The Debtors

Twang

Big 5-0

ESSAY

FICTION

TRAVEL

ARTS

GALLERY

 

ESSAY

 

 

 

Big 5-0

 

5. 0. Fifty. Five. Zero. That can’t be right.

 

We’ll be hearing that a lot in the coming years. Actually, you may be saying it to yourself already. It’s been 50 years since you graduated (hopefully) from high school. People used to stay married that long. It’s half a century. Five decades. A lotta years.

 

If they were the best years of your life, then there’s a lot to look back on. If they were the worst years of your life, it’s easy to forget them. Some boomers are finding it easy to dive into this big, steaming bowl of nostalgia. Others would rather stay close to shore, watching from a distance but not diving into the reveries.

 

It’s easy to remember those high school years as carefree, but that’s only because we were able to ignore the history that was happening all around us. The Cuban missile crisis, school desegregation, assassinations, civil rights marches, urban riots, and the war in Vietnam marked the first half of the 1960s but I suspect most boomers in high school still did not understand just how scary the world could/would be. Our teachers, parents and relatives probably tried to tell us and pass on their wisdom honed from years of experience – but why would we be listening to old people? We knew everything.

 

Here we are 50 years later, and just as we redefined what it meant to be a baby boom teenager, now we are redefining what it means to be old, or make that older. Who is old? When should we stop working? Why should we stop working? Who are we to tell Mick Jagger, that’s enough? If you stop and think about the fact that we’re living longer and working longer than our parents, the 50 year thing begins to look more like a glass half-full or half-empty proposition.

 

I think it’s great that boomers are getting all reflective about those high school years, but as we like to remind you on our masthead, your whole life’s in front of you. You can spend some quality time looking back, but I’d rather work on making some quality time in the years ahead.

 

Oh, and one other thing. We will never look as good as we did in 1965.


Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

 

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FICTION

 

 

The Debtors

 

Ned and Carol, where are you? The reason I ask is that we keep getting calls for you. It’s been five years since we moved here and signed up for landline phone service. They gave us a number that must have once belonged to you.

 

But you two – you little imps – you two must have run up some mighty big debts, because not a day goes by that we don’t get a call from a collection service looking for you kids.

 

“If you are Ned Street or you know how we might locate Ned Street, please call yada-yada-yada.”

 

Now, when I see the collection agency name come up on caller ID, I pick up the call for two seconds and then disconnect. They are such wearisome calls after five years of hearing the same recorded message. And if I were Ned, would I really call the number for the collection agency? I hardly think so.

 

And not just one collection service is looking for you. There are several that would be interested in knowing your whereabouts. You and Carol must have racked up some serious debt. I imagine that it all started with some profligate spending on the credit cards and perhaps some gambling. The next thing you knew, it spiraled into a second mortgage and then maybe foreclosure on the house. The banks must have come after you too, but by then you and Carol had split town. Speaking of splitting, my guess is that the stress of your indebtedness drove a wedge between you and Carol, and the marriage folded. I could be wrong, but it seems unlikely that a marriage could survive the such a tremendous fall so far down the rabbit hole. I imagine you’ve gone your separate ways and tried to disappear into the cracks somewhere new, but it must be hard to try to rebuild a decent credit history with the collectors breathing down your neck.

 

I don’t know when the calls will stop. Maybe never. You would think the statue of patience limitations would have run out after five years, but hope springs eternal in the collection biz. I guess my own hope that the calls would finally stop demonstrates that I too have unrealistic expectations. Anyway, Ned and Carol, I hope you’ve landed on your feet somehow and find a way to rebuild your lives. If you’re ever feeling nostalgic, call your old phone number and let us know how you’re doing.


Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

 

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TRAVEL

 

 

Canyon Rocks

 

Rock N’ Roll provided an early opportunity to become a home owner for me. My first casa was an older two story doll house in Laurel Canyon, in the Hollywood hills. I have stories…but I digress.

 

Down at the bottom of the Canyon right on Laurel Canyon Boulevard where I would turn up to my street was the now famous and historical Canyon Country Store. It was rather magical even then -- the makeshift cultural center of Laurel Canyon for a full century. Immortalized in the Doors song “Love Street,” this deli-market is not a venue, but it’s got historical music importance to spare, and continues to be – as my long ago deceased friend Jim Morrison put it – the “store where the creatures meet.”

 

Now here we are, The Calypso Couple, these MANY years later living at the bottom of Mexico, and we have such a store right here. Calling it magical may be a bit over the top, but the fact that I am able to put the two places together in my head is good enough.

 

This “canyon” store is in the flatlands far beyond the beach and in the heart of housing; casas built property line to property line. The lyrics from one of my Laurel Canyon neighbors swirls around in my noggin “They paved paradise to put up a parking lot with a pink hotel… oooh bop bop bop – Joni Mitchell’s ‘Yellow Taxi’” Our little ‘country’ store here in Puerto has incense, homemade cheese and handmade soap among other same products.  It is the closest thing to hippie that you will get here in terms of commerce.

 

Our new red scooter makes us more adventurous in that we can usually scoot around or at least to the front of any line of traffic. Of course we can always find a place to park. So in spite of safety concerns on this day we ventured out to get the best baked bread, bar none, in Puerto. This would be at Señor Salud’s little ‘country’ store over in the west end of town. Located in a colonia (fraccionamiento) called “Costa Chica”.

 

Señor Salud carries nuts, cheese; coffee; natural tooth paste, soap mosquito repellant; homemade pasta, homemade bread and more. Placing our safety aside we go for the bread.

 

The owners are a charming couple. He, best guess is Italian, and she Mexican. It is a friendly zone (as is most of Puerto) and welcome by we gringos that are made to feel a little more like home with the many healthy items and food available there. It is highly recommended. If you have any Doors tunes slide one into your player in front of Senor Saluds – it might just magically take you back to a better time. PEACE.


John Calypso lives outside Veracruz, Mexico, as well as Puerto Escondido. Back in the 60s, he was a very hip guy living in Hollywood and rubbing shoulders with Beatles and Monkees. Read lots more in his blog, Viva Veracruz and Viva Puerto Escondido.

 

 

 

 

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ARTS

 

 

Guitars, Biscuit Cans, and Champagne

 

Restringing my guitars has always been my least favorite thing about being a guitarist, especially when the guitar is a 12-string. It's not only time-consuming, it's stressful. It can even be dangerous. On my personal anxietyometer it scores even higher than opening a biscuit can or a bottle of champagne.

 

You know. Those biscuit cans by Pilsbury. The ones that require you to peel the paper label off and you never know when the cardboard can is going to pop open. Sometimes they do, if the pressure is higher than usual, and sometimes they don't and you have to press the edge of a spoon into the seam to force it open. Used to be, they never opened until you banged the can on the edge of the kitchen counter, but these days nothing's consistent.

 

Champagne bottles are the same. Most corks won't pop out until you twist the bottle a bit. (I learned the trick to perfect bottle openage from a pro years ago: tilt the bottle 45 degrees, cover the top with a cotton dish towel and twist the bottle, not the cork, slowly, and gently ease it out, allowing the pressure to escape a little at a time, thus, no spewing, no waste, no mess.) But sometimes, the cork will go flying the second you loosen the bale. I've seen this happen any number of times—the ceiling of our house on James Place probably still bears the mark of one cork and on another occasion I saw a friend receive a black eye from one. And on her birthday no less.

 

Life is dangerous, people. Shit happens.

 

Yesterday, I got a new set of Martin Silk & Steels for my Luna 12-string. It being my first time to restring this beauty, I had no idea what to expect. The scariest string is the 6th string—the octave G, which is actually just an E tuned up to either F, or, in my case, G. That's a lot of pressure to put on the most delicate string of the 12. I can't count how many times in the past, on other guitars, this string has snapped while I tuned it up. I used to buy an extra just in case, but this being a high-quality, custom instrument, I exercised a little faith.

 

They all went on great and they all tuned up smoothly with little to no slipping beneath the pegs, but to be safe I decided to tune it to D and let it sit overnight before taking it on up to E. Because of the superior truss rod in the neck of this guitar and the fact that the strings I bought are light gauge, I don't foresee any problems. Luna makes excellent instruments. Pilsbury, as well as a couple of champagne labels, could take a few lessons.


Steph Waller is an author and composer. Books One and Two (With A Dream and With A Bullet) of her rock and roll series, Beyond The Bridge,  takes places in late 70s London. Read more at Incurable Insomniac and StephWaller.com.

 

 

 

 

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GALLERY

 

10 - 10<>

 

 

Wayne Karberg lives in Laramie, Wyoming where he hikes the prairies and captures some amazing landscape images. See more of his photos on flickr.

 

 

 

 

 

Links of Interest to Boomers Going Like Sixty Baby Boomer Daily Curmudgeon Viva Veracruz  MidLifeBloggers Dating Dementia Polly-Vous Francais