The Zen Cowboy Titles

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kjwolverton@aol.com

AN EXERCISE in SHORT STORIES

1. Under a Table with Winos

2. Two Crazy Women in a Peugeot

3. Red Cloud in The Movies.

4. Water Bottles in Utah

5. Limping to the Family Reunion

6. How My Ex-Wife Paid the Rent

7. Hoz Meets Red Cloud

8. A Gun in the Throat

9. When I became a shoemaker     (in progress)

10. When I Became an artist.

Works still in the Think-Box

11.    The Trucks I have Had

12.    Sage Brush After the Rain

13.    Cardboard Monsters in Germany

14.    Pig, Fish Guts and Big Fat Thaana

15.    Escaping the Nut-House In Germany

16.    The Twist of Love in Yuma

17.    Pop Spits Out the Window

18.    Pop’s last Motorcycle Ride

19.    Pop in Marseilles

20.    My Brother Ernie

21.    Ernie and The Piano

22.    Famous Rides With Mike

23.    Colette Gets Me out of Jail

24.    Where is Rose?

25.    Trooper Tires at Fort Rock

26.    Tits In Isfahan

27.    Flower Bag Incident In Isfahan

28.    Lost Clown In Paris

29.    Lost Clown In Austria

30.    Chrissie’ Belly  “I am Dolmoos”

31.    Mustache on the Shah

32.   Humpback Woman of Isfahan

33.   Painting Monymill

34.   Saving Monymill

35.   Four Days around Arran

36.   Drumla Cottage

37.   Grain Mountains in Scotland

38.   Pig in the Redwoods and a Hole in the Roof

39.   Hoz Returns to the Mountains

40.   Hoz in San Diego

      42.   Hoz Returns to Telluride

41.   Hoz and Brother Al

42.   In Australia the Sky Roars

43.   Poets of Edinbburgh

44.    Forest Fire Fighting in Alaska

45.    Painting In Pilton

Smego/Phillip

46.    Tommy’s  Dog Ring

47.    Stabbing a Lizard

48.    The Ice House/Johnston Boys

49.    Running The D. I. Into The Ground

50.    Leadership Schools Steps

51.    The Wine House of Aushaffenburg

52.    Returning To Aushaffenburg

53.    Bandits at the Guymas Picnic

54.    Plane Rides in Alaska

55.     James The Donkey and The Fractal World

56.    A Three Dollar Whore in Portland

57.    Pepita in Barcelona

58.    Gary Slack Rides and Crashes

59.    Running Through Rattlesnakes

60.    Class Reunions and $20

61.    Dumped in the Needles Desert

62.    No Brakes to Kingman

63.    Hitch Hiking to Bakersfield

64.    Meeting Bob Dylan

65.    Getting Out of the Army

66.    My first Dead Body

67.    I fell off the Wall and Screamed Jesus Christ

68.    Scaffolding Rolls Into Traffic

69.    Lost Car in London

      70.    Playing Dead in England

      71.    Broken Hearts with Fi Fi La Boom

72.    Rolling Tires Down Long Hills in Scotland

73.    The Errant Data Point

74.    Dead Black Cat on South Broadway

75.    Pogue, Grant, Max and Me

76.    Escaping Mosquitoes

77.    Mexican Farting Machine

78.    Sleeping in Guadalajara

79.    Sleeping Through Mexico City

80.    Head-On Collision in Vera Cruz

81.    Driving Around Fiji

82.    In Australia the Sky Roars

83.    A Gig With The Pope

84.    Sarge” of Telluride/Salt and pepper/age

85.    A Babe Picked Me Up in the Desert

86.    Homesteads and Weed-Fed Cows

87.    Old Cowpokes at The Sinks

88.    Pig In Utah

89.    Finding Molly Gibson

90.    The Rape of Molly

91.    Pig Crossing the Street

92.    Pig and a Light Pole

93.    Pig Flies Out Window

94.    The Last Time I saw Pig

95.    The Love Affair of Boris and Rose

96.    Rose The Gourmet

97.    James Brown in Corsica

98.    Losing Rose in Corsica

99.    Rose in Paris

100.  Mike the Blue Eyed Devil

101.  The Hungarian Border

102.  Lost in Transylvania

103.  Red Cloud, Rock and Sean

104.  Red Cloud and Tits at the Mailbox

105.  Arrested in Matamoras

106. The Twenty-Five Dollar Pontiac

107.  Making Love In a Hillman Minx Convertible

108.  Trying To Kill A Marine

109.  The Woman Who Gave Her Wigs Haircuts

110.  Max Golfs Los Angeles

111.  Love in a Chicken House

112.  Hoz Goes To California

113.  Looking For Castles

114. Three Bullets Past My Head

115.  The 100 Mile Ride of Brown Valley

116.  The Last Time I Got Bucked Off

117.  Red Cloud’s Singing Truck

118. Spudnuts in Pueblo Rain

119. Scaffold Rolls into Traffic

120. Falling Off Ladders

121. Falling Off Scaffolding

122.    Bottle of Whiskey in Portland

    123. Looking For Jeane

124. A Car in Oklahoma City For 25 Bucks

                                            How it all got started....

I was doing a mural at an elementary school in 1992 and had an hour for lunch. Before I returned to the collaborative project with kids, I would think of an experience in my life, give it what I called a ZenCowboy synopsis in one sentence, then  on one page, try to encapsulate the event involving my days on the ranch or eclectic journeys I have had.


Below is the second list of titles I put together a few years ago.


Starting with the title, I give it a one sentence leader, then try my best to get to the point in 300 words...anyway, I have just re-installed this page and most of the stories written so far are out of order with the titles, but within a month or two that will be resolved.

KJW December 21, 2010

1.    Under a Table with Winos

A telephone call from my brother Robert. We have gone years between conversations. Our family is so big we get information from other members of who is doing what, where, when and so on. "Kenny, I think you should get down to Arizona to see Pop. He's not doing very well." That was all it took. Our mother had died the year before. The next day I had my thumb out on the side of the road, which led me through several dramas on the way to Phoenix. In four days I hitch-hiked only 1200 miles. When I got to Pop's house, he was fine, exactly as he always was and seemed to be surprised anyone thought he might not be fine. I stayed a day or two and stuck my thumb out again towards a drama in Tucson. 24 hours later my thumb took me to La Guna Beach, where an old friend got me drunk and put me on a plane with my guitar to San Francisco. The year was 1970 and most of flower power had passed, yet even so, my guitar and long hair had always been a ticket to ride. It was evening when I got to North Beach. It was cold and raining which is normal for Frisco. I was totally penniless which was also normal. What was not normal was no one gave a damn about my guitar, my long hair or me. At 3 in the morning I gave up trying to find a pad to crash in. I was cold, hungry. and totally exhausted. I found an all night laundry mat and went to a dark corner and stretched out under a table. I woke when it was light. My legs felt like they were being crushed. I looked down at my feet and saw a leg that was not mine crossed over my legs. I looked on my chest and saw an arm the opposite side that was not mine. I turned right to see the toothless mouth of a bewhiskered hobo. To the left was another ancient street urchin snoring like death. "Oh fuck." I said, "this is the bottom." Little did I know there would be future depths that would make this feel cheery.

2. Two Crazy Women in a Peugeot

The problem with having more than a hundred stories in your head is that somewhere all of those stories are interwoven and overlap in time. The result is eventually one sounds like an old geezer repeating themselves ad infinitum...I always have looked on such people with dismay and thought to myself, "I will never do that." But sadly here I am, about to tell a story that no doubt I have written or rattled off to an innocent before they could run away.  I rationalize now, it is not exactly the same story, but with time has gained an honorable patina. The same thing say, that happened to the Grand Canyon over several million years. That is, even though it is the same canyon, it just keeps getting deeper. So there I was sitting in the back seat of a French Peugeot  whizzing past the rim of the Grand Canyon for the first time In my life. My newly wed wife and 8 month old baby were crammed next to me. Two completely crazy women were in the front seat conducting the tour. "Sure is big. Ya wanna stop?" the driver asked. It seemed like the thing to do. We all climbed out of the car and walked up to the edge. "Whew!" exclaimed the driver. "Well there it is. We saw it. Let's go." We climbed back into the French Peugeot in the middle of the American desert and rode into the black of the night. At three in the morning we arrived at the door of the sponsors who had invited us to work with Navajo school Children. Only 48 hours before my family and I had been in our home in Scotland and had no idea how the Grand Canyon had divided those hours.

3. Red Cloud in The Movies

Today, September 22 is my oldest brother's birthday. he is more than a brother. He raised me from eleven years old. Before that he was a legend that came back to the family only once or twice a year. he always wore a huge black cowboy hat and boots that were two or three colors. When I was four the tops of those boots came up to my crotch. I only knew him by the name Indian cowboys gave him. Yup, redskin cowpokes. They called him Red Cloud, not because of the famous chief  but because one day at sunset his red hair had a halo around it and one of the Indian cowpokes said, "Hey, you ;look like you have red cloud around head." The two other Indians present, laughed  and said, "Yes, he is now Red Cloud."  The name stuck. Sixty years later that is how I remember him--not the lame old man who could barely pull himself up into the saddle that was on a horse parked on the street of an old time western movie set.  All of the broken bones Red Cloud had pinned together with silver from real life cowboy horse wrecks had finally caught up. But he is still Red Cloud, my personal hero who taught me what tough is.

4.     Water Bottles in Utah

As far back as I can remember I have driven cars that fall apart on a regular basis. The first was a 1929 Model A Ford which used 5 gallons of gas in less than a mile. It never dawned on me at 15 that perhaps I had a gas leak somewhere. From there it got worse. I bought a 1949 Ford commercial 2 ton van that had a 100 gallon gas tank. But even though it was full, the van always died in less than a mile, acting like it was out of fuel. It never occurred to me there was a gas line blockage somewhere. I was almost 30 by that time so you may note that automotive analysis is not my strong point. But even so, no matter how much my vehicles have fallen apart, I always manage to get from point A to point B...eventually. One rememberable ride if for nothing else was the usage of water. On the way to Oregon my family and I passed through Green River, Utah where the temperature was plus 100. The Oldsmobile Cutlass kept overheating, but each time we were close to a service station and water, that is until we were exactly in the middle of nowhere north of Salt Lake City. I could see the speck of a lonely ranch house on the horizon. Every mile I shut down the Olds and waited for it to cool. Finally I turned into a house that looked like something from the movie Deliverance. I knocked on an open door but no answer came from within. I could see a big pile of gallon plastic milk jug sitting ever so conveniently next to an outdoor water facet. Ten minutes later My little daughter was snuggled among 20 gallons of water on the back seat. We drove on 30 miles at a time for the next 500 miles until we reached my brother Tommy's ranch. He asked why there were so many jugs in the back seat. I told him I heard there was a drought.

5. Limping to the Family Reunion

Ten years ago, for the first time in 30 years my family came together in one of those classic beer/hamburger/TV football/tear filled marathon reunions. Considering our mutually advanced age and geographic spread it was a miracle seven of my living brothers and sisters arrived along with a bus load of cousins, nephews, nieces, uncles, aunts and never-do-good half bloods. My wife and daughter and I got with 45 miles of the occasion when our 15 year-old Chevy died. This time I didn't even to pretend I knew what the problem was. The car stopped working like I had turned off the ignition key. One of my nephews came to our rescue so we were only a couple hours late for the festivities. It was one of those affairs where you see people you have not seen for 30 years and after you express the time of your mutual separation you realize there is not much else to say and you are happy to let another 30 years slip by. Even so we all acted overjoyed at each others mediocre news.  I was amazed how old we all looked and carried on with the main reason of getting together, alcohol. I come from a long bloodline of beer guzzling whiskey boozers. I drank my share of beer plus several others. As we were leaving late in the evening my Italian brother-in-law held out his hand. As I started to shake it I suddenly played the old W. C. Fields trick of twiddling my nose with my thumb. Nick-the-Wop, as my family called our dego division hauled off and hit me hard flat fisted in the chest. When I got my breath I said, "Geez, Nick, why'd you do that? I was just playing you like a kid."  "I ain't a kid anymore," Nick said.  I saw Nick last year. He was crying at my sisters funeral. There was nothing to kid him about.

6. How My Ex-Wife Paid the Rent

That old Oldsmobile Cutlass already had over a hundred thousand miles on it when I bought but it was a good car, maybe the best even though it sprung leaks now and then. It was the fastest car I ever had. It could do a 100 miles across the desert in less than an hour, so comfortable, it  felt like you were doing 50 MPH. I was sad when after several years of service I traded it to a kid who was supposed to dig a cistern for me in return. He only got down a foot in the ground before he destroyed the Olds in a fiery crash. It was my wife who wanted me to get rid of it. I think the car was a reminder of her driving history. She had crunched the Olds two or three times, only giving it minor damage while more or less destroying the other party. She was innocent so she said, and apparently the police agreed being they gave the opposite crasher a citation.  One time she was stopped at a red light when she was rammed by a small Jap car. It was wrecked and had to be towed away. The Olds had a bent rear bumper. Next my wife pulled into a parking lot as a man swung the very expensive door open of his very expensive BMW. The door was ripped from its henges. The olds had a little dent in the front bumper. The insurance companies paid for the Olds blemished parts, each time enough in a very cold and lean winter to pay the house rent. For years after that each time we would get low on money I would encourage my wife to go out for a drive.

7.  Hoz Meets Red Cloud

My girlfriend yelled, "You chauvinistic son-of-a-bitch." She grabbed her bag and jumped in her sisters car. They drove off to southern California. I stood there waiting for the car to stop. It kept going and then disappeared over the horizon. I realized she wasn't coming back. For a moment I was deflated but then it turned to anger. There was nothing to do but continue the journey by myself and Graffitus Melon Pig, my faithful canine pal who had been given his full melodious name by my old musical partner, Fred. We went on to Telluride Colorado, arriving in the late afternoon as the sun came below the clouds and beamed light on the thousand foot waterfall at the end of the valley. A double rainbow arched the sky. I knew it was an omen of some kind. Two months later for a hundred bucks I bought a 50 Ford pick up truck with four bald tires and HOZ spray painted on its  doors. I took off for California. Two weeks later I was back in Telluride sitting in a Southern Baptist church, dedicating my life to Jesus. A month later my truck was being towed at 60 MPH by Red Cloud, swerving up a mountain highway until we got to Salida. Red Cloud was on his way north and I had to go west , returning to Telluride. It was January, three in the morning, cold as a witches tit and I had 25 bucks in my pocket, just enough to get the truck fixed and 5 gallons of gas. Red Cloud said, "You and HOZ are on your own from here Kenny."  He drove off over the horizon. It seemed very familiar but some how just a lot colder.

8.  A Gun in the Throat

I left the United States in late 1973. I was sick of Nixon, the on-going war in Vietnam and disappointment of my drugged generation. I hoped I would find a better life in Europe. What I found was a wife, a baby and the idea that if I stayed long enough I would forget the land I left behind. I stayed five years before my wife convinced me we should visit my homeland and my family. My wife was excited to show our baby girl to her new American relations. I was a little nervous to see my red-neck brothers again, especially Tommy who was very proud of being a genuine Nevada buckaroo. The last time I saw him we argued over God, politics and hippies with long hair. He was convinced I was a communist. I was beginning to think he was as right-wing as Nixon. None of that mattered. My wife wanted to see the great wild west. Within a month we were driving into the ranch gates where I had spent my youth. All went well for the first day. My brother now had two children and the things we once argued over no longer mattered. Hippies had become yuppies and America had abandoned Vietnam. Everything was fine until a business partner of my brothers was invited to dinner. As my brother, the colleague had once been a Marine, and after a few beers, the theme of an old argument showed its ugly head again. According to both of them, the Beatles were homosexual, all hippies were traitors and everyone who had opposed the Vietnam war was a coward. I kept my mouth shut for once and tried to change the topic by talking about my experiences in Europe. That was when the business partner began ranting about how the British aristocracy was being persecuted by faggot welfare communists. Suddenly I could not take the stupidity of the man, and asked him how he knew so much about European social hierarchies. He said he once had spent a whole day in London. I looked him straight in the eye and said, "You must be a genuine genius." It was at this point suddenly I was back in the wild west and my wife got a glimpse of how crazy red-necks are. The "genius" threw back his chair and jumped up, but before anything else could happen my brother leapt across the table and grabbed the guy by the throat. Tommy yelled, "You get out of my house you son-of-a-bitch!" The "genius" ran out of the house and my wife sat there with her mouth wide open. Tommy's wife started crying, and saying, "My God we are going to be killed!" I was completely shocked and said, "Please calm down everybody, we were just having a friendly discussion." I thought my brother had drank too much beer, and his friend and him would be okay in the morning, but that was not the end of the evening. In five minutes I heard a vehicle come into the ranch driveway. Tommy jumped up again and went to his gun cabinet and pulled out a 30-30 Winchester and ran out of the house. I knew my brother had gone crazy and chased him out the door screaming, "Stop this madness Tommy and put that gun away." He ignored me and ran up to the truck that had slid to a stop in front of the house. I could see Tommy's weird friend. He was reaching for something next to him in the seat, but before he could get it, my brother poked the Winchester through the open window and stuck the barrel in the guys throat. "I told you to leave and I meant it. You get out of here you piece of shit or I will blow your head off!" The genius put the truck in gear and threw gravel all over the yard and then roared out the ranch gates. When we got back in the house Tommy's wife told me the full story. Apparently the "genius" had a habit of starting fights and cutting people with knifes or worse. My brother had actually saved me. The next day my wife, baby and I left for the airport and return to nice safe sane Europe. Tommy and I shook and hands. To my surprise, I saw tears in in his eyes as he said goodbye.

9. When I became a shoemaker

Everything I once did seems so long ago now. I was so disappointed with everything and everybody, especially myself. I decided to become a better humane being. I went to shoe repair school in Denver, Colorado. I was living with a beautiful girl I had met in the mountains. Life could have not been better. There was some irony in me going to a shoe repair school. That is the occupational training I was supposed to have when I joined the U.S. Army in February 1967. I didn't join out of patriotism. I joined because I was flunking out of college and was almost certainly going to be immediately drafted with the highest probability I would be placed in the infantry or worse, being a combat medic. That was my fear. The irony was the army recruiter was untruthful to me, and the form I signed that had big bold letters 91-A-10 stamped at the top was actually the classification for COMBAT MEDIC. Never trust army recruiters is the short story and moral to that tale. So here I was four years later putting in motion an experience the army was supposed to give me. Repair people's shoes. (I lost the conclusion of this story but will get around to rewriting it sometime...KJW)

 

10.    When I Became an artist.

The first art I remember is the a painting of a black stallion on a small board, that was propped up on the dining room table by my cousin Virginia Jackson. It was night time and there was a bare light bulb hanging down on a skinny cord from a high ceiling. She had her back to me, but looking over her shoulder I could see the horse, standing proud on a rocky mesa, the wind blowing its mane and tail, and in the distance were blue mountains. I felt like I could walk into the picture. Later when I went to school and the teacher gave me my turn to go to the drawing easel I drew the head of a horse just like the head of the stallion my cousin had done. After that, the teacher let me go to the easel most days, and every time I would draw some kind of horse. That was a big advancement of what I had been drawing before I saw my cousins painting. The first time I used a pencil, I felt like my eye was right on the tip of the lead, and I would fill page after page of very neat and regular loops all connected. I felt like I was on a motorcycle. All of the years afterward in school, all of my friends thought of me as the artist in their class. Only once did I have a rival, Johnny Fuentes. We made a game out of both being artists, and would challenge each other every day in drawing different scenes. I began to think I was an artist, because the teachers and all my class mates said I was. But  I had other interests, mainly horses. That is, I wanted to be like my oldest brother, Red Cloud. I wanted to be a genuine buckaroo. A cowboy. Red Cloud had taught me everything I knew about horses. He put me a young green bronco named Muskrat at the age of eleven. By the time I was 15, I had my own horse. I called him Wasco. He was caught as a mustang stud on the Warm Springs Indian reservation. I loved Wasco more than anything. I thought Wasco loved me the same until I was eighteen. Then that summer I went away for three months. When I returned the first thing I did was saddle up Wasco in the round corral and got on him very warily. Red Cloud warned me that sometimes when you didn't ride a mustang for a few months, they would revert to be wild. Not Wasco. It was like we had never been separated a day. The very next day I saddled him again and took him outside the corral before I got on him. When I climbed into the saddle Wasco suddenly exploded and threw me to the ground. I was more confused than hurt, but I took him back into the corral and got on again. I got bucked off again and again and again. On the seventh attempt, I was terrified but got on Wasco again. Bam, I hit the ground, and Wasco stepped on my stomach. I remember exactly that moment, for in my mind, I heard this voice, "Forget being a cowboy Ken, because you are going to be an artist!"

A bad love affair is a good love affair when love is blind.

"But, honey he's a boy dog, and Rose is a girl's name," I said to my four year old daughter. "I don't care. He is Rose," she retorted. And so the little English Cocker Spaniel puppy was named and became a very important member of our family. He turned out to be as beautiful as his Westminster champion pedigreed parents. Between buying him for a Christmas present, veterinary bills, airline tickets and just plain trouble he created over the years, the total came to over three thousand bucks by the time I buried him in our back yard 13 years later. He was worth every penny and if I could bring him back to life for another three grand, I would do it in a heart beat. But he is gone. Quite often I stand at his grave and talk to his spirit memory. We lived on a Scottish wheat farm the first year we had him. The farmer was a rogue bachelor, who loved skiing, yachting and pulling practical jokes on his cronies. He had an odd sense of humor which was probably why he allowed us to live in a cottage on the farm. He had a little female dog who was testimony to his quirkiness.  She was without doubt the ugliest dog I had ever seen, looking like a mixture between a wild boar and a hyena. Her tongue permanently hung out of her mouth, was blind in one eye and walked a crooked gait because of a birth defect. She was nearly ten years old and the farmer loved her dearly, but not as much as our little boy dog. It was love at first site for both of them. What is more than odd  was her name, Boris. We all thought it hilarious, but the farmer even  more so, because he said Boris never ever ever allowed any other dog near her. Not only did she let Rose near, but she went into heat for the first time in her life. Rose stuck to her (tail to tail) for over a week. I wish I could make this a happy story and say they had beautiful children, perfect in every way. Not so. Boris delivered two little shriveled lumps that looked like furry toads, dead at birth. All the same, it was a ironic reversal of names and looks. The love affair of Rose and Boris will go down as the one of most unusual between the Beauty and the Beast.

On the road, there are warning signs of crooked corners and falling rocks, but omens of treachery fly over your head.

I wasn't exactly stranded or homeless when I was in San Diego in 1970. I went there because my hippie girl friend's sister lived in a very nice house on Mission Beach, and I thought we were friends. She lived with two other beautiful gals and they agreed I could sleep on the veranda while I looked for places to do art work and make enough money to get back to Telluride. The first day I found a boutique, a lady owned, but she said she was going bust and she didn’t know what to do. I told her I would paint a mural for $35. She picked up an arm full of her merchandise, went next door and came back with the money. I didn’t have any paint or brushes with me, so I had to buy it all, spending the $35 she gave me. I returned years later and the shop was still there and so was the mural. It must have been a good deed because the next day I got the job painting another mural at an amusement park, making the money to return to Colorado. The last day I was in San Diego, my gal came down from LA. We went to the beach in the afternoon, which was just next to the Amtrak Station where she would get the return train. We lay on the beach talking about when we would see each other again. While we were on the sand looking up in the sky, fibrous black ribbons of millions of flies flew over the top of us. It went on and on until her train finally came and she departed crying. The flies seemed like a bad omen. I went back to her sister’s house. The three girls had made a farewell meal for me. After dinner, one of the girls who was incredibly beautiful, said she was going to miss me very much, and suddenly sat on my lap, put her arms around me and gave me a more than affectionate kiss on the mouth. Being the young man I was, I could not help but respond, and kissed her back with just a brush of my tongue on her gorgeous lips. She jumped up and slapped me, and said, “How dare you kiss me like that when my friend’s sister is so in love with you, you fucking jerk.” At that point all three girls started yelling at me and told me to get out and go back to Colorado. Humiliated and angry, I knew this was not the first time my girlfriend’s sister had tried to set me up to act like a horny man. In fact it was the plan to get me out of the picture for good. That night, somewhere on the road, I picked up a hitch-hiker that said Jesus had saved his soul. I was so low, it made sense to me. When I got back to Telluride, the very first person I ran into was Brother Al, the minister of the Southern Baptist church. “Why don’t you come to the meeting tonight, son, I can see your soul is hurting.” It was, and I did. There was a very pretty gal in the congregation, and I thought, “Hey, things are looking up.” In a week I was beating my dope smoking hippy friends over the head with a bible, and me and the pretty gal communed daily.  “Thank you Jesus,” I said when she laid her healing hands on me.

 A Mexican Christmas can happen in the land of no borders and eternal time.

It was Christmas Eve in 2001, when my Italian girlfriend dumped me. Heartbroken and totally crazy, I took off for Arizona, where I was going to be the care-taker at my brother Red's horse ranch. I was driving a beat-up 1976 Dodge van, pulling a 81 Toyota pickup with my motorcycle in its bed. In Albuquerque the hitch broke.  After a couple of hours searching for a mechanic I found a great guy who worked for several hours, and rebuilt the whole thing. When it came time to pay, he only asked for a few dollars and told me I could do a favor for someone else down the line. Just on the other side of Deming New Mexico, at sunrise on Christmas  morning, with the temperature well below freezing I saw two illegal looking immigrants with their thumbs raised. I muttered, "Fuck 'em" and drove on. My broken heart had turned me hard, but I kept hearing the words of  mechanic "You can do a favor for someone else down the line..." I went on another 20 miles but felt guilty as all hell. shgrI went back. When I stopped for the Mexicans, suddenly there were several. A man came to the window and begged for a ride just to the next town. He looked frozen and as he spoke he pointed to a group down off the road. Altogether, there was 11 of them, including two little girls. My heart melted. I took them all the way to Phoenix, which was 200 miles out of my way. They had a friend there who was going to take them on to Denver, where jobs were waiting for two of the men, who led the group walking at night, 40 miles across the desert. This will sound like a lie, but I swear on my life; the name of leader was Jesus, and his co-pilot's name was Abraham. Two years later, I got a telephone call. It was Abraham, who had learned English. "Meester Keen," he said, "Wheen you come Deenver, you have no worries because we weel never forgeet what you do for us." Before I left them in Phoenix, and got back into my van, one of the young men came up to me and said "Mi corazón para usted, que usted."

He gave me a pair of motorcycle boots, which were  brand new, except for 40 miles across two nights of frozen desert. They are just about worn out now, but I will never throw them away.

On  a sentimental journey you meet reflections of souls who traveled before you. 

You don't miss the water until the well goes dry...that was the phrase going through my mind as I watched my little hippy chick disappear over the horizon. The thing was, I thought that was what she would think. Her parting words so dear, "Fuck you, you chauvinistic pig!"  Wow!, I didn't know she loved those plates that much...40 years later I realize the plates were the proverbial straw... Okay admitted, I wasn't the most considerate young man. Yup, severely lacking in my sensitive female side. In short, I didn't slow down on a bumpy jeep trail in the hippy bus we were living in, after my little gal screamed, "The plates are are all falling out of the shelves." Most of them broke and she stormed off after leaving her choice words. I watched the road for an hour believing when she came to her senses, she would come back. Two hours, then three, and on and on and she did not return. By that evening I knew I had blown it. My heart was gone. A month later, I gave up my pride and telephoned her parent's home in LA. She said she missed me too. I promised to come see her as soon as possible. I was living in a ski town in the mountains of Colorado. I had a old 1950 Ford pickup, with the name HOZ sprayed on it's doors. It had four absolutely bald tires and a spare just as bald. I had $20 which in 1970 was just enough for gas to go 800 miles to southernCal. My first blowout was in the middle of the Navajo Reservation at midnight. I got 30 miles from my gal's house when two more tires blew during the morning LA traffic rush. I limped along the freeway at 5 MPH and rolled into her driveway on shredded rubber and bent rims 6 hours later. I was only there 24 hours before her father gave me $25 and said goodbye. I bought two worn out rimmed tires and a tank of gas. HOZ and I got to San Diego where I talked the manager of an amusement park into painting a mural on his merry-go-round, making $100. At a gas station I found snow tires that would get me back to Colorado, but I only had enough money to buy two. The owner looked at me for a minute, then said, "Look, you need four good tires to get back to Colorado, so I'm going to put them on your truck and you can send me the money when you have it." My mouth fell open. He went on, "I know you wonder why I am doing this. When I was your age, I had an argument with my girl friend and she went back to home in Colorado...well,  I went to see her but things didn't work out. On the way back to San Diego my old car broke down and a Baptist minister stopped to help me out. He gave me a $100 bucks to get my car fixed and told me to send him the money when I got it and gave me his address. Well, damn it, when I got home, somehow I lost that minister's address and I've felt guilty about that ever since." I couldn't believe it.  I had not mentioned why I was in California. A month later I was a Holy-Roller in a Baptist church in Telluride, Colorado and had sent the money I owed the guy in California. Things never did work out with my little hippy gal.


To travel in a world of turmoil, a place of peace and comrades unknown will come to you.

I joined the U.S. Army in 1967 because I was flunking out of college, which meant at the ripe old age of 22 my draft status would go right to the top of the list. I was terrified I would be made a medic and sent to a war that made no sense. By absolute fluke and good fortune, near Christmas of  67, instead of Vietnam, I was a combat medic in Aschaffenburg, Germany. My luck continued. The commanding officer of my battalion made me his special artist, giving me a huge studio space on the fourth floor of my company barracks. My best friend, Dennis Max, was a rich kid from Hollywood, who was the battalion carpenter. He had his own woodshop in the basement of the barracks. That was one of the reasons we were friends, because both of us knew we had a special of angel watching after us. That was further confirmed by almost dying together one night when we flew off a cliff in his Volkswagen landing without a scratch on us or the car, 300 feet away in a snow bank.  From that moment on, we were inseparable. Our favorite hangout after duty hours was a tiny wine cellar in the middle of town. The main reason we went there, was because it was one of the few places in town the proprietor allowed American soldiers. Most locals hated us, not just because the Vietnam war was protested in Germany, but because our regiment had some of the craziest bad asses ever in a uniform. One night, two drunk GI's managed not only to get a 50 caliber machine gun out of the armory, but stole a 50 ton M60 combat tank. They drove around the city, running over cars and parking meters, being chased at a distance by German polizie and military police until they ran out of gas. No one knew there was no ammunition in the machine gun. The wine house was a refuge for many anti-war people. The old proprietor liked Max and me, because we never complained about his vinegar tasting home made wine. We loved him because he recited German poetry in the dim light of a 25 watt lamp sitting on a wine barrel. It was a zone of sanity in such a crazy world.


Big cities are labyrinths so it is best to unwind a ball of string to guide you back in the night.


I had not been back to America for over five years. When I returned, it was with my Scottish wife and little daughter. We did the rounds of my family for a month and then flew back to London just a few days before Christmas. It was a hectic journey resulting in classic jet lag. We rented a car at Heathrow, leaving our luggage and gifts for Christmas in the auto because I had an early morning appointment with a trust fund near Piccadilly Circus. That night we stayed with friends in a suburb miles from London's city center. I had not counted on such heavy traffic in the morning. By the time I was only half way, I knew I was going to be late. I parked the car at Elephant Castle subway station and got to the appointment on time. Afterwards, I met our friends at a nearby pub. They took me back to the car when we finished our drinks.  When we got to where I had parked the rental car, it was not there. It was then I realized I had not only left all of our luggage in the car, but also Christmas gifts, our passports, money and what was worst of all, my 1959 Gibson guitar I had retrieved in America. We called the police, but they had no record of it being impounded. Maybe I mixed up the street where it was parked so we drove around and around looking for it. I was not only jet lagged but hysterical. I told my friends to wait in another pub, while I walked retracing my steps from the morning. Ten minutes later, I concluded the obvious; the car had been stolen. I started to walk back to my friends when I realized I was totally lost. I wondered back and forth for a half hour before I began to sob. An old lady came up to me and said, "What is the matter, my son?" I moaned like a little boy, "I'm lost and I don't know where to go." She kindly led me back to the pub, where on entering, one of my friends remembered there were two stations at Elephant Castle. We went to the second station, and sure enough, the rental car and everything in it was where I had parked it hours before. I could hear my guitar, who I called Molly, hum Merry Christmas as we drove away.


Real friendship is born with many miles of journeys together and love is remembered in miles apart. 

Many years have passed since the last time I saw my faithful pal, a little grey mutt that followed me everywhere for five years.

He was what in the dog world is call a Cockerpoo. I called him Pig when he was given to me at 8 weeks old, because he would eat ANYTHING. Later my musician sidekick Fred Baue, said his name was not euphonious enough and suggested adding something musical thus he became Graffitus Melon Pig. He was my shadow and hitch-hiked with me all over the west, went on tour when I was doing music with Fred, lying on the stage or standing by a stage door or sitting in our car, but he was always there. In the winter he wiggled down to the foot of the bed and kept my feet warm. In summer he would go skinny-dipping with me and  hippies in the rivers of Colorado and California. If we ever got separated for any reason, all I had to do was go back to the last place I had seen him and there he was. He picked fights with dogs five times his size, which had three parts: 1. Pig picking the fight. 2. Pig immediately falling on his back, baring his throat, squealing like a pig. 3. As the big dog he picked a fight with would turn and casually walk away, Pig would jump up, bite the dog in the ass,  then run like a grey hound to safety. That went on for years until it came the time I could not take him with me, because I was going on a Ship to Scotland and was planning on returning in three months. I left Pig with friends who loved him. Hey, I was coming right back, I thought. Christmas, five years later, I went purposely back to Colorado, with the full intention of collecting my little pal who by then was ten years old. "Oh Pig," they said, "well he was with us for about a year, then some long haired dope-smelling hippies moved in down the street and Pig changed residence. The hippies moved a few months later and Pig went with them." I guess Pig could relate to patchouli oil and soy burgers better, but now, I still regret leaving him behind. 

Mountains can be mole hills or more than hills.

For nearly five years on the Isle of Arran, I ran Scotland's first funded  
RURAL COMMUNITY ARTS program with the gal who became my wife and the mother of my only child. We did a lot of altruistic social networking with the philosophy ofalternative education through the arts. We, were part of a art activist movement that was happening through out Britain. It was the kind of work that tends to burn out most people after a few years. One day, I finally had enough and decided to return to being a solo artist, doing my own thing. We moved back to the mainland and found a cottage on a wheat farm, a farmer owned and operated. He allowed me to use machine shop part of the giant grain barn where I made wood sculptures. At harvest time the farmer pumped the grain from wagons onto a mountain over 30 feet high, filling the giant barn, creeping into the space where I worked. The farmer appreciated how hard I worked at my own craft, but considered artists by and large as effeminate lazy bums. Near Christmas, before the grain was shipped to the breweries and distilleries it had been grown for, my best friend Mike showed up one evening as I was finishing a big art piece. He had grown up in Scotland and had seen grain mountains many times.  "I have always fancied sliding down one of these in the nude." I looked at him and laughed and without further ado we pulled off our clothes and ran to the top of the wheat mountain. It was great to jump in the cleaned and husked silky smoothness, head first, completely starkers and slide down the slope like we were surfing waves. The more we did it the more we roared with laughter. Suddenly lights flashed into the doorway as the farmer came rolling into the barn in a big John Deere tractor. Caught with no clothes on, we ran back up the slope and jumped over the peak and hid in the black shadows of night. We sneaked looks to see if we had been spotted, as the farmer walked around the machine shop where our clothes were strewn across the floor. "God if he sees us, this is really going to be hard to explain," Mike said. "Yeah, and knowing how he feels about guys like us, he will probably have the grain cleaned all over again." In a few minutes the farmer left, and Mike and I like two guilty school boys ran for our clothes and straight off to the pub.


It is a dream to have a cottage by the sea where almost anything can happen in the lapse of  a wave.


I was in a mixed mind about canceling my world tour. I had got as far as Isfahan, Iran with my Scottish girlfriend when we discovered she was five months pregnant. Shazam!   Just like that, she was my travel buddy doing clown theater one moment and the next, she was the other half of me being a parent. It seemed like a good idea. We had very little money, so to go onto another third world situation with no real prospects of paid work and possibly having complications with the baby, we turned tail and returned to Germany, where I had connections. We made enough money for us to go back to Scotland, where we decided to rent a cottage on the isle of Arran.  We both loved the island but had never been there together. We thought it would be a romantic place to have a baby, like something out of a D.H. Lawrence story. The baby was born, a beautiful little girl I wanted to call Colorado but agreed to call Rowan, like the Rowan Tree.  When she as a month old, I drank a bottle of whiskey with a visiting Australian friend, and got stuck on the fender of our Morris Minor Station Wagon, screaming for my girlfriend to save me before I froze to death.  A few months later, we telephoned two friends to come and be our witnesses at our civil ceremony wedding. They brought along a party of ten of our best friends and their friends, and we had a party that went  on until the coast guard was called out because we sent off fireworks into the night sea sky, and almost everyone wound up in bed with the partner they did not come with, but not my best man, who at the height of the party tried to run off with my wife of few hours.
 
Thursday, Dec.10
Sometimes going around in a circle brings you right back to where you are supposed to be. 
On the west coast of Scotland, in the Firth of Clyde lies the Isle of Arran. A bird watching Scottish friend, Phillip, convinced me to bicycle with him, the 50 mile highway around the 20 mile long island  He had an extra pair of binoculars and told me it would be fun. I am easy. I like fun. After all, I had bicycled in January from London to Edinburgh, over 500 miles in 7 days. 50 miles around Arran was no obstacle on a four day weekend. It was 1975, and my first summer in Scotland. I thought Scottish people were really weird because everyone kept saying, "What a lovely summer it is with sun shining so warmly." Others would respond, "Aye, its blistering." Where I came from, summers always had sun, and a hell of a lot hotter than the 70 degrees called blistering. I was to learn differently about the summers of Scotland. So my friend Phillip and I arrived on the Arran ferry and promptly turned north to do a counter clockwise tour of the island shaped like a potato. We had not gone fifty yards before Phillip stopped and pulled out his binoculars. The whole first day was like that, us only going a few yards at a time. I was used to travelling on a bike, at least more than the 5 miles we made the first day. The second day I gave up trying to get somewhere and began looking through my pair of binoculars. Phillip was right, when he said it is like being in another world. Birds do the funniest things when they don't know someone is looking at them ten power. By the end of the second day we had only gone around  a quarter of the island. The next day we didn't even get to the half way point, but it was because of a different kind of bird. We met a couple of Scottish lassies who urged us to stay for a dance held at the local community hall. I didn't know Scottish birds could drink so much whiskey, and have a very faint memory of the four of us tumbling around in the tent that night. On the fourth day, we had over 30 miles to go to get back to the last ferry to the mainland. I discovered Phillip could travel when necessary. By the afternoon we were whizzing down a long hill on the south coast. Below us was the beautiful scene of a traditional stone cottage, surrounded by green grassy fields with  a rocky stretch of beach and the sun shining down on the sea. I called out to Phillip, "I would love to live here." I had no idea if I projected the future, but destiny was before me. In two years I would be living in that cottage with my very pregnant Scottish girlfriend.


Painting the town red is not the best way to have a colorful holiday. (Part I)
Between 1974 to 1977, I was a member of Theatre Workshop Edinburgh, in Scotland, there was a wealthy woman who was our patron in several ways. She had great parties at her beautiful home; she made costumes for us at cost; she helped fund raise for our salaries and she had a beautiful cottage in the country, she allowed all of us to use from time to time. I had already been there a few times with the other team members for week long retreats and relaxation. We left the cottage in immaculate condition, repairing or doing maintenance on anything that was needed and replenished any food or drink from her store room. It was a very symbiotic relationship between us. One year she was spending the holidays abroad, so she offered the cottage again. The rest of my company were going home to their families. I was the only one that had no plans so I invited my first friend in Scotland to join me in the country. Over a few bottles of powerful home brew he made, we got our necessities together and went grocery shopping for a big turkey dinner. When we got to the cottage and unloaded our supplies, we discovered two things: we forgot to buy the turkey which was central to the meal, and I found a plastic baggy full of marijuana someone had given me. My friend brought along a dozen bottles of his potent home brew, so we decided to make the best of our forgetfulness, have a pint or two (more) and just relax. I had not smoked whacky backysince I left America three years before, and my friend had never smoked the herb. After another pint or two, we smoked a reefer and came up with the brilliant idea to design a turkey out of the cabbage, carrots, onions and potatoes we brought. That done we put it in the oven and had another pint and another reefer. Bad idea. Next, I began a painting on a large sheet of paper I was going to give the woman for her generosity of the cottage. Some how, I accidently smeared a large paint loaded brush on a adjacent white wall. My friend thought it looked like a duck in flight, so I decided to add two more making it a traditional image seen any many houses at the time. Even bigger bad idea. From that point on, my friend and I decide to drink more, smoke more and paint rainbows on the walls. Somewhere in that madness, we smelled smoke. When we looked in the kitchen we discovered the fake turkey was on fire, sending a funnel of black smoke up the wall. When I woke in the morning, the first thing I thought was, "Oh no, that must have all been a very bad dream." I peeped one eye open and immediately closed it. There was not one white wall that did not have some kind of Charles Manson insanity scrawled over it and above the kitchen oven was a huge black cloud smudged all the way to the ceiling. I had two weeks before the cottage owner returned, so I made a resolution to return all of her walls to their pristine whiteness, never drink home brew and smoke reefer ever,ever,ever again. 

Painting the town red is not the best way to have a colorful holiday. (Part II)
I woke up suddenly with my eyes viewing the vandalism of crazed orangutans...then I realized; I was the one responsible for spreading stoned wall paintings from one end of the cottage to other. "Oh Christ, jail time for this," I muttered as I resolved to return to the cottage the next weekend and repaint the walls me and my friend had freeform decorated, especially the black smoke smudge from the turkey burning in the kitchen oven. That was my intention, but I took along the woman who in nine months would be the mother of my only child and two New Zealand actors who were doing a workshop with my company. I told them what I had done and they said they would be glad to help me get the cottage back to its former clean lean image. The problem about that was they loved the paintings when they saw them, and suggested I just paint out the parts that did not work...ah well, noble intentions down the tubes, I got rid of the black cloud and streamlined what was left. EGO at work; the truth remained, they were not my walls, and nobody asked me to spread weird art shit all over their house.  Still, I felt slightly relieved after two days cleaning the cottage and leaving a long note and a carved cane I had brought from Romania. We were ready to leave when  it began to rain hard, so we decided to stay until the deluge passed. The rain got worse and beat on the tiled roof like a tin drum. After a couple hours there was a distinct sound of water rushing somewhere in the house. I looked down stairs to the ground floor where a foot of water was flowing in the hallway. Water was pouring in a window on the bermed back side of the cottage. A creek had broken its banks and all of the water was coming right into the house. All four of us went out into the icy rain and for the next three hours, working with shovels and rocks and boards and bags and anything we could find, managed to dam the flood. In the morning the cottage was a tragedy again, but this time with the white lower walls and furniture smeared with two feet of mud. We stayed another day and cleaned the mess up as good as we could. I thought maybe the owner might forgive me for my earlier transgressions, because we saved the house from a real disaster. I revised my note to include the mischief of nature with my own short comings as an interior decorator. Oddly, I was never asked to visit the cottage again.
  
You can never judge travelers by the contents of their baggage.


To celebrate getting the money from The Institute of Intellectual Development as the Shah's libraries were called, we stopped along the street on that particularly hot day and bought ice fruit drinks. In the evening we were sitting in the back of a jet liner that was being blown all over the runway as it lifted off and we flew back to Istanbul where a society page journalist had invited us to stay at her house.  Our Turkish friend, Zenep Oral whisked us off to a fancy high society party in our honor, overlooking the isthmus of Istanbul. We had not seen such gourmet food for over six weeks and ate like pigs, drank champagne like water and promptly fell asleep on a bench in front of all the guests who had come to see famous artists. The next morning I not only had a hangover, but a bad bug hungover in the Iranian ice fruit drink. For the next 48 hours, I went between a freezing or roasting fever. The sickness faded and we bought cheap tickets on aMagic Bus ( realtravel.com/e-240118-munich_entry-the_magic
_bus_36hrs_to_istanbul ) to a street theater festival in Germany, and chance to make money. The poor friend was relieved to say goodbye after three days. Through out the journey to Iran and back, we had our life size dummy, stuffed into a canvass bag that was tied with a thick draw string. He was the star of our show, THE LOST CLOWN, but he continued to be a star on the bus journey back through, Bulgaria, Austria and Germany. Every time we came to a border crossing, the customs cops made everyone get off the bus and open their bags. Our fellow passengers were mostly Turkish guest workers who were returning to jobs in Germany and for some unfathomable reason their shabby suit cases were full of high heeled gold slippers or watermelons. The guards knocked on the watermelons to see if they were full of drugs. After the first inspection, the Turks would stand around our dirty canvass bag waiting to laugh when our dummy, who was made of very springy thick foam rubber would leap out of the bag when the draw string was released, and the guards pulled their guns. Somewhere in Austria the driver took a wrong turn and went to a border crossing where the guards had never seen a Magic Bus. The Austrian guards panicked seeing so many dope smuggling poor immigrants and shouted for everyone to stand on a small platform as they called for dogs and began going through the luggage. As usual they inspected the old cases and boxes of the Turks, squeezing the watermelons and gold slippers and laughing about the stupid Turks. Revenge is sweet. When the clown popped out of our bag, the guards nearly shot it, then were so embarrassed they told everyone to get back on the bus and go to hell or Germany.  On the road again, a young German who was returning from India said to me, "Zese border nazis are stupid and zere dogs don't know shit. See my Levi jeans?" He said, pointing his finger at what I thought were brown leather pants. "Zey are solid hashish I rub into za material."

Taking a long shot is not always a good idea following a narrow path.


While painting the mural in Isfahan, my girlfriend and I walked through a corridor kind of alley way. It was barely wide enough for two people to walk side by side. There were high adobe walls with windows, and  the kids who were painting the mural at the library with us, would be waiting, watching out the windows for us to come along the narrow path. When they saw us they would come out with a soccer ball,  kicking it off the walls towards me. This went on daily, with the kids always trying to get me involved in their game. Because they thought both of us they were from Scotland,  the kids were always shouting, "Georgie Best," who happened to be Scottish and the most famous soccer player in the world at that time. After many times of me ignoring the ball kicking ritual, one day I spontaneously joined in the fun and motioned for the kids to go out to intercept my delivery. I have always been rotten in sports, but while I was in Scotland I tried to play soccer. I discovered I was even worse than I thought. Anyway, I stepped back in the alley way and hauled off with a mighty rocket launching kick, sending the worn-out leather sphere sizzling in the kid's direction. I had not noticed there was a very old hump-backed woman wobbling out in my field of fire. If I had a sniper scope, I could not have hit the old woman more directly in the huge hump. I was mortified. I ran up to apologize, as she turned snarling a snaggled tooth demon's face and leaped at me  with cracked black fingernails. Except for the missing front teeth, she looked just like the wicked witch in the Wizard of Oz. The kids thought that was the funniest thing they had ever seen.  No matter how I tried to explain it, they said I was better than Georgie Best. Apparently the old woman was a famous soccer sorcerer who put curses on anyone who crossed her path.


The pen is mightier than the sword and is a lot easier to carry on a road trip.


I had never been in a Muslim country until going on my world tour. Istanbul was the beginning of that experience. There were minaret's all around the city with Mullahs calling to prayer five times a day but I did not comprehend how westernized Istanbul was until travelling on to Iran with my girl friend who was getting fatter everyday. We went overland on buses and taxis to Tehran, where we were treated like dignitaries by the director of the Shah's Cultural Department for a couple of days. He then sent us to Isfahan to paint a mural at a children's library. The director of the Isfahan Cultural Department treated us like  we were lepers. The first insult was to book us in a hostel, that made a flop-house wino-hotel look like the Ritz. We protested and eventually we were put in a hotel that was modest, but clean and private. We worked with children painting a mural on the library's exterior wall in blistering 120 Fahrenheit degree weather. The employees at the library were a complete contrast to the Isfahan director. They treated us like we were the best thing since ice cubes. The janitors especially loved us because their children loved painting the mural. At that  point my girlfriend was having morning sickness, and the obvious was finally obvious. Her pert breasts and growing belly in that tight "T" shirt now made sense. Iranian woman could not dress so casually. Even worse, was when my gal wore long thin cotton pants she bought in the bazaar. It turned out they were the underwear men wore under their long pants even in the heat of summer.  When it came time to be paid by the director who hated us, we were left in his office while he walked around the building ignoring us. He would pop in his office every hour or so to see if we were still there, then say he was getting our money, and leave again. after several hours, I began to hate the director more than he hated us. Behind his desk on the wall was a portrait of the Shah. Using a blue ink ball point pen on the director's desk, I carefully drew a very fine pencil line mustache on the glorious leader. Finally we got our money, went to airport and flew back to Istanbul. The world tour was over and we were going to be parents. I have no idea if the mustache on the Shah was ever detected. The infamous revolution took place the following month. Perhaps the director was declared a national hero for the vandalism to the Shah. 

One can be full or a fool about being full.

Istanbul, Turkey is a beautiful vibrant and chaotic city. On May 1,1977 there was a political demonstration that got out of control and several people were killed by Turkish police. When I arrived May 2 with my Scottish girlfriend, we were greeted by a group of young actors I had met in Hamburg, Germany during a theater festival. They told us things had become very ugly with police brutality and that we should be very careful. As far as I could see, the street vibrations were no worse than any big city I had been in, but took their advice and only moved around the city with one of our hosts guiding us. We were to be in Istanbul for ten days, performing in several theaters and schools, doing our show, THE LOST CLOWN. Our hosts took us everywhere, treating us to dinner parties, insisting we eat until we popped. In the process we learned a few words of Turkish. My favorite phrase, spelled phonetically was: Ya Poosh, Ya Poosh, Ya gibeebee beire besh, meaning, I'm thirsty thirsty, please give me a beer. My girl friend learned another phrase once again spelled phonetically: Ya Dolmoose, her thinking it meant "I'm full," (of food). Each time she said it our Turkish friends laughed and insisted she eat more food. The phrase did mean to be full, but not of food...it meant to be full of child. We still did not know we had made a baby.

Just when you think a journey is over, you may start on a road that will go to where you never imagined.\


In 1977, I had a plan to go around the world, doing all of the activist art I learned in the three years working with Theatre Workshop Edinburgh. It was time to move on. My colleagues had gone to different places; one went to Australia to become a pyromaniac burning down huge art pieces for festivals; two others went to a mime school in Paris, and another was on his way to being the Culture Minister for the EEC. They were not only colleagues, but buddies and without them around the fun of our team was gone. So I wrote letters to people around the world, doing our kind of work, getting answers from most of them. The schedule was set. Paris, Istanbul, Tehran, then overland to Bombay, on to Japan, Hawaii and back to my home state of Colorado. Then one night about two months before the tour,  I went to a party and found myself in the morning in bed with an art school gal.  When I finally left for my "world tour", the gal was with me and a surprise in her belly. Neither of us knew she was already pregnant from the first night we were together. But there we were rehearsing a clown show in the very chic central Paris apartment of a famous artist. It was my plan to do a little of everything in the arts as I went around the world: a clown show in Istanbul; a mural in Iran; a sculpture park in India; learning Japanese kabuki mime in Tokyo and a artist residency at the University of Hawaii. The big apartment in Paris was perfect to get my little performance  together, that now included the gal who had never done any kind of theater. She was game, but one of the clown tricks of standing on my shoulders, then diving off on to her hands and doing a forward roll was intimidating for a novice.  Each time she was about to take the leap, she would panic, and then nearly fall off backwards. After several days of failure at this particular clown skill, I was ready to give up the duo performance and ship her back to Scotland. It was in the afternoon, and there she was once again standing on my shoulders with her legs going rubber, when we heard a voice outside the large open windows. Across the street, in a big window on the next floor up, was a nude man, wearing an orange wig and a red nose, yelling "Hoorah, hoorah!"The woman who would be the future mother of my only child, suddenly began to laugh, then dived off me and did a perfect forward roll across the room. I decided then and there to keep her in the show that was already billed in Istanbul as THE LOST CLOWN.