The Man On The Mountain, An Ann Carr Challenge
Life is Just Fine
Getting Acquainted With Being On The Road
1972, My elder brother was dodging the draft with our honorary cousin Scott. Badass motorcycles near Berlin way before the wall came down. We tried to catch them on the communist side but they were arrested and in Moscow. My sisters and I were doing Europe on five bucks a day. Addy and Laura. I was just 14 but only along because anywhere you went in those days a man still held sway. Hell it worked so no arguments here. Except for those Italiano workers near the Colosium – but that is another story.
I come from a small town about 150 miles from a large town. It sits at 7,000 feet. And I had studied Castilian Spanish in school and German was often spoken in my home. Italian was what I had studied on my own. My sisters were fluent in German.
My African American buddies seemed set on losing the Cajun accent, but I embraced and therefor some French. We were set. Until I met a Black man speaking Cockney. It was absolutely strange to me. But please remember this for later.
We landed at Heathrow and were set to spend some cash on the Underground to get us about 5 blocks from Piccadilly at a bed and breakfast type place. Our first of several splurges on our trip with our Eurail passes.
Did I mention that my passport had my age xxx7 they did not cross the 7 in those days on US Passports so I was twenty at 5’11 and a mustache. Bars and girls opened up for me like a candy shop for an 8 year old. Do not get me wrong. I started young as the youngest of 6. That many kids and mom let my sisters raise me. And I already worked out and had pecks the size of your throat. Football and skiing, Ok, soccer and wrestling and basketball. My thighs were larger in circumference than my tummy. Mom thought I was a freak.
No big deal as I had already been fighting Navajos who thought fighting and bleeding was fun.
Here is a cool one about coal. Back in them there days women wore nylons. Really nylon panty hose. We ate a cheese and jam and croissant breakfast with awesome black tea with milk. So English and so good. Not a thing like it back home Wacka Wacka I was already adapting. Forget jet lag we were all in baby.
We stepped out the door and all the sudden there was a like ping ping sound. The acid rain made my sisters nylons frazzle and bust. In the early 70’s London had so much coal burning Acid Rain that it melted the nylons. Welcome to the UK.
The palace and the gardens made us happy.
But it was out to South Sussex the next day.
Maybe I did not sing quite right to this song. But my danged sisters made me lead.
From Paris to Saigon
A long Tale
Same Cockney talking Rail way ramp way dude. And out of Victoria Station we headed south. Sorry but I do not like cities so much. My sister assured me that where we headed was far finer than Dover which we later did see on our ferry to France. We were half way there when an ID was required. Mine was missing, so I jumped the train and caught the next one back to Victoria station when the black cockney man had my passport some 10$ and I was back on my way to Sussex station. There is no doubt the man had copped it. I could of taken him with an elbow to his nose and a kick to his groin. I am a dog fighter and have not lost a brawl since 1972. My five broken noses attest. I have always loved a fight. But not so smart in London as a child. My sisters had warned me.
What the heck I woke up in a back water town in South Sussex. I grabbed my bag and just took a 5 hour nap right next to the station. Now that bag was not a knapsack. It was a full on 50 pound backpack. It held my life in it. My sisters found me on the train platform and off into the day we went. Foggy and rainy the day was. My sister chatted up a Lory driver and he took us all the way to our Long Man of Wilmington situated on the South Downs destination. My sister Addy and I were kind of wondering what the heck we were doing there. We were headed to Edenborough next and that was far away in the other direction. What had our sister gotten us into?
Late night and we just hid behind some bush rolled out bedrolls and slept until the land owner rousted us from our slumber with two Wolfhounds, God they were huge. Quite fun really has he herded us like sheep back to his cottage and his fine lady made a fuss of us with showers and a healthy porridge. I think they liked my wool lined denim jacket and Stetson cowboy hat. We swapped for a Chapeau. I had arrived. Laura busted out her guitar and we sang songs like Johnny Boy, Green Tambourine, Blowin in The Wind and Sweet Violets. My eldest the lead Addy the harmony and me a base baritone holding beat to my sister’s 8 string. Or me the verbal drums, Addy the sweet angel and Laura to break any man’s heart or maybe just melt it.
A horse drawn wagon ride was offered but my eldest sister would have none of it. They settled on a map, including what land owners were harsh and off we went in the dew and fog that were nearly the same. My goodness gracious it was green or white with no in-between.
My old Basque leather hiking boots did well but my sister soon grew weary as their shoes were drenched and we all seemed to get swamp butt.
And there we were my eldest sister redeemed. A Navajo Indian white sculpture on the side of a mountain. OK and alright that was just my point of reference. For sure it was from the same group that did Stone Hedge. But then again wrong.
I am near 50 years older now and am quite sure that the sculpture is mystical and laid by a constant sorrow, of years gone by. What the heck was it that made me morose when I saw it? Why did I not just stand in awe.
The answer is now blowing in the wind. For my sister turned over a few stones thereby and they had Celtic writing and were clearly grave stones knocked over. We had violated sacred ground and their God’s knew it. But we did so in reverence and to this day all our lives are blessed.
Be careful what stone you turn.