From time to time, during the months when I was a proper responsible, serious Blogger (unlike this hit-or-miss mess I have recently become), I would create a draft version of an idea for a future blog....this besides starting a notebook with scribbled notes plus littering the house with scraps of paper containing jottings of possible ideas.......Yes, I was that serious and devoted once.....I sank so low or rose so high as to write one reminder on the wall in the kitchen.......but never mind that.
What I am getting to is the fact that this week I was taken out to lunch by a dear old friend,Don, from my Starving Artist- Beatnik- Hippie Days.......55 some years back.........the one who was then married to Annette, a wonderful Artist and Silversmith who shared the grounds where I had my studio (sadly she has since left us but current wife, Val has picked up the gauntlet) .....and it reminded me not only of the story languishing in Draft status, but of an even better one that I had not thought of in years. After we all wet our bloomers laughing (and crying just a bit) I vowed to devote a blog to those grand old memories from my North Fairfax days.
To recreate the scene I must mention that at the time my studio occupied the middle of three shops which had been built onto the front of an old house. On my right was the person we called the Dirty Record Man......in those days there was hardly any such thing as visible porn....these records hadn't a hope of being dirty....more like a bit bawdy but what did we know, especially since the police, who had no real porn to contend with kept periodically raiding the shop and taking away the poor Office manager, a nice middle aged Jewish lady named Roz. On my left was a young Sandal-maker and his wife and it happened that this young couple had a rather unusual pet. He was an amazing and somewhat rare bird from Africa, but actually "bird" is an insulting term to apply to Homer. This creature was a bit bigger than a Turkey but built more like an ostrich with an excess of feathers. Standing his head reached to my boobs or halfway to my shoulders, whichever measurement you prefer. He had big soulful eyes, was very tame and adored having his head, chin and neck scratched. He spent half his time in a fabulous fig tree we had in the back yard (where the Silversmith's studio was) and the rest in the Sandal shop untying customers shoelaces and we all enjoyed him mightily.
But then came the dreadful day when Homer was nowhere to be found and we feared the worst.....birdnapping. (we doubted that he would have just wandered off). When no ransom note appeared we gave up hope and just mourned. One day when we were still sitting Shiva (Jewish mourning ceremony) I was out in front of my shop sweeping the walk when a Police car drew up to the curb and a real live Policeman got out of the passenger seat and approached me. The following is an honest-to-God, verbatim record of what followed:
The cop, in a rather gruff but strangled voice, said, "Hey, Um, does a bird named Homer live here?"
I, in an astonished voice replied, "Oh, yes....have you found him?"
Whereupon the cop gave a relieved sigh and said, "Thank God......... he is shitting up the whole back seat of the patrol car." ......
........and he heaved open the back door from whence, Homer, like a rock star or Royalty, thrust out one huge foot followed by the other and swaggered out of the car and across the pavement to have his head scratched.
(By the way he did have an ID tag on his leg with his name and address in case you were expecting a touch of the supernatural.)
We never knew who or how he was abducted, but apparently he escaped or was abandoned by his captors after shitting up their entire whatever.........but I will never forget that line...."Does a bird named Homer live here?"
What wondrous days those were........
The New Yorker covers: March 17, 1934
9 hours ago