I woke up Wednesday morning, and after sitting on a cushion and drinking coffee discovered someone had become my third patron on my new Patreon creator’s site. It was my friend Butch, all the way over in Florida.
I’d been thinking for a few days that I’d only managed two patrons on this new adventure, which is simply another adventure in this life of mine. Do things, try stuff, move to new places, occupy new spaces. Throw it out in the world, out there on the planet, and see what comes of it. I’d only managed two patrons after a few days, and one was a woman living here in Portland I met only about five or six years ago, when she was a nurse for my step-daughter. Joyce. The other – a fellow artist living on the northeast coast of Scotland, her name’s Marie. We’ve never met. Just these two, both newbies in my life, no one from my faraway past coming along for this ride. I kind of felt bad about that.
Then Butch signed up. And you could say he is someone from my past, someone from my faraway past, you could say my way back there really far away past. As in it’s three houses from mine on High Street to his on Morse Manor and I walked up there and met for the walk around the corner and up a little bump to the Pilgrim School. First grade. 1955. Yeah, far away – And yeah, he’s that good looking fellow right over there.
I called him on the phone yesterday. He lives on the Florida Panhandle, a few hundred steps from the Gulf coast. I live in Portland, Oregon, nearly 100 miles to the Pacific coast. We both grew up in Wareham, Massachusetts, on Buzzards Bay which is on the Atlantic Ocean. Played Everett High football together, skated after school on frozen-over cranberry bogs and Mill Pond at night deep into the winter, we rode our bikes as 12 and 13 year-olds to Pinehurst Beach, swim out to the pier, hang out with summer kids, look at summer girls. He went on to Syracuse University, I meandered down the road to Cape Cod Community. The first college summer back he brought with him the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) album and turned me on to it. So we could ask if anybody really knows what time it is. He became a teacher and I became a youth worker and a bunch of years later he rented a house one year in the Tempest Knob section of Wareham, right on the water where the Wareham River swells out and kisses Tempest Knob and Parkwood and Hamilton and Pinehurst beaches all at once. I believe we participated in the ritual use of ganga in his house on more than many occasions, one time driving down to Old Silver Beach in Falmouth, on the Cape, falling over the sand swells with the giggles.
Butch ended up in Salem after I’d been a college drop-out-and-in again for many years, and we got to hang out some more. That was something like the end of the 70s, and then he got married and I moved up to Newburyport to couch surf with friends, and after a while he got divorced and moved to the greater Atlanta, Georgia area and became a teacher-turned-school-administrator for quite a long ride, me in the meanwhile on Greyhound bus rides back and forth across the country and getting married in Florida and then back living in Massachusetts – Concord, Medford, Lowell – and then divorced and not so long ago – 10 years – I got in my car and drove off to Portland, where I knew no one, to, it turns out, meet my second wife – the love of my life – and work for a while until my spiritual adviser Keith convinced me in a phone call that abundance was/is everywhere and I’d be cared for, so in fact I quit the scene and – surprise – became an artist and then a published writer and went back to work at 70 a couple of months ago, then quit cause I don’t do wrong and stupid, and a week or so ago I signed on to Patreon, and all the while during some of those same years Butch called it a career in the Peach State and tooled down to the Gulf Coast where he knew next to no one, and yesterday morning he became my third patron.
I haven’t seen Butch to give him a hug since Salem, that’s like more than 35 years. But I called and him and me talked for a long time yesterday, and I thanked him for being my patron and for something like 65 years of friendship. Which is pretty f’n fabulous if you ask me.
P.S. – And isn’t there always a P.S. in every good story – every story with heart. Later yesterday morning someone signed on as my fourth patron, doubling my total count of patrons and making it a banner day. My fourth patron’s name is Pat – Pat H. We graduated high school together – Wareham High, class of ’67. There’s a picture of us in the yearbook – class wits, or some such silliness. Pat was the editor of the high school newspaper. Man, she could write. Write circles around me. My dad was a writer and he was a big fan of hers. Pat was – and I’m thinking still is – smart til the end of the day. Another friend of Butchie’s. I did not do all the things with Pat I did with Butchie, mostly I think a boy/girl thing. But talk about staying connected with someone you’ve known nearly your whole 70-year life.
You see — you put yourself out there and the world pays attention. And people – new ones and old ones – get to be part of your trip. How’s it get better than that?