Long May You Run

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(This piece is intended to be read while listening to the attached song “Long May You Run).

All those late nights driving in my truck, driving to your place and feeling everything—-, never questioning what the journey might bring, or for that matter, where it may lead.  Strange but true, being young allowed me to make mistakes, cause there was plenty of time to make things right again. These days, I choose my mistakes more carefully. That old song kept playing on the tape deck, “I Believe In You”—Or maybe it was “Out On the Weekend” or “Long May You Run” I kinda forget, but it was something by Neil Young.   I can still hear that sad harmonica of his wobbling in and out of tune.  It rained that whole month of January, a cold dampness permeated my clothes, the cab of my truck and it eventually soaked the roof of my soul, causing it to cave in from the weight of it all.  I needed a friend, but I hadn’t yet learned the subtleties of making a friend.   I was awkward, odd and shy, skulking about my hometown—aimlessly—-in a state of waiting, not knowing what to make of this life I’d unexplainably been pushed into.

A world of strangers meandered by me, through me—and then back out the other-side—they kept moving somewhere beyond me—without me.

The pretty girls we’re a strange and confusing breed for me to grasp. I stood on the corner leering at them, fascinated yet unsure of what to do—or how to get with one of them?  They drew me in with their sweet scent—-my eyes trailed after them as their bodies gracefully and rhythmically moved through space.  They nonchalantly carried away little pieces of me—

Before this, my dog was my only friend.  He took me just the way I was—like only homeless mongrels and fellow outcast can do—it’s an off-handed world when you’re walking through it alone.

I hurried through the school quad trying to keep a safe distance from the jocks, preppies, motor-heads and the brainy-acts.  With my head held down, I glanced over to the senior walk and there you were stretched out on the lawn, tan Dickies, white T shirt with one pocket and your hair pulled pack in a pony tail.  You were just sitting there with your head tilted back soaking up the sun on your face.  You we’re totally out of place, a fucking dandelion on the fifty yard line at a Home Coming football game—-I somehow knew we were destined to be the best of friends.

I was drawn to your indifference to all the bullshit that coats high school with pretension and posturing.  It was totally out of my character but I walked up to you and mumbled, “Hey”. You squinted and tilted your head in the other direction and nodded at me.  I’d noticed that your pants had dirt or mud all over them.  “How come you’ve got mud all over your pants?”  “I’m a potter.”  “Ya mean a stoner?”  You shook your head and gave me a grin “No, I do ceramic’s, I make pots—-And well—-yeah, I get stoned too.”  I grinned back at ya—, the Gods had sent me a friend.

We’d cruise the avenues, boulevards and backroads of our hometown in his 1962 Ford Falcon wagon.  It was a faded olive green color with peeling paint that revealed an oxidized rusty orange color beneath—she was weathered and worn—she had character and suited us well.  We drank beer in dark deserted parks, made campfires down at the river-bottoms and practiced the art of hanging-out.  We carried on long involved conversations about Kerouac, Jesus and Star Trek—Oscar Peterson, Poe and Zap Comic’s—Chinese Food, Luis and Clark, and the yet uncharted territories of love.  We were committed to our dreams—carrying on our discussions until late in the night, planning extravagant adventures to foreign lands—-the mountains we’d ski, the rivers we’d raft and the challenges we’d conquer.  We we’re on fire for everything and for everybody, talking a million miles a minute—speaking with confidence as we bolstered one another’s courage, or maybe it was just youthful bravado —-no topics were off limits—-honesty and authenticity were the dues paid for membership in our exclusive club.  Our talks always led back-around to that same enigmatic topic—Girls, those illusive creatures that mesmerized, mystified and mortified us—-some things never change.

We fancied ourselves Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty from “On The Road” but by the reactions of the girls we tried to impress, we were perceived more as Beavis and Butt Head—-, to be mocked as Thelma and Louise would have been an improvement.

We had our deep philosophical talks but it was our humor that sustained us, we laughed at ourselves and the state of the world, we were immortal, all things were fixable—-time was on our side (A Rolling Stones reference)…

Some things change and some things stay the same.  In many ways I am still that awkward, odd and shy dude from years past—-a pariah to the mainstream. But these days I’m comfortable in my own skin,—beneath my chipped paint and fading color beats a youthful heart–an idealist to some, a fool to most—-but I like it that way—Juck-em—if they can’t take a foke—hahaha!

How are you my old friend, my potter and fellow romantic?  I remember it all fondly, as if it were just yesterday—and for a moment I’m ridding shotgun as you drive us down some dirt-road out in the boondocks, we’ve got a six pack of beer and much to discuss—-Neil’s voice sings his high pitched lonesome song in the background—-and once again, you bring a grin to my face.

Dedicated to my life long brother, Norman.

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