"I'll try," I said again.

"If you talk to her a little bit, I won't even need to talk to Linda."

"I don't know." I looked at John with a bit of desperation.

"Okay, don't worry man. I'll talk to her."

I sat there with John for a few minutes dreading a confrontation with Sherry. "You better get going," John said. "It won't take them long to get back. There's probably not even a line at the toilets."

"Okay." I stood up and walked towards the road feeling as if I were walking towards a firing squad.

I got to the road and looked around. I hadn't noticed it when we came down from the hill, but a guy had a table set up selling cigarettes. A smoke would be great right then, and I walked over and asked the guy how much for a pack.

"A dollar," he said.

Hell. Cigarettes at home were only 35¢ out of the machine. I wasn't going to pay a dollar for a pack.

I walked back over and positioned myself to catch Sherry when she came back with Linda. My stomach did flip-flops while I waited.

There was I light but steady procession of people walking by in the direction of the main road. I looked at my watch and it was getting close to noon. Not too much longer before the bus got here, only three hours if it was on time.

I started thinking about my dad, how he would be driving the bus. I would just as soon have some other driver. There had been a time when my dad was the best buddy a kid could have, but now in my teens I felt a sense of uneasiness around him.

I lost concentration thinking about my dad and me, and when I looked up Sherry and Linda were almost upon me. My stomach flip-flopped again, but I knew if I didn't stop Sherry, all would be lost.

I walked at an angle to intercept them, and when there was no turning back I forced myself to speak.


"You have something to say?" Linda's eyes were slits.

" I was wondering I could take a picture of Sherry?"

"Sherry?" Linda looked at her.

"Yeah, I guess so." Sherry still looked forlorn. She stood by the side of the road while I got ready to take the picture.

Linda was hanging around, and I glanced at her, and she'd lost the evil eyes.

Perhaps she could tell that I wanted her to leave or perhaps it was just luck, but she said, "I'm going back to our stuff. I'll see you two back there."

I looked through the viewfinder and stalled as long as I could by moving forwards and backwards as if to try to frame the photograph properly. I should've told her to smile, but I didn't, and when I pressed the shutter button she looked pensive.

"Okay," I said, "I'm done."

She walked towards me and said, "I hate having my picture taken."


"Because they always come out bad."

I wanted to tell her that she was pretty and I doubted very much that she could take a bad picture, but try as I may the words wouldn't come.

As we walked back to meet John and Linda I looked over at Sherry for just a moment, and it may have been wishful thinking, but she didn't seem as sad as before.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

On the Road to Woodstock -part 21

Daylight came with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band playing, and the only reason I knew their name was because the acid had worn off, and I had been paying attention when they came on.

I had that gritty feeling I always got the morning after an acid trip, and though I was tired as hell I knew it was useless to try to get any rest. It always took me an hour or two to get to sleep after coming down off acid.

John and Linda were sitting up with Sherry and me, and we were all watching the music. I looked at Sherry and wondered what she was thinking. Our amorousness had slipped away with our acid trip, and the two of us sat quietly with the blanket around us.

My shyness had returned, and with it an uneasy feeling of not knowing how to act around Sherry. The acid had broken down my inhibitions, and now without it I was a scared kid again without a clue of how to act around the girl. Did she feel embarrassed about making out with me all night long? Was it only the acid that had made her horny, or did she genuinely like me? It didn't dawn on me that she might be wondering the same thing.

If all that were not enough, with the daylight came a realization that it was Monday morning, and that none of us as yet had a ride home. That was starting to weigh heavily on my mind.

The band started playing Born under a Bad Sign, a song I recognized from a Cream album I had bought on a recommendation from a friend. He had raved about it, but after listening to it, I didn't really see what the big deal was.

The band did two more songs that together lasted for better than a half an hour, and then quit. I imagined the concert was very nearly over now. The big hill that had stayed so crowded for three days now looked sparse by comparison. Only a few thousand diehards remained and in their midst was trash, lots and lots of trash.

After about a half an hour, a new group came on called Sha-na-na, and if nothing else they were a spectacle to watch. Several guys in 50s dress and greased back hair ran around the stage singing doo-wop with accompaniment from a band.

After they finished, it seemed pretty evident that the concert was over. Nobody new was setting up and after about a half an hour I decided that it was time for me to call my uncle's sightseeing office in DC to see if they were going to send anyone to pick us up.

I told John and the girls where I was going, and made my way down to the road where the payphones were. There were five or six phones all in a row on a plywood wall that was covered from the elements. The day before there had been lines of people waiting to make calls, but now only a couple of phones were occupied. I stepped up to one.

I dug a dime out of my pocket, dropped it into the slot and dialed zero. An operator came on, and I spoke to her. "I need to make a collect call to Washington, DC." She asked me for my name and the telephone number, and soon I heard a familiar voice come on the line.

"White House sightseeing," a woman's voice said.

"I have a collect call from a Mr. John Ivey. Will you accept the charges?" the operator asked.

"Yes, of course," the woman answered. She sounded excited.

"Go ahead, sir," the operator told me.

"Lynn?" I asked.

"Johnny Lee, I've been so worried. Are you okay?"

"Yeah, sure."

"I'm so glad to hear from you. We've all been worried about you."


"Yes! If anything had happened to you I would have felt responsible. I was the one who sent you up there with your cousin. Oh, I'm so glad you're okay."

"Yeah, well, we're okay. Are you guys going to send a bus up?"

"Hold on. Let me get John."

While I waited for my cousin to come to the phone, I began to hear the sound of an electric guitar coming from the stage, and I wondered who it could be. I had figured the concert was over.

"How are you doing there, guy? We've been worried about you." It was John Paris, my other cousin John. He ran dispatch at White House Sightseeing.

"I'm okay I guess."

"Well I'm glad you called. We want to send a bus up there to get you and the other folks, but we don't know where to find you. Can you help me out?"

"Do you know where the bus dropped the people off here on Friday night?" I asked.

"No, but I can check. Is that a good place?"

"As good a place as any, I guess."

"I'll get right on it. Can you hold on a few minutes?"

"Sure," I said. I leaned against the wall where the phone was attached and listened to the faint sound coming from the stage. The electric guitar sounded vaguely familiar, but I wasn't too concerned about it. I was looking forward to getting home.

All in all I had had a pretty rotten time of it at Woodstock, and the idea of spending the night indoors on a nice, soft mattress was pretty appealing.

After about 10 minutes, John came back on the phone. "Hey guy, you still there?"

"Yeah, I'm still here."

"I called your parents, and let them know you're okay. They've been pretty worried, you know."

"They were worried, huh?"

"We've all been worried about you, Johnny Lee. All we've been hearing about on the news is about the shortage of food and water and medical supplies up there. We didn't know if you were alive or not."

"Get out of here. Things haven't been that bad," I lied.

"Well, I'm glad you're all right. Wait just a minute, your Aunt Suzanne wants to talk to you."

After a minute she came on. "Johnny Lee, this is your Aunt Suzanne. How are you?"
Her voice was raspy as usual.

"I'm fine."

"How's John-John? Is he okay?"

"Yeah, he's okay."

"We've been worried about you two boys."

"That's what's everyone's telling me."

"Well, from the news it's a hell of a mess up there."

"It's not that bad."

"You tell John I said hi, okay?"

"I will, Aunt Suzanne."

"Here's John back. You take care. I love you, honey."

"I love you, too."

John came back on the line. "Okay, guy, I talked your dad, and he's going to drive the bus up there to pick you guys up. Sound good?"

"Yeah, sounds great! What time do you think he'll be up here?"

"That depends. Is there a lot of traffic up there? Can we get in?"

"I don't know what the main road is like, but it's not crowded at all here where we are."

"If there is no problem getting in there, your dad should be up there around three or four o'clock. How does that sound?"

"That sounds great, John. Thanks."

"No problem. We wouldn't leave you stranded up there. You're family, guy."

"Thanks, John."

"Thank you, Johnny Lee. I'll see you when you get back. Take care, guy." And then he hung up.

I hung the receiver up and wandered back out on the road. I looked at my watch. It was getting close to 9:30, and I figured I'd head up back the hill and tell the crew what was up.

It felt good knowing I had a way home. Everything seemed to be working out okay. The sky was blue with wispy clouds, and the rising sun had taken the chill out of the air. I was happy.

I got back to John and the girls, and they all tried to speak at once.

"Oh, man, you missed it," John exclaimed.

"Jimi Hendrix just played," Sherry added animatedly.

"He was incredible," Linda said. She sounded awestruck.
Damn. Just my luck. And I'd been in such a good mood.
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