Monday, May 29, 2006

On the Road to Woodstock -part twelve

John and I and Linda and Sherry went looking for a spot near the top of the hill to sit and listen to music, but there were no bands playing yet. It was past noon, and only recorded music played through the PA system.

We found a spot, and Linda laid the blanket down, and John and I sat down in the front with Linda and Sherry sitting behind us. The sky was a beautiful deep blue filled with big, billowy clouds, but the sun was beginning to beat down hard.

I had an olive complexion and rarely burned; I just turned brown. John, on the other hand, had fair skin, and his cheeks and nose were sunburned from the day before. Linda and Sherry had on sun hats and sunglasses and their faces were unfazed by the sun. John was right; they had their shit together.

Sherry had taken her sweater off back at the tent and was wearing a fairly snug fitting short sleeve top on underneath. It was lavender with paisley designs on it, and it showed off a shapely chest that had been hidden by her sweater. I couldn't help but to take quick glances at her. She didn't seem to mind.

Linda had on a tie-dyed T-shirt, and her long black hair glistened in the sun. She had a bit of a gut on her and as she sat a couple of folds of fat formed. Other than being heavy, though, she was not an unattractive woman.

Both girls' bare arms were brownish red from the sun, and there were tan lines at the edges of their sleeves. They had seen their share of the sun.

We were all quiet for a good 10 minutes, and then John spoke up. "I wonder what's up with the music?"

" I don't know," I said. "There should be bands on by now."

"Well, I'm getting thirsty," John said, and stood up. "Does anyone want to go get something to drink?"

" I do,” I said. I stood up with John.

Linda and Sherry exchanged glances, and Linda said, "I think we'll stay here and save our places, but could you bring us back something?" Linda dug into her front pants pocket and pulled out a dozen or more Food for Love coupons. She handed them to John.

"Sure," John said, and he pocketed the tickets. "Just something to drink?" he asked.

"Yes, that'll be fine," Linda said. She looked at Sherry.

"Yeah, something to drink," Sherry said.

John and I started walking up towards the concession stands. "You've got Linda and Sherry pissed off at us now," I said. "Why'd you have to say that about them being queer?"

"They'll get over it," he said. "Besides, you don't want to let girls know that you are too interested in them. Sometimes," he explained, "the less interested they think you are with them, the more interested they are with you."

It didn't seem to make sense to me, but John knew more about girls than I did. But I was unsure of his reasoning. "I don't know," I said. "They seem pretty pissed off."

"You worry too much." John looked at me and chuckled. "If anyone, they're pissed off at me, not you."

As we walked along, I hoped he was right but had a nagging suspicion he was wrong. As we began to get near the concession stands I said, "I hope it's not like it was last night."

"I hope not, either," he said. "I hope they've gotten more food in."

"Yeah, and drinks, too."

We made it to the stands, but things didn't look good. There were no lines to get food or drinks, and there was no one at the tickets stands. People were just wandering around.

I went up to where they sold food and cold drinks and saw that there was only water and ice left in the big containers that normally held cans of sodas.

There was a vendor there, and I asked him, "Are there any food or drinks left?"

"Nope, we're all out."

"Can I get a piece of the ice," I asked him.

"No, you can get dysentery from it."

"I don't care," I told him.

"Help yourself then," he said.

I reached over and grabbed a good-sized chunk and took a bite out of it. As I chewed on the ice, the cold melting water felt good.

"Do you have any cups?" I asked him.

"No." He was beginning to sound annoyed.

I looked around, and John was nowhere in sight. I didn't feel much like looking around for him--I was still angry with him--so I made a pouch out of the bottom of my shirt and put as much ice in it as I could carry and headed back down to where the girls were.

At first I had a hard time spotting them amidst everyone else in the crowd, and I began to get nervous that I might not be able to find them, but then I saw them. Their black and blonde hair hanging down their backs was unmistakable. And with a sense of relief I headed over to where there were sitting.

"They didn't have anything to drink," I told them, "but here's some ice if you want it, but the guy told me you could get dysentery from it." I kneeled down beside them.

"What's dysentery?" Sherry asked.

"Someone said it gives you the shits," I said.

"I think I'll pass," Linda said.

"Me, too," said Sherry.

I felt kind of hurt that I had gone to the trouble of bringing them the ice, and then they didn't want it. But I figured there was more for me, and to hell with them. I sat down facing away from them and took another bite of ice.

Linda reached out and touched my arm. "I appreciate you bringing the ice for us, but we're just afraid of getting sick, that's all."

I looked up at her and the compassion in her eyes melted my anger away.

"What is it with John?" Linda asked me.

"What do you mean?" I turned around so that I was facing the girls.

"Back at the tent," she said. "He was being such a jerk."

"That's just John," I said. "He jokes around too much sometimes."

"He sounded serious to me," Linda said.

"He wasn't serious," I said.

"How do you know?"

"John likes you," I told her, "he doesn't think you're queer."

"Then why did he say it?"

"He was just messing with you," I said. "You can't take John seriously sometimes."

"Well, I didn't like what he said," Linda said. "I don't think Sherry liked it either."

"No, I didn't," Sherry said. She looked at me. "You don't think that about us, do you?"

"No, not at all." I hoped she heard the sincerity in my voice. I didn't want to blow it with her.

"Good." She sounded convinced, and I was very him relieved.

John came strolling back and sitting down he said to me, " I was wondering where you went. Why didn't you wait for me?"

"I looked for you, but I couldn't find you."

"You just wanted to get back to the girls so you could talk about me."

I couldn't tell if he were serious or were just joking. "No, I really couldn't find you," I said. "Besides, I knew we could meet up here if we couldn't find each other." But there was something in John's eyes that told me he didn't believe me.

"That's all right Johnny Lee," he said. He said it as if it were a threat.

It served him right if he was pissed off, but I still felt uneasy about his being angry with me.

"I think we're going to head back to the tent," Linda said. "We can come back when the bands start playing." Sherry shook her head in agreement.

"You mind if we head back down with you? John asked. There was some doubt in his voice about whether we could tag along or not.

"Sure," Linda said, "come on along."

We all stood up, and Linda picked up the blanket and folded it up, and the four of us started to make our way back to the tent. And not a word was said along the whole way.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

On the Road to Woodstock -part eleven

John and I made our way back to Linda and Sherry's tent to meet up with them so that we might go up on the hill and listen to some music together. As we got close, I saw that Linda was sitting on a blanket in front of the tent reading a paperback, and Sherry was not in sight.

John and I walked up side-by-side, and Linda looked up and smiled.

"Hi guys," she said. I was looking around for Sherry when Linda said, "Sherry went to use one of those god awful portable toilets."

"I bet those things are rotten," John said.

Linda looked up at him with a disgusted look on her face. "I'll say," she said, "and if that were not enough, it takes half an hour standing in line to get to use one." She stretched her legs out on the blanket. "Sherry and I usually go together, but we thought that one of us should stay here in case you guys came back."

"Johnny Lee and I just use the woods when we have to go."

"You guys are lucky." Linda put a bookmarker in her book and crawling on hands and knees put it in the tent. Sitting back down on the blanket, she said, "You two can sit down if you like. Sherry might be awhile."

We took her up on her offer, and John and I sat down cross-legged on the blanket across from Linda. A short period of silence went by, and then Linda asked the both of us, "So how did you guys end up coming up here?"

"I'm not so sure about that myself," John said. "How did I end up coming up here with you, Johnny Lee?"

"I told you. Bob didn't want Lynn to go, so you got her ticket, and she bought bus tickets for us to come up here," I said to John. I didn't really feel like explaining the whole thing.

"Yeah, but I still don't really understand it all," he said. "Lynn is Bob Paris's wife?"

"Yeah, she..." I started to say, but Linda interrupted.

"Wait a minute. Who is Lynn?"

"You know the bus we drove up on?" I asked Linda. "Nationwide Charter?"

"Yes, of course."

"That's my uncle's company," I told her. "I work there." I nodded my head towards John. "John's mother works there, too."

"Yeah, she's been working there ever since I can remember," John said.

"Well, Lynn works there, too. That's how I know her."

"She’s really married to Bob Paris, huh?" John asked me. "How does a big, fat guy like that get a good-looking woman like her?"

"Beats me," I said and shrugged my shoulders.

"Who is Bob Paris?" Linda asked.

"He's my cousin," I said. "My Uncle Vin is his father."

"And your Uncle Vin runs Nationwide Charter?" Linda asked.

"Yeah," I said.

"But Sherry and I got our tickets from the Paradise boutique. Does your uncle run that, too?"

"No," I said. "Paradise chartered the bus from Nationwide Charter."

"Oh," Linda said. She was quiet for a moment. "So did you guys get to ride for free?"

"No," I said, "Lynn bought tickets for John and me from Paradise." I thought for a moment. "I guess she bought them. She's friends with the owners."

"And who is Lynn?" Linda asked. She looked at me. "You said that John got her ticket. Was she going to come up here?"

"Yeah, we were going to drive up together, but then Bob, my cousin, didn't want her to go."

"And he's her husband?" Linda asked. "How was it that you two were going to come up together?"

"Well, Lynn started giving me a ride into work," I said, "and we kinda got to be friends." I shifted my position a little. "I had gone to the Laurel Pop Festival, and she thought that was pretty cool, so when I said I wanted to go to Woodstock, she wanted to go, too."

"You went to the Laurel Pop Festival?" Linda asked. "I heard that was great."

"Johnny Lee saw the Beatles at DC stadium when they played there three years ago," John said. "He's gone to more concerts than I have."

"You saw the Beatles?" Linda's eyes got big and her jaw dropped down.

"Yeah," I said, "It wasn't very good, though."

"How could a Beatles concert not be very good?" Linda asked.

"'Cause we were up in the stands, and the Beatles were way out on this stage in the field. They were so far away they were just four little people standing on this little box." I paused for a moment and gathered my thoughts. "And the sound was coming through these little speakers in the stands. It sounded like a cheap radio. Besides, the girls were screaming so loud it was hard to hear anything."

"But you were there. You saw The Beatles," John said.

"Yeah," Linda agreed.

"I guess," I said.

Sherry came walking up and sat down on the blanket between Linda and me. "Wow, am I glad that's over." She let out a sigh. "So what are you guys talking about?"

"Johnny Lee saw the Beatles," Linda exclaimed.

"You saw the Beatles?" She looked at me. "Wow." She seemed awestruck.

"Johnny Lee was going to come up here with his cousin's wife, but his cousin put his foot down." Linda looked at me and asked, "Did you two have something going on?" She gave me a sly smile.

I tried to maintain my composure, but my embarrassment gave me away.

"Look," Linda said to everyone, "Johnny Lee's face is turning red."

I was hoping that Linda was only kidding me, but the truth was I had had my hopes up about getting together with Lynn when we came up. I hated Bob for stopping her from coming. She still could've come against his wishes, but as she told me she wanted to give their failing marriage a last chance to succeed.

I looked down out of embarrassment, and John leaned over and whispered in my ear, "I don't blame you for wanting to fuck her."

I became even more embarrassed. I was afraid that the girls had overheard John's crude remark. I figured that they did, because they were real quiet for a minute. Then John broke the silence. "What about you two? How did you end up coming up here together?"

"Sherry and I have been best friends since elementary school. She lives a couple of blocks over from me." Linda leaned over and put her arm around Sherry, and Sherry smiled.

"Yeah, Linda and I do everything together." Sherry put her arm around Linda's waist.

"So when we heard about Woodstock, we just had to go. Our parents weren't to cool with the idea, but in the end I guess they figured it was better to send us up prepared rather than have us run off."

John leaned over and whispered in my ear again. "They're queer for each other," and he snickered.

"We are not," Linda exclaimed. She leaned over and punched John hard in the shoulder.

"Ow, that hurt," John said. He rubbed his shoulder.

"That's what you get for being an asshole," Linda said.

Linda looked pissed off, and John had a smug look on his face, and Sherry and I just sort of looked at each other with a mixture of shock and surprise. We all sat in silence for a minute or so, and I felt uncomfortable sitting there.

Finally, John broke the silence. "Let's all go find a place on the hill." Linda turned her head away from him. "Oh, come on Linda." He reached over and squeezed her shoulder.

She turned her head back to John, and gave him the evil eye for a few moments. Then she said, "All right." She looked at Sherry and me and then back to John. "But you better behave," she warned him.

He just smiled and started to get up, and I got up with him. Once John and I were standing, Linda and Sherry stood up, and Linda folded up the blanket and handed it to Sherry. She crawled into in the tent and was back out in a moment. "Okay," she said, ”if we're going to go, let’s go."

So we went. John and I walked together and Linda and Sherry followed behind us. I could hear them whispering back and forth.

I could've killed John. We had all been getting along so well, and then he had to go fuck everything up. And now I just knew that Sherry thought I was a jerk.

Monday, May 15, 2006


Have you ever started watching a movie you rented and wondered why you ever rented it in the first place because it was so slow starting out that it didn't seem to be going anywhere? That is how I felt when I started watching Elizabethtown.

I work a lot on my PC, so it is convenient to watch DVDs on it. The sound is not as good as I get from my big surround sound system, but the picture is great. It rivals or surpasses HDTV and it makes the picture quality as if I am seeing it on a small theater screen. I have a pretty decent 21 in. flat screen monitor, and I can actually see the grain in the film. It's that good. But enough about the pros and cons of PC DVD watching. I'm just trying to illustrate how Elizabethtown ended up sitting in my PC for several days before I took the time to finish it which leads me to this article.

First of all, it is a Cameron Crowe film whose writing and directing credits include Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous: all films that are funny, quirky, and romantic, a combination that has always won me over.

The film starts off almost too strange, which is why I lost interest in it to begin with. Drew Baylor (Orlando Bloom) is a very odd character who is responsible for the sudden downfall of a one billion-dollar shoe company, which effectively leaves him jobless. If that weren't enough, he soon gets the news after that his father has just died and, as his mother (Susan Sarandon) and sister are too distraught to go, it leaves him with the task to travel from Oregon to Elizabethtown, Kentucky to handle the funeral arrangements.

On his flight to Louisville of which Elizabethtown is a suburb, Drew, while trying to get some sleep, is nagged by bored and gregarious flight attendant Claire Colburn, played by Kirsten Dunst (who starred as the love interest in the Spiderman movies).

Once in Elizabethtown, Drew, used to the cold world of corporate America, finds himself overwhelmed by the warm reception he receives from the friends and family of his deceased father all of whom treat him as one of their own, yet to him they seem complete strangers.

That night, once back in the relative solace of his hotel suite in Louisville, which he has slyly charged to his now defunct corporate credit card, he calls several old girlfriends with whom he is forced to leave voicemail messages. While willing his telephone for someone to call back, he finds a piece of paper that Claire has written her phone number down in case he got lost on the way from Louisville to Elizabethtown.

In an effort to talk to someone, he calls her and after she answers, what ensues is what I found to be the first truly funny moment of the movie, as, while he is trying to hold a conversation with Claire, everyone he has called calls him back as well as his nerve-wracked sister, and he is forced to juggle everyone on the phone.

Claire is the last one left on the line, and she and Drew end up talking into the wee hours of the morning when Claire suggests that they meet halfway between Louisville and Elizabethtown to watch the sunrise. There is an instant attraction, which begins to enfold as the big mystery in the movie. Will the two get together?

All the while that Drew is coming to terms with dealing with the people of Elizabethtown, who had adored his father, Claire keeps showing up at the most surprising of moments and giving Drew bits of inspiration to help him through the ordeal, but it is never clear where their relationship is going.

Along the line, she points out that everyone in their life needs to take a road trip, which Drew never has, and as Drew and Claire say goodbye in Elizabethtown, she gives him a clasped box in which she tells him is a map, which he is not to open until he gets into his car to leave.

Once inside, Drew opens the container, and finds that Claire has mapped out for him a mile-by-mile hour-by-hour road trip from Elizabethtown to Oregon complete with special CDs made by her for him to play along the trip.

What ensues his probably the most poignant part of the movie as Drew reunites with his father through fond memories. "We should have taken this trip long ago," he tells his father who sits beside him as ashes in an urn.

It is a coming-of-age time for Drew and the big question is does Drew ever see Claire again and that must be answered by seeing the movie. If you like quirkiness marked by humor and romance and don't mind sitting through a two-hour movie, then Elizabethtown is for you. But be forewarned: it takes time to get to know the characters, but the wait is well worth it.

Friday, May 12, 2006

On the Road to Woodstock -part ten

John and I sat with Linda and Sherry in the front of their tent, and I was stoned as hell. I assumed everyone else was, as well, because everyone had gotten quiet. Pot can be funny like that. It can open the door to the craziest of conversations, or it can make one very quiet, and with Sherry's pot we had all gone from the former to the latter. So it was a good thing that about that time the Woodstock PA system came alive.

I looked at my watch, and it was a little before 10, and as was the case on Saturday the powers that be gave us some morning music to listen to. In between the bands and announcements, they played music over the PA, and this morning they were starting off with a song that I heard a lot on Saturday. At first, I hadn't liked the song. It was a mellow song, with pretty much all acoustic guitars as instruments and the vocals being sung in harmonies a lot. My main music influence was The Beatles, who were known for some pretty mellow stuff, and I liked everything they did. But in 1968, when I discovered Jimi Hendrix, I became a heavy metal fan. In fact, it was in a review of Jimi Hendrix's music that the term "heavy metal" had been coined. The reviewer had said that his music was like, "...heavy metal falling from the sky." Then, by 1969, Led Zeppelin had hit the scene along with other heavy metal groups such as Ten Years After and Johnny Winter, and I liked them quite a bit, as well. So I wasn't the mellow song type unless it came from The Beatles; they could do no wrong.

But this one song, the one from Saturday, was growing on me. So when it came on right then while I was really stoned, it made the moment. That was one really good thing about pot; it made music sound great. Not as good as acid did--listening to music when I was tripping was the ultimate experience--but it was a close runner-up.

So there we were: four stoned out hippie types listening to the music, and it was Linda who broke the silence by expressing my thoughts exactly. "This is a really cool song," she said.

"Yes, it is," John agreed. "Who does it?"

"I don't know," Linda answered. She looked me.

I just shrugged my shoulders.

"It's so melodic," Sherry said. "Don't you think?" She turned and looked me.

"Yeah," I replied. She kind of caught me off guard, and I looked down, but I liked the attention.

We got quiet again, and I focused back on the song. "I like this part coming up," Linda said, and as I listened I knew the part she spoke of. The whole song seemed like several songs combined into one, and the last part was coming up. It was pretty cool when it started. The guitar changed and when the singer started in, he sang in a foreign language. Then it was over.

I sighed. "That's a cool song," I said more to myself than to anyone else, but Sherry looked at me and smiled. And you're a cool girl I would've said to her if I'd had the nerve. But I didn't.

Then came blasting out of the PA system was Country Joe and the Fish doing their very popular song, Fixin'-to-Die-Rag. I had it on 8-track at home--my dad had bought me an 8-track player for my stereo system the previous Christmas--and John and I listened to it a lot. It was the best song on the tape, and, to be honest, the only good song on the tape, but it was really good, so when the chorus came around, John and I slowly started to sing along. He started in first. "Well, it's 1-2-3 what are we fighting for? Don't ask me I don't give a damn." Then I joined in. "Next stop is Vietnam." On the second verse John and I sang more enthusiastically. "And it's 5-6-7 open up the pearly gates. Well there ain't no time to wonder why, whoopee were all going to die." When the chorus came around again, John and I sang it together in its entirety, and when it was over, both Linda and Sherry laughed with a sense of enjoyment. I was surprised at myself. I wasn't one for making public displays. I immediately went back into my usual quiet and reserved mode, and looked down.

"You feel like getting something to eat?" John asked me as if he sensed my being uncomfortable.

"Yes," I said quickly and with relief.

"You girls want to walk up with us?" John asked Linda and Sherry.

"I don't want to walk through all that mud." Linda wiggled her feet. As with Sherry, Linda had on only sneakers, and I could see her point. If I had a hard time keeping my boots on through that mess, I was sure it would suck a shoe right off one's foot. "Besides, we have a couple sandwiches left that we packed," she added.

"Wow, sandwiches," John said. "You all have your shit together."

"It's too bad you got your sleeping bags stolen," Linda said. "I hope the blankets helped."

"Yeah, they worked out great," John said.

"Yes, thank you," I told them.

John stood up and stretched. "Well, me and Johnny Lee are going to go up and get something to eat."

I was sitting cross-legged, and when I went to stretch out my legs to stand up, my right leg wouldn't work.

"What's wrong," John asked. He glanced down at me.

"I think my leg fell asleep." My leg had gone completely numb, which always scared me when my leg fell asleep because I always felt as if I was not going to get my feeling back. I stretched my leg out with my arms, and after a minute the feeling did start to come back, but it was worse than the numbness.

"Ow," I said, and began to rub my leg.

John laughed. "Does it feel like pins and needles?"

"Yeah." It hurt like hell.

"Feels good, doesn't it?" John chuckled a little.

I felt like telling him to fuck off, but I settled with feeling angry with him. Finally, my leg began to feel normal, and I stood up.

"Ready?" John asked.


John turned to Linda and Sherry. "You girls want to go up on the hill and listen to some music later?"

"Sure," Linda said. She looked at Sherry.

Sherry looked at me then John then back at me. "Yeah," she said, and her eyes got big.

"We should be here for a while," Linda said.

"We'll meet you back here," John told them. And with that we were off.

John and I headed for the road, which was not far away, and, crossing it, we hiked back up the hill, and trudged through the mud once more until we got to the concession stands. We had hot dogs for breakfast, while John discussed our present situation with me.

"I think Sherry likes you," John said.

"I don't know," I said. I thought she did, too, but one thing about me was that when I got encouragement about a girl liking me, it made me more self-conscious and harder to act on my feelings.

"I know she does," John said. "I can tell by the way she looks at you. You should try to do something with her. I don't mind taking the fat girl."

John was trying to get me laid. He was surely going to try to make it with Linda. John was like my dad in that respect. Neither one was ever going to let an opportunity to have sex get away from them, even at the expense of a girl's feelings. My dad had told me his own personal philosophy in his perverted version of the birds and the bees: Find 'em, fuck 'em and forget 'em. The way I saw it, if I found ‘em and fucked ‘em, I was sure going to try to keep 'em.

Monday, May 08, 2006

On the Road to Woodstock -part nine

As I made it back towards the tent, I saw that John had lain back down and was sleeping in the shade of a tree. Linda and Sherry were sitting in the sun on the grass in front of their tent, and I tried to make it by without them seeing me, but then I heard Linda's voice call out. "Where ya going, Johnny Lee?" There was laughter in her voice. "Come on over. Don't be a stranger."

I was kind of glad that Linda had called me over. On the one hand, I was shy and didn't know what to do with myself around strangers, especially girls, but then again I didn't really feel like being by myself, either. I was a loner by nature, but that was due to my shyness, and I really did enjoy the company of others once I got to know them. Perhaps this would be a chance for me to get to know Linda and Sherry at least well enough to be able to say more than hi to them, particularly Sherry. As I walked over, I heard them laughing, and I felt uneasy.

When I got to where they were sitting, I saw Linda take a hit off a joint. It had been smoked about halfway down. She was sitting with one leg out and the other leg tucked under it, and Sherry was sitting cross-legged. I sat down with them cross-legged a little farther away than I needed to, and Linda said, "Here," and she leaned forward and handed me the joint. I took a hit and leaned forward and handed it on to Sherry. She glanced at me with a little grin on her face and took the joint.

"And then Larry did that funny little dance of his, remember?" Linda said to Sherry and began to laugh.

Sherry said, "Oh, yeah." She began to giggle, and that seemed to make Linda laugh even harder, and then Sherry started to laugh, too, and they both looked at me and began to slowly stop laughing. I couldn't help but to grin at them, though I had no idea what they had been laughing about.

"Don't Bogart that joint, girl," Linda said to Sherry.

"Oh," Sherry said. She looked at the joint that she held between her fingers and took a hit and then passed it on to Linda. Sherry looked at me, and I still had a grin on my face, and she smiled back coyly. She tilted her head downward a little but then looked back up at me with her eyes. She had these big, brown questioning eyes, and for several moments her gaze captivated me. Then she looked back down and smiled a little.

"Come up closer, Johnny Lee. We won't bite," Linda said to me. I scooted up closer to them, and Linda handed the joint back to me. "We were just talking about this guy we know, weren't we Sherry?" she said to me. I took a hit and handed the joint to Sherry.

Sherry looked me and said, "Oh yeah, Larry." Then she leaned her body back with a big grin on her face and looked at Linda, and they both began to laugh again. I gave a questioning look at the both of them, and that just seemed to make them laugh harder. Finally they settled down, and Sherry took a hit and passed the joint to Linda.

"Larry is this guy we know from high school, and he does this dance when he gets drunk or stoned," Linda explained to me. She paused long enough to take a hit and passed the joint back to me. "And it is really funny," she continued. "You really have to see it." She looked at Sherry and they both laughed again. "Everybody in school knows he's a head, even some of the teachers, and just about everyone's heard of his dance." Linda pulled her other leg up, so that she was sitting cross-legged. "Anyway, there was this one time when we were all getting stoned under the bleachers at lunchtime, and we almost got caught by Mr. Sheridan. He's one of our gym teachers, and I've heard that Mr. Sheridan is always ragging on him in gym class about getting stoned and all." Linda looked at Sherry, and they both giggled. "Anyway, when we saw Mr. Sheridan coming, we got rid of the joint, and were all putting on our best straight faces when Larry started doing his dance. Well, we lost it and started cracking up at Larry, and we thought we were all going to get busted, but it was just Larry that had to go to detention. It was for a week, wasn't it Sherry?" She didn't wait for Sherry to answer. "Yeah, it was a week. And he sure did get ragged on about that one for a while." Linda and Sherry started to laugh again.

I was starting mellow out from the joint. I had a pretty low tolerance for pot, and it didn't take much to get me stoned. I took a hit off the joint, which was getting to be a roach, and handed it to Sherry.

"That sounds pretty funny," I said. I smiled at Linda and Sherry, and they both grinned back at me.

"You really had to be there to appreciate it," Linda said.

"Yeah," Sherry agreed.

"So where are you from, Johnny Lee?" Linda asked me. She stretched her legs out. "You sound Southern."

"Oh that," I said. "My accent." I suddenly felt self-conscious. I had never realized I had a Southern accent until I got to junior high school, and someone there had pointed it out to me. From then on I tried to lose the accent, but it still slipped out sometimes, especially when I got stoned. "My dad is from Texas, and my mom is from Georgia, and I guess I just picked it up from them."

"Well now we know where your parents are from..." Linda let the sentence drag out slowly.

There was a pause. "Oh me," I said suddenly. "I'm from Arlington, Virginia."

"Get out," Linda exclaimed. She gave me an incredulous stare

"Really?" Sherry asked me in a soft voice. She looked at me slack-jawed and wide-eyed.

"Yeah, how come?" I wondered what the big deal was.

"We're from Fairfax, Virginia," Linda said. "Oh, this is too far out," she said to Sherry. Linda gave me the gratified look of one who has run in to a good friend unexpectedly, and Sherry's wide eyes turned to ones of curiosity. Sherry took a hit off the roach, and after handing it back to Linda, she looked back at me.

"Oh wow," I said. I looked down and raised my eyebrows. "What a trip." We were all silent for a moment, and then I asked them, "Um, how’d y'all get up here?" I looked at Sherry then at Linda.

"We took a bus," Linda answered.

"So did me and John," I told them.

"Not Nationwide Charter?" Linda asked me.

"Yeah, Nationwide Charter," I affirmed. "It's my uncle's company."

"Oh, man, this is blowing my mind," Linda said. She looked at Sherry with astonishment on her face.

"Yeah, really," Sherry said. Her eyes had turned wide again.

"Talk about synchronicity," Linda said to no one in particular. She produced an alligator clip from somewhere, and attached the roach to it. She took a hit and handed the alligator clip to me.

"Synchronicity?" I asked. I took a hit and handed it back to Sherry. She took a hit and put it out. She put the alligator clip into a little zippered pouch.

"Yeah, Linda reads all this weird stuff," Sherry said. She leaned over and gave Linda a poke in the ribs with her elbow. "Don't ya, Linda?" She smiled at her.

"No, I don't," Linda said, and she punched Sherry lightly in her leg. "It's philosophy and science." She sounded slightly defensive.

"Well, that Edward Cayce guy is just weird," Sherry said.

"It's Edgar Cayce, and his teachings are very scientific," Linda said adamantly.

"What's synchronicity?" I asked.

"It's Carl Jung," Linda said. "He believed that there was meaning in coincidences."

"And ask her how you spell Jung," Sherry told me.

I looked at Linda, and she rolled her eyes. "J-u-n-g," she spelled out, "but the reason it's pronounced 'yoong,' is because the letter J in German is pronounced like a Y."

For some reason the whole Carl Jung thing was starting to seem ridiculously funny, and I pressed my lips together in an attempt to thwart off a grin. I made the mistake of looking at Sherry for she had this big old grin on her face, and it all became too much for me to hold in. I let out a laugh through pursed lips, which sounded funny in itself, and then Sherry let out a laugh, and before I knew it all three of us were laughing loudly.

John came strolling up along about that time and asked, "What are you all laughing about?" He sounded groggy as if he'd just woke up, which he probably had, and for some reason it seemed to fuel our laughter until we finally wore ourselves out.

"I think it was Carl Jung," Sherry said. She stretched the "yoong" part out, which got us going again but just for a minute.

"John," Linda said, "you're not going to believe how Sherry and I got up here."

"Up where?" John asked.

"Here, silly, Woodstock," she answered. I wondered if she knew John was being a wise-ass.

"How?" he asked. "Walked? That's how me and Johnny Lee got here, right Johnny Lee?"

"Seems like it," I said. And it did.

"We spent a lot more time walking then we did riding," John added.

"You took a bus, right?" Linda asked.

"Yeah, a bus." John scratched the back of his head. "Why, did you come here on a bus, too?"

"Yeah, the same one you two came up on. We're from Fairfax." Linda smiled at him real big.

John squatted down next to us, and he looked at Linda and Sherry. "No shit," he said. This time he was serious. I could tell.

John's entry into the group may have inspired her, but for whatever the reason Sherry pulled out a small baggy of pot and proceeded to roll a joint, which she promptly lit and passed around. Funny, I figured Linda for the one with the pot. Before long, we began talking about how strange it was that we came up on the same bus without knowing it and then meeting each other amongst 500,000 other people.

Linda was either brave enough or stoned enough or a combination of the two to bring up synchronicity and Carl Jung again, which got both Sherry and I laughing, but then John wanted to know more about synchronicity, which Linda seemed more than happy to verbally illustrate. All the while, Sherry and I exchanged discrete little smiles.

I wasn't sure if it was the subject matter, the pot, or all of us being able to share in a laugh, but I know I was feeling a lot better from the funk I'd been in earlier that morning. Of course, when one got right down to it, the biggest reason I was feeling better was that I had gotten to feel more comfortable with Sherry.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

On the Road to Woodstock -part eight

I woke Sunday morning to a beautiful day compared to the shivering cold of Saturday's morn. I looked at my watch, and it was early, a little after seven, and there was still a chill in the air. I stood and wrapped my blanket around my shoulders, and saw that John was still asleep.

For the hour, there seemed to be quite a bit of foot traffic on the road, and I moved closer to watch the people. The rising sun silhouetted their figures, and long shadows moved across the dew-covered grass where I stood. My boots were slightly wet from the dew, and the air was slightly acrid with the smell of rotting food.

I was startled by a figure moving up beside me, and then I saw it was Sherry. We exchanged glances, and she gave me the shyest of smiles. I tried to return it, but my mouth muscles wouldn't work.

I looked down at my boots and cast furtive looks at Sherry. She wore blue sneakers that were darkened where the dew had wet them and a pair of light gray slacks with dark gray pinstripes that were worn through and wet at the knees. She had on a brown sweater that came down to where her hips began to swell outwards, and she played nervously with her hands. I chanced a glance at her face, and she was looking down a little with a melancholy look and where the morning sun hit her hair, it turned it all golden and angel-like. She was very pretty.

Sherry and I stood there in silence, and all the while I was thinking she was waiting for me to say something, but nothing would come. I was much too shy. She was older than me, probably 17 or 18, which put me more at a loss, but she could have been an eight-year-old girl, and I still would have clammed up. I was that shy.

After a couple of minutes, she turned back towards the tent, and I felt like I had failed her. After a moment, I heard John's voice. "Hi," he said. I turned, and saw that he was greeting Sherry. I felt I was a failure when it came to girls. I was okay once the initial moves were made --I could kiss for hours--but I was hopeless when it came to making the first move.

"Hi," she replied to John. She didn't sound exactly chipper, but there was a little bit of a smile in her voice. He was still lying on the ground with his blanket wrapped around him, and he was rubbing his eyes. Just then, Linda crawled out of the tent. I saw she and Sherry exchange looks, and some sort of communication took place between the two of them, and I imagined it had something to do with me for Linda gave me a quick look that I could not place.

John and Linda said something to each other, and then Linda waved for me to join them. I kind of sauntered back not being in any particular hurry to be amongst the girls, but I ended up there in spite of myself.

"Hi, Johnny Lee," Linda said, and she sounded chipper. I was embarrassed of the name Johnny Lee, but I guess I was in the same predicament that I was in with my family, there being two Johns and all.

Linda had a bright smile on her face, and though she was a bit heavy, she was cute and had big boobs that bounced when she moved, and it was not an unpleasant site. Sherry, on the other hand, was slim by comparison and not big in the boobs department, but she looked quite alright to me. I just wished that I could get up the nerve to talk to her. She seemed friendly enough, but I could tell that she was shy and waiting for me to make a gesture that I liked her: a hello, a smile, anything. But, much as I wanted to, I was not forthcoming.

"Hi," I replied back to Linda. Her smile made me smile, which made me feel both good and bad, and I looked down not sure what to think. It felt good to smile at Linda. Hell, it felt good to smile, period. It was only the second time I'd smiled since John and I had gotten here, but I felt guilty at not being able to smile at Sherry.

I looked up at Sherry, and she looked over at me, as if she felt my glance. My first instinct was to look away, but our eyes locked together, and in that brief moment before I broke it off she seemed that she was lonely and wanted companionship, and I would have loved to have given it to her.

Besides having Sherry on my mind, I was beginning to worry about how John and I were going to get back home. Were the busses going to come back for us? Were we going to be on our own to get back home? I thought of calling the bus company in DC that had brought us up. It was my uncle's company, and I was sure that they would accept a collect call, but there were long lines at the phone booths, and there was still another day and night left of the concert, so I tried to push those worries away for the moment.

I began thinking of Sherry again and our age difference, and that put me in mind of one of Chris's friends, Nancy, that I had had a brief thing with during the beginning of the summer. She had just broken up with her boyfriend and just wanted a warm body to cuddle with and kiss, but I didn't mind. I was still feeling pretty bad about being dumped myself. Besides, she didn't seem to mind making the first move into the kissing stage, which worked out well for me.

Both she and Chris were the same age, 17, so it wasn't like I hadn't been with an older girl before, and Sherry even looked a bit like Nancy. They both had blond hair and big noses, though Nancy's nose was bigger by far. Sherry's nose was just on the large size, but Nancy's nose bordered on being a beak. I had a thing for big noses, though. I had a crush on Barbra Streisand, and she really did it for me, big nose and all.

I noticed that everyone seemed to be busy, so I slipped away to be by myself for a while. I went up to the road where everyone was walking, and fell in along with the people going down away from where John and I had first come in from the main road. It was an interesting mixture of people I passed coming the other way. It was mostly a younger crowd in varying stages of hippie dress, as with those I had seen the day before when I had walked among the tents. I saw girl wearing nothing but bib overalls, which showed a lot but not everything. Her breasts were covered, but when I shot her a quick look at her sideways as she passed me, I could see the edge of her boob through the edge of her overalls, and I could feel myself getting aroused. It was the most I had ever seen of a real naked breast.

After my head stopped spinning, I noticed a guy with longish hair with an army jacket on who had a peace sign painted on his forehead. And then there was a girl with a flower painted on each cheek in Day-Glo colors, and her long jet-black hair framed her face making the colors of the flowers seem all the more vibrant. Several girls had flowers in their hair, and more girls had long hair than short, and by short I mean shoulder-length short, not some Twiggy shit.

I kept pace with a couple that was walking in front of me. The guy had a backpack on that looked army surplus. It was stuffed pretty full, and he was bent over forward to counterbalance the weight. The girl was carrying a sleeping bag under her arm, and I wondered what their story was. Were they just getting here, or had they pulled up stakes and either leaving or looking for another place to camp?

Along the way, I passed a path that I recognized from when John and I had used it the day before to get from the stage to the trailer that I had thought was the first aid center. That was right when Santana had started playing.

I looked at my watch, and was surprised to see that it was after eight o'clock already. The sun had risen higher in the sky, and the shadows had shortened accordingly, and I figured it was time to get back. I made a U-turn into the path people walking the other way and began my trek back to the tent.

It was warming up a bit, and I felt as if I could do without the blanket around my shoulders, so I took it off and carried it on my side. I was overwhelmed by the amount of people that were here. Most of the people on the hill stayed on the hill, and this was a huge hill--I mean crater huge --and it was seemingly solid with people. This was not counting the people who did not stay on the hill overnight, people who had camped out, and that was a hell of a lot of people just by themselves.

A half-million in all was the latest count, and nothing like this had ever happened before. On Saturday, the stage announcer updated us from time to time by on various subjects and we soon learned that Woodstock was making national news. We were the third largest city by population in New York, we were told. We were making history, they said, but I was just surviving.
Website Hit Counters
Free Hit Counter