1. I leapt out of bed a little earlier this morning, got out the food I would prepare for breakfast, and did some light house cleaning in preparation for Ed and Mike coming over for breakfast.
Before long, I got down to the serious business of preparing food. I mixed ground beef with bread crumbs, Montreal seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, an egg, and some salt and pepper and made each of us a patty and started frying hamburger steaks.
I made things a little easier for myself by buying frozen Ore-Ida hash browns and I got those going.
Once the hamburger steaks were browned, I put them in the oven to cook through and made a batch of hamburger gravy -- a gravy I later wished had a bit more ground beef in it.
I finished my preparations by frying each of us a couple of eggs over medium and toasting each of us some Dave's Killer White Bread Done Right.
2. Ed and Mike arrived about a half an hour earlier then planned, but no problem. I fixed them each a cup of Peet's Major Dickason's coffee and did my best to yak it up with them while I cooked.
The three of us had an awesome morning.
We continue to talk about a possible trip to Iceland, with the pandemic our foremost concern as to whether (or when) such a trip is possible.
Our annual trip to the Wildhorse Resort and Casino in November is coming up and I'm continue to be very much on the fence about whether I'll go. Fortunately, I'm not under pressure to go. I am aware that the Wildhorse people are doing everything to make their complex a safe place to play, drink, eat, and stay. I'll just keep turning it over in my mind, knowing that whatever I decide, I don't have to make a decision until the time comes to go down there.
Much of our conversation centered on the world of logging in the 1960s, 70s, and on into the 80s. Ed and Mike both worked in the woods as young guys -- Ed continued for decades -- and they had a string of great stories to tell about how the work was done, the guys they worked with, and the demands of the work. Mike's stepdad and Ed's dad worked in the logging business for many, many years and introduced Mike and Ed into their world and both of them expressed much gratitude for all they learned about work and life in the logging world and took turns telling great stories about things they experienced -- some of it kind of scary, but a lot of the stories were really funny.
Hard, dangerous work, like what Mike and Ed did in the woods and like I did at the Zinc Plant left a deep impression on all of us and it never fails to amaze me how I, along with the other guys I still see who worked at the Zinc Plant or in other areas of mining, and the guys I see around town who worked in logging, talk about our days doing that perilous, dirty, unrelenting work with great affection.
3. Bill Davie performed his twenty-fourth Tree House Concert this evening. I loved it. I poured myself a dirty martini. I poured gin over ice in my cocktail shaker, shook it up a bit to make the gin cold and then combined the gin (up) with the brine of our Kalamata olives. The combination of salty brine and juniper works beautifully for me and I made this one drink last for most of Bill's performance.
Two songs stood out for me. They are songs that Bill started performing many many years ago and have been moving me inside for over twenty-five years.
His song "Concrete Tree" always calls up the 1984 documentary Streetwise in my memory. Both Bill's song and the movie present scenes of and stories about people living on Seattle's streets. Streetwise's music soundtrack features Tom Waits and also Baby Gramps (singing "Teddy Bear Picnic"). Waits' and Baby Gramps' work was perfect for this movie.
But, and yet and yet and yet, I live in a fantasy world where Bill Davie recorded "Concrete Tree" about ten years earlier than he did and the people who made Streetwise loved his song so much that it became the primary soundtrack song for the movie. As it is, when I hear Bill perform this song, the movie starts to run in my imagination, and I bump out Tom Waits and Baby Gramps and Bill Davie takes over, deepening and enriching Streetwise with his stories about Ezra and Jason and Myrtle and Andy and Missy and his prescient early 1990s reference to Donald Trump.
The other song that melted me tonight was "Valley of Wine". I used to know the man who is the subject of this song and I know part of what moves me is thinking about him and the valley of alcohol and other substances wherein he lived (and lives?) his life. But my response is not limited to the story it tells about someone I used to know. It explores the darkness and destruction alcohol and drug dependence with descriptions, scenes, and metaphors that create unsettling insights into the pain of this abuse, whoever experiences it, not only to the person who is addicted, but to those who love the alcohol dependent person.
Here's a limerick by Stu: