Tripping on Peyote

I had done magic mushrooms before, capped my own chocolate mescaline and dropped acid a few times, so when my friend offered me some peyote buttons, I said, “Hell yes”.  I didn’t know all that much about peyote and I had heard that it grew out of cow shit and that it came from Mexico.  I was aware that the Aztecs dried the buttons and gave them to their warriors so they could become better fighters.  I wasn’t all that wild about eating something that grew out of cow dung and I also heard that most people get sick and end up puking after eating them.  My friend told me that the buttons grow on top of the peyote cactus, so I would not be eating something that sprung up from cow dung and this was more like eating the fruit of a plant.

Ed was sort of an expert on drugs and he said that it was more likely that these cactus plants sprung up after a heard of buffalo was grazing in the area.  Indian tribes followed the buffalo and they started using these plants in their spiritual ceremonies to obtain pleasant feelings.  They would eat the buttons inside of a tipi during a sweating ceremony where they would commune with the creator and try to live in harmony with the earth.  Different tribes developed their own music using gourd rattles, drums and chanting and all of this purified their bodies.  Peyote was also used to treat snakebites, burns, wounds, toothaches, fever, scorpion stings, and arrow wounds.  Ed told me that if we each ate a little bit at a time, that would reduce the chance of either of us getting sick.

Ed said that the chocolate mescaline that he sold me was actually dried and ground up peyote buttons that were covered with chocolate powder to make them taste better by covering the bitter flavor, which I did not know.  I always liked mescaline better than dropping acid, because I was never was able to talk when I was tripping on that stuff.  We ate some buttons in Ed’s car as we drove up to the Poconos to go camping and after we consumed them Ed said that this was going to be fun and he popped the Doors album L.A. Woman into his cassette player.  Ed repeated a famous line from Aldous Huxley where he once said, “The man who comes back through the Door in the Wall will never quite be the same as the man who went out.”  I responded with, “Nothing is certain in life except man’s ability to fail” and I knew that we were well on our way to a deep philosophical discussion.

Written for Linda G. Hill’s ‘Life in progress’ JusJoJan January prompt of button.

Well Water

A breakdown in domestic water supply caused the town leaders to consider new alternatives and they made an appointment to talk with the well water sales engineer today.  When Mr. Jones arrived, they asked him what type of guarantee they would get for their money, if they decided to invest in this well water system technology.  Mr. Jones said that he would need a retainer to do a study and depending on what information came from that, then he could give them an estimate.  Mr. Jones told them, “Since you can’t see ground water, we have hydrologists on staff that utilize scientific methods to find water, but this can be a crap shoot and sometimes your neighbor may have water and you won’t.  We will have some test holes drilled and check our records that we have acquired for all the holes that were drilled in this area and that should give us something to go on.”

The mayor spoke up and said, “How much of a retainer do you require to get started and instead of equivocating the issue, tell us the chances on a scale of 1 to 10 that you will be able to hit pay dirt or us hitting rock bottom and this project becomes a money pit that runs us completely dry.  Ten would match up with us having to pay a minimal amount of money and would yield a vast water supply that would last us for years to come and one on this scale will have you run out of here on a rail.”  Mr. Jones replied. “Do you want me to calculate the cost of water treatment, just in case there may have containments present?”  The mayor said, “Yes of course”!  Mr. Jones said, “Well in that case, I am going to need a retainer and you can make the check out to the We Dig Wells company.

Written for FOWC with Fandango – Instead, for Linda G. Hill’s ‘Life in progress’ JusJoJan January prompt – Neighbor, and for Reena’s Exploration Challenge #168 – A breakdown in domestic water supply.

Sing No More

The Grateful Dead recorded 13 studio albums, well 15 if you count the solo albums Garcia and Ace and most critics consider their 1980 Go To Heaven as the worst, followed by the 1978 Shakedown Street.  Coming in at third-to-last is Built To Last from 1989, although I have seen this ranked as their worst studio album on some lists, with critics saying that they were they were clearly out of steam as a studio band by the time this record was cut.  Brent Mydland was the keyboardist on the last three studio albums, the 1987 In The Dark, Go To Heaven and Built To Last and many people felt his style was not a good match for the group, anyway Built To Last would prove to be the band’s final studio record.  A lot of people jumped on the Grateful Dead bandwagon after the success of ‘Touch of Grey’ which cracked the Top Ten and brought the group int Mainstream America, but when they started work on their last album, the band stepped into the studio unprepared on the new songs.  Built to Last became a disappointing end to the band’s admittedly inconsistent studio career, as the Grateful Dead were definitely a much better live band.  Following Built to Last and Mydland’s death, the band would enter their final lineup adding Vince Welnick and Bruce Hornsby on keys.  The Grateful Dead would spend the next five years touring and never released another studio work.

On the Built to Last album the title track song is ‘Built To Last’, which was written by Hunter and Garcia and sung by Jerry.  It is kind of rare as the Dead only played it 18 times in concert and there is not much written about this song, but I like Jerry’s voice and Robert Hunter came up with some good lyrics as always.  The song is about healing, hope, reconciliation, and reflecting on your life knowing that the past can’t be changed.  The first chorus contains the line, “Three blue stars rise on the hill”, which is most likely a reference to Alnitak, Alnilam, and Mintaka the bright bluish stars which are known as Orion’s Belt, and these three blue supergiant stars are hotter and much more massive than the Sun.  I am not sure about the rest of this chorus, “Sing no more now just be still, All these trials soon be past, Look for something built to last”, but I am certain that it is not about Donald Trump, as he was only built to be a one term president, that is if he makes it that far.

Hunter gets back to nature for the next verse with, “A wind held by the collar, Yes, a cloud held by the breeze, You can walk on coals of fire, But sometimes you must freeze”.  Many of the lyrics seem relevant to what is going on in politics today, “There are times when you offend me, And I do the same to you, If we can’t or won’t forget it, I guess we could be through”, as Republicans are asking Democrats to ignore Trump’s crimes and they want him held accountable.  This song calls out for things that are built to last, like time itself, sunshine and darkness while years roll by, or something built to try, like the concept of democracy.

Another verse, “There are times when you get hit upon, Try hard but you can’t give, Other times you’d gladly part, With what you need to live”, is also very poignant although I have never been hit upon, but I am sure that happens a lot to hot girls.  People with stubbornness will try hard but never give and I am extremely inflexible on some issues.  When Fandango was running out of toilet paper last March, as I was all stocked up from shopping at BJ’s before the pandemic and I was willing to send him some, gladly parting with a necessity to help out my good friend.  There is a lot of wisdom contained in these lyrics, “Don’t waste your breath to save your face, When you have done your best, And even more is asked of you, Fate will decide the rest”, as nobody knows exactly what the future holds and therefor you shouldn’t worry about tomorrow.  In Chorus 3 we have, “All the stars are gone but one, Morning breaks here comes the sun, Cross the sky now sinking fast, Show me something built to last”, which I think means that time is a series of events which marches on and everyone should get with the program.

There are times when you can beckon,
There are times when you must call.
You can take a lot of reckoning,
But you can’t take it all.

There are times when I can help you out,
And times when you must fall.
There are times when you must live in doubt
And I can’t help at all.

Chorus 1
Three blue stars rise on the hill
Sing no more now just be still
All these trials soon be past
Look for something built to last

A wind held by the collar,
Yes, a cloud held by the breeze
You can walk on coals of fire
But sometimes you must freeze

There are times when you offend me
And I do the same to you
If we can’t or won’t forget it
I guess we could be through

Chorus 2
One blue star sets on the hill
Call it back you never will
One more star sinks in the past
Show me something built to last

Built to last till time itself falls tumbling from the wall
Built to last till sunshine fails and darkness moves on all
Built to last while years roll past like cloudscapes in the sky
Show me something built to last or something built to try

There are times when you get hit upon
Try hard but you can’t give
Other times you’d gladly part
With what you need to live

Don’t waste your breath to save your face
When you have done your best
And even more is asked of you
Fate will decide the rest

Chorus 3
All the stars are gone but one
Morning breaks here comes the sun
Cross the sky now sinking fast
Show me something built to last

[etc through choruses again]

Written for FOWC with Fandango – Series and for Linda G. Hill’s ‘Life in progress’ JusJoJan January prompt – Sing.

I Got a Letter This Morning

‘Death Letter’ or ‘Death Letter Blues’ is the signature song of the Delta blues musician Son House.  In the days before telephones, the internet and email, a written letter would alert you to a tragedy that might turn your world upside down, and this song deals with the sudden upheaval, mental and spiritual shock involved in an unexpected tragic loss.  This song ‘Death Letter Blues’ was recorded in 1965 after House was rediscovered in New York, having abandoned the music business decades earlier and many people feel that it is structured upon House’s earlier recording ‘My Black Mama, Part 2’ where he sings about a troubled romantic relationship that ends when his lover, or his “Black Mama” is dead.  This was recorded 35 years earlier in 1930 and it is a 12-bar blues, that features his slow, pumping, throbbing, ascending bottleneck guitar riffs, and his dark, brooding, intense and raw vocal, making this a country blues masterpiece.

House sang this song with different combinations of more than a dozen verses, so you may hear it being vastly differently depending on the recording that you are listening to.  Eddie James “Son” House, Jr. (March 21, 1902 – October 19, 1988) near Clarksdale, Mississippi was an American blues singer and guitarist, noted for his highly emotional style of singing and slide guitar playing.  This song was featured on the 2003 box set Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues: A Musical Journey, which was the soundtrack for the Martin Scorsese PBS documentary series The Blues.

In this song, a man gets a letter telling him that the woman who he loved is dead and that he should hurry to the mortuary to identify the body, or maybe they want him to pay for the burial.  He packs up his suitcase and heads down the road and he sees her laying on the cooling board (a wooden plank that has ice packed under it that is used for laying out a corpse so it could be prepared for burial) and this is when the reality of death fully sinks in on him.  He looks her right in the face and he is willing to accept that she passed on, but I think that this girl must have cheated on him, because he feels that she needs to be judged for her sins.  The girl must have been very popular, as when he gets to the cemetery, there are 10,000 people there.  He is a spiritual man, so he talks to the Lord and says that he would never hurt anybody.  He says his last goodbye to his honey and tells her that he will see her on Judgement Day.

He goes to his room and plays his guitar to feel better, but when the sun goes down, he starts to miss her.  The big reveal comes in this next line that shows he is a jealous man when he says, “I said now if you don’t have me, I didn’t want you to have nobody else”, and your guess is as good as mine about whether or not he had anything to do with her death.  He goes on about it being hard to love somebody and not getting any satisfaction when you are not loved in return.  The next morning, he wakes up hugging the pillow where she used to lay, making an unsuccessful attempt to regain a lost connection that he had with his lover.  He is restless, so he puts on his shoes and goes for a walk.  He is very distraught, still crying and he wants to change his life.  He thinks that he hears her calling his name and maybe that is because he is feeling guilty about her being gone.  The song ends with him appearing to be have a conversation with her and maybe he is talking to her ghost.

Jerry Garcia played this song ‘Death Letter Blues’ once with much shorter lyrics, on 30 October 1968, in a show billed as Mickey and the Hartbeats.  By the summer of 1968, Bob Weir and Pigpen didn’t seem to be on the same page with the rest of the members of the Grateful Dead and they became frustrated, because their inabilities to improvise coherently made the others feel that they were holding back the rest of the group.  They weren’t actually fired, as the other members just wanted them to step it up a little bit.

I got a letter this mornin’, how do you reckon it read?
It said, hurry, hurry, yeah, your love is dead
I got a letter this mornin, I say how do you reckon it read?
You know, it said, hurry, hurry, how come the gal you love is dead?

So, I grabbed up my suitcase, and took off down the road
When I got there she was layin’ on a coolin’ board
I grabbed up my suitcase, and I said and I took off down the road
I said, but when I got there she was already layin on a coolin’ board

Well, I walked up right close, looked down in her face
Said, the good ol’ gal got to lay here ‘til the Judgment Day
I walked up right close, and I said I looked down in her face
I said the good ol’ gal, she got to lay here ‘til the Judgment Day

Looked like there was 10,000 people standin’ round the buryin’ ground
I didn’t know I loved her ‘til they laid her down
Looked like ten thousand were standin’ round the buryin’ ground
You know I didn’t know I loved her ‘til they damn laid her down

Lord, have mercy on my wicked soul
I wouldn’t mistreat you baby, for my weight in gold
I said, Lord, have mercy on my wicked soul
You know I wouldn’t mistreat nobody, baby, not for my weight in gold

Well, I folded up my arms and I slowly walked away
I said, farewell honey, I’ll see you on Judgment Day
Ah, yeah, oh, yes, I slowly walked away
I said, farewell, farewell, I’ll see you on the Judgment Day

You know I went in my room, I bowed down to pray
The blues came along and drove my spirit away
I went in my room, I said I bowed down to pray
I said the blues came along and drove my spirit away

You know I didn’t feel so bad, ‘til the good ol’ sun went down
I didn’t have a soul to throw my arms around
I didn’t feel so bad, ‘til the good ol’ sun went down
You know, I didn’t have nobody to throw my arms around

I loved you baby, like I love myself
You don’t have me, you won’t have nobody else
I loved you baby, better than I did myself
I said now if you don’t have me, I didn’t want you to have nobody else

You know, it’s hard to love someone that don’t love you
Ain’t no satisfaction, don’t care what in the world you do
Yeah, it’s hard to love someone that don’t love you
You know it don’t look like satisfaction, don’t care what in the world you do

Got up this mornin’, just about the break of day
A-huggin’ the pillow where she used to lay
Got up this mornin’, just about the break of day
A-huggin’ the pillow where my good gal used to lay

Got up this mornin’, feelin’ round for my shoes
You know, I must-a had them old walkin’ blues
Got up this mornin’, feelin’ round for my shoes
Yeah, you know bout that, I must-a had them old walkin’ blues

You know, I cried last night and all the night before
Gotta change my way a livin’, so I don’t have to cry no more
You know, I cried last night and all the night before
Gotta change my way a livin’, you see, so I don’t have to cry no more

Ah, hush, thought I heard her call my name
If it wasn’t so loud and so nice and plain
Ah, yeah
Mmmmmm

Well, listen, whatever you do
This is one thing, honey, I tried to get along with you
Yes, no tellin’ what you do
I done everything I could, just to try and get along with you

Well, the minutes seemed like hours, hours they seemed like days
It seemed like my good, old gal outta done stopped her low-down ways
Minutes seemed like hours, hours they seemed like days
Seems like my good, old gal outta done stopped her low-down ways

You know, love’s a hard ol’ fall, make you do things you don’t wanna do
Love sometimes leaves you feeling sad and blue
You know, love’s a hard ol’ fall, make you do things you don’t wanna do
Love sometimes make you feel sad and blue

Written for Linda G. Hill’s ‘Life in progress’ JusJoJan January prompt of letter.

Who Cut the Cheese

Have you ever wondered why the cheese stands alone?  In the song titled The Farmer in the Dell, which is also a dance, people form a circle holding hands while gathering around the farmer who starts out in the middle and he begins this tragic pattern of selecting his wife, child, nurse, cat, rat, and finally the pitiful solitary neglected cheese is the only thing remaining at the end.  The people who are gathered around in the circle are cut out of this circle to join the farmer, but when the cheese is cut, nobody wants to be around anymore.  The phrase about the cheese standing alone has gone on to become an uncommon way to describe someone who is all alone.  Incidentally a dell is a small wooded valley and the word “derry” is an Old Irish Gaelic term which represents an oak grove or an area that is densely wooded with oak trees.

The rhyme was first recorded in Germany in 1826, as a courtship game, with a farmer choosing a wife, then selecting a child, maid, and serving man who leaves the maid after kissing her.

The farmer in the dell (2x)
Hi-ho, the derry-o…
The farmer in the dell

The farmer takes the wife (2×)
Hi-ho, the derry-o…
The farmer takes the wife

The wife takes the child (2×)
Hi-ho, the derry-o…
The wife takes the child

The child takes the nurse (2×)
Hi-ho, the derry-o…
The child takes the nurse

The nurse takes the cow (2×)
Hi-ho, the derry-o…
The nurse takes the cow

The cow takes the dog (2×)
Hi-ho, the derry-o…
The cow takes the dog

The dog takes the cat (2×)
Hi-ho, the derry-o…
The dog takes the cat

The cat takes the mouse (or rat) (2×)
Hi-ho, the derry-o…
The cat takes the mouse (or rat)

The mouse (or rat) takes the cheese (2×)
Hi-ho, the derry-o…
The mouse (or rat) takes the cheese

The cheese stands alone (2×)
Hi-ho, the derry-o…
The cheese stands alone

Written for Linda G. Hill’s ‘Life in progress’ JusJoJan January prompt of cheese.

Heavy Metal Band

Twisted Sister picked out the name of their group from a hat, because they thought that it sounded good.  They first heard this name one night when they were performing, and a drunken old man at the end of the show came up to them and said, “You guys look like a bunch of twisted sisters”, because they were all dressed in drag.  They were formerly known as Silver Star and the group was going through some lineup changes at the time when they decided to go with a different name.  They had a big hit with the 1980’s anthem, ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’.  I am happy that the Democrats are finally standing up to the Trump nonsense, as it seems like they are not going to take it anymore.  They have the right to say enough because Trump keeps showing how much he has lost touch with reality and he doesn’t deserve to be president any longer.  President Trump incited the crowd to riot and he is the one who should be prosecuted for crimes of conspiracy to overthrow the government and sedition that led to the riots.  He is no better than Charlie Manson who is also a racist and had this Hitler like hold over people.  Trump has sure turned out to be one twisted puppy.

Written for Linda G. Hill’s ‘Life in progress’ JusJoJan January prompt of twisted.

The Sure Thing

I woke up in 2021 caught in an intimate relationship and I guess that I just got used to having her around.  When we met, she told me that there was no need to romance her, as she was a sure thing.  I became distracted by her beauty which was mesmerizing, but romance was one aspect that I certainly wanted to have in a relationship.  I wanted more and I turned into a basket case because I started ignoring the ignorance of this situation.  I wanted to kiss her and she insisted that wasn’t necessary, so we argued constantly till I got tired.  She looked just like Elizabeth Taylor and I asked her if we could go up on the tin roof with a blanket where we could be like street cats making love.

Written for Sheryl’s Daily Word Prompt – Distracted, for the Daily Spur prompt – Aspect, for FOWC with Fandango – Intimate, for Linda G. Hill’s ‘Life in progress’ JusJoJan January prompt – Caught, for January Writing Prompts – Ignoring the ignorance, for Ragtag Community – Blanket, for Reena’s Exploration Challenge #167 – I woke up in 2021, for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Tale Weaver hosted by Michael prompt – A basket case, for Di’s Three Things Challenge prompt words – Tired Tin More and for Word of the Day Challenge Prompt – Mesmerizing.

Gurgling Brook

In 1830, Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) English poet wrote The Brook which is a metaphor of the human life in the form of a waterway.  It must have been peaceful to be able to rest on the side of this babbling brook and just listen to the sounds of nature.  Tennyson created an imagery of what it would be like to be a brook, running down the mountainside across the country describing these beautiful images and patterned rhythms of this gurgling brook.  He contrasts nature as the brook rises and then gradually descends, flowing past hills and under bridges.  The brook is swollen with the spring rains and melt waters.  The brook makes a kind of natural music as it rushes down the hills, singing as its swirling water is chattering and babbling as it dashes against the gravel of the stream bed producing almost musical notes.  The brook wanders through land that is cultivated and land that is wild and natural.  It encounters fish, foamy bubbles, and flowers before it eventually slows and ends up in a river.

Tennyson used personification in his poem about the brook saying, “I chatter over stony ways, In little sharps and trebles, I bubble into eddying bays, I babble on the pebbles.”  A brook can be heard to gurgle as it flows in broken irregular currents over the rocks and other impediments.  A brook is a very small body of running water, a natural waterway, which is smaller than a stream.  The stream is a small natural waterway, larger than a brook, but smaller than a creek.  A creek is a medium natural waterway, larger than a stream and it is often a tributary to a river.

Written for Linda G. Hill’s ‘Life in progress’ JusJoJan January prompt of gurgle.

World at My Fingertips

This optimistic figure of speech is declaring that I have boundless opportunities open for me, because fingertips represent the act of grasping my dreams and goals.  To have the world at your feet is the same thing, meaning that there are a lot of opportunities and interesting and exciting things for you to do.  These phrases are usually associated with a college graduate whose future looks bright and everything is going well for them and all the good things in life are within their reach.  Car dashboards are designed so the driver can have the world at their fingertips, so that the drivers don’t have to take their eyes off the road.

If you are hanging on by your fingertips (sometimes fingernails may be substituted), then you are literally grasping onto something, hoping that you won’t fall, kind of like what Trump is doing with all of this election fraud nonsense that he keeps complaining about.  Trump’s efforts to cling to power are unprecedented in American history, but on January 6, just two days from today, a joint session of Congress will formalize the results declaring Biden to be the next president.  Trump loyalty is still very strong and some Republicans will continue to challenge the results, but they can’t delay the inevitable.

Written for Linda G. Hill’s ‘Life in progress’ JusJoJan January prompt of fingertips.

The Busboy Deals Pot

I was never a servant, but I did work as a busboy in a restaurant.  I had to clear the table of the dirty dishes, when customers finished eating and take all of them to the dishwasher, then change the table cloth and get the table ready for new customers.  I was required to set the tables with silverware, napkins and drinking glasses.  I walked around with a pitcher of water and asked customers if they wanted me to refill their glasses, but mostly I avoided them.  I was required to provide any type of assistance that the waitresses asked of me, like getting another chair, or bringing straws to those who wanted them and cleaning up spills when necessary.

The restaurant service industry is a fast-paced environment and a busboy must remain on their toes at all times.  It was not my job to clean the dishes, or the silverware and glasses, but I was responsible for making sure that the ones that I placed at the tables were not dirty.  The waitresses work for tips and if you mess up that cuts into their gratuities, so if I messed up, they would get all over my case.  I had to wear a white shirt and a tie and since I was still in High School when I had this job, this was not my normal style of dress, but everybody has to start someplace.  The only time I was able to work was on weekends and in the evenings, which I thought sucked the big one.  The pay was pretty bad also, but at the end of the night, each waitress would give me a portion of their tips for helping out with their area.

Written for Linda G. Hill’s ‘Life in progress’ JusJoJan January prompt of servant which was suggested by Di.