13 Reasons I Ain't No Pretend Hippie
7. Lived in Mexico for seven months on $900.
8. Made love to a witch who claimed I had a very vivid aura.
9. Got in a brawl in a bar after winning a beer chugging contest the night Nixon announced his resignation.
10. I can recite all the words to Country Joe and the Fish's -" "I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-to-Die Rag".
11. I was ordained as a minister in the Universal Life Church.
12. My nickname at a factory job was "Sleepy Jesus."
13. I milked six goats by hand for over two years.
I rest my case....
What If the Hokey Pokey IS What It's All About?
I wish I had made that headline up. It is my favorite bumper sticker and nobody knows who first said it. Well, it goes like this. I am old and have been wondering more and more about what it is all about. I cannot believe that I am still as mixed up about things as I was as a baby-faced college sophomore discussing the meaning of life with others until late into the night. I have tried by golly. Here are some of my efforts.
I was a good little altar boy for the Episcopal Church. I got confirmed after attending classes run by my the honorable Reverend Peter Stretch. ( No, I did not make that up either.) But it didn't really take and by my junior year I only went to church on holidays and then only because I liked to spy on the girls my age whom were all dressed up and looking good.
I started smoking pot my senior year and by college I was experimenting with mild expanding drugs because Gracie Slick and Timothy Leary were encouraging me to "feed my head." Well, friends I don't do anything halfway so I took LSD over a hundred times. I had some memorable moments while listening to the Moody Blues on headphones and became a master at cloud watching. But the only time I saw a vision of God it was when I saw Jesus drive by in a '57 Chevy and he gave me the finger as I sat stoned on the porch. That cured me from exploring that avenue of attempting to find enlightenment.
Next, I starting reading the Don Juan books and eating magic mushrooms and even got some peyote but all those natural drugs made me do was puke in several vivid colors. I didn't really want to wander the desert and turning into a crow or something seemed too scary. That little experiment didn't work.
Then, two beautiful hippie chicks got me to become a Buddhist and I started chanting all the time until my girlfriend told me I was a fool and threatened to cut off sex if I didn't throw away my beads. So, enough of that.
Next, I became a back to earth hippie and lived on a hundred acre plot that bordered 5,000 acres of national forest land way up the Mt. Baker Washington highway with twenty spaced out Seattle people who knew nothing about living off the land. I worked my ass off tearing down barns and built myself a cabin by myself out of railroad ties. I put in a 2.5 acre garden by hand digging it all with a shovel with a broken handle. I thought I was on my way living in the pure mountain air and listening to John Denver. But Georgia Pacific clear cut the land directly across from us and our own goat herd ate my entire garden so I left Welcome, Washington on Mosquito Lake Road in a huff and went to Mexico.
I cut off all my hair, quit all drugs and thought I would become a world traveler. But after a few months I got tempted by some Oaxacan bud that was just too good to pass up and was back in the stoner world. I also saw the third world life up close and personal and hustled back to the states after ten months.
I got back to the Northwest after traveling to nearly every state via thumb mostly and decided my mission was to be a social worker and help those in need. I was also a vegetarian for a decade until so guy told me to read the Secret Life of Plants book and then claimed that carrots screamed when you pulled them up by the roots to eat them. So, I went on a taco binge and left veggie burgers behind.
Then, a mentor told me I needed to get a Special Education degree if I wanted to stay in social work. I did so but while student teaching fell in love with the classroom. I changed plans again and decided to become a teacher and coach. I got married to another Special Education teacher from Pennsylvania who had grown up in a Metaphysical church that followed the teachings of Emmanel Swendenborg whose writings were totally mind-blowing. I studied his works in secret as my wife disapproved telling me that once you started you had to keep it up or you could cause your own doom. Wow! Now, that was scary so I stopped that.
After getting divorced, which was not fun, I thought being a male slut and alcoholic would help. It did some but the lifestyle was too grinding and peace was fleeting. So, I gave that path up, too.
Then I decided to become a regular American and started investing. I bought a four bedroom three bath condo and sold tax shelter annuities on the side while teaching and coaching. I got into golf and the zen of the game. I did all this while raising a couple sons on my own whom I thought could be my salvation, which was somewhat true. The years ticked by and I looked around one day and said, "Nope, this ain't it." At age fifty, I sold everything and quit teaching and coaching and decided to become a newspaper publisher which was fun but expensive. I got sick. I found myself broke which was not a good way to seek enlightenment.
I then went through a couple tough years and started a mental health care business which was all good until I lost half my salary. Bingo! Then, it occurred to me. Live a simple life, read and write all the time, go fishing, exercise and play golf. Now, that was the ticket until it came to me that I was still as mixed up about the meaning of life as I had been forty years ago. That is when I saw the bumper sticker. I finally knew that was my final path.
"You put your right foot in, you put your right foot out and you shake it all about. You do the hokey, pokey and you turn yourself around and THAT'S WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT. Finally, geez, what a slow learner, huh?
Looking for inner happiness is a false journey. The hokey pokey is as profound as anything else. And that my children is the final word on this subject. Oh, sunsets are good, also which are the final, final words.
I Was A Buddhist for One Full Week
I hate goats. I had convinced my Idaho childhood buddy, Tommy, to come over with me and live the life of a back- to- earth hippie on Mosquito Lake Road near the Welcome, Washington Grange Hall. Yes, we lived in Welcome, Washington. Pretty cool, huh?
We, seven spaced out Seattle acid heads and myself, purchased 180 acres of mostly forest land with what was left of my summer baseball coaching bonus and several college student loans that the Seattle Space Heads had diverted from Western Washington University in nearby Bellingham. The property was bordered on the north side by over 5,000 acres of national forest land that went all the way to Mt. Baker, an active volcanic peak covered with year- around, white glaciers. A good sized river, the Nooksack, made up the southern boundary and crystal clean Marble Creek ran through the property almost dead center. We were living in the clouds, in more than one way. The front of the property had a nice 25-acre or so clearing with an old fruit orchard and that is where most of us built shelters to live wild and free off the land.
Click photo for the full story....