Friday, July 2, 2010

list of my family I met at the 2010 rainbow gathering

· Bickel and his girlfriend: driving a truck with MO plates but coming from Florida to help set up Oz Kitchen; had a cab-full of dogs and a cat that rode on the driver’s lap; parked at A Camp cuz they feel safe there
· Harold and Katy: a pair Bickel picked up hitching outside Warren, PA, who were from Baltimore; been on the road about a year
· Dog Bite Girl: came across her on the road into Welcome Home after she’d been bit by a dog near Bus Village; was pretty rattled; gave her a toke from my cigar after she asked for a cigarette; wore a “Fuckin Homeless” printed like “Dunkin Donuts” t-shirt; strawberry blonde and about 6 foot; ran into her that night again with her hand bandaged up and on antibiotics from the hospital; told me the litany of tests and shots they did and then crowed to her companion, “He gave me a smoke off his cigar and it was a Black and Mild, man!”; companion gave me the thumbs-up
· Sparrow: also came across him on the logging trail but he was heading the opposite way with a cartload of stuff; stopped to tell me he was from Boston and was tired of being without a female in his life; “I mean, girls, at least flirt with me, I’m wholesome;” about 20 with coke-bottle glasses and sandy hair, tall and thin
· Elmo: young woman about 25 carrying an open Japanese parasol who came up to bum a cigarette off Sparrow while we were talking; looked kinda longingly at him for a moment and after he gave her 1 I said, “Elmo, will you kiss me?”; she did, a warm hug and full-on lips, and I said to Sparrow, “That’s what you got to do, brother;” he shook his head and went on his way and Elmo and I walked on chatting until I dropped her off at Kiddy Village; from Denver and heading out to this year’s Burning Man with a theater group
· Tony: at Main Circle; from the Delaware Water Gap; we traded stories about 209 and Dingman’s Ferry before he went off for food
· Grandfather Woodstock: an old man with long white hair and long tobacco-stained beard naked under a rainbow-dyed robe; had set up a small shrine at Main Circle complete with chair and bicycle horn; told me he was 100 and he looked it; saw him with a camcorder the next night standing on the chair to video the drum circle
· Magic: another old man staying at Kiddy Village; old cracked leather vest and drawstring pants; giving his great-granddaughter a ride on the logging road in a plastic cart; she said, “Grandpa, I wanna pick berries” and he wheeled her right into the brambles and she laughed
· Aviva and her fianc√© and Katy and the Jersey crew: most of these were from south New Jersey, except Katy, who they picked up in Philadelphia; Aviva came from west of the Pine Barrens and was carting in a heavy dufflebag full of food; I offered to help her carry it in and shouldered it and walked it the mile and a half to their camp; she was astonished I didn’t drop it or slip once in the mud and called me “a rockstar” to her campmates; she was short and kept her dark hair in braids while Katy was tall and had her blond hair in dreads; once we got to their camp near the Rusty Nail Aviva packed a bowl and held it out to me saying, “That’s for you;” I only took a few hits off it, opting to share it with her and the others around the fire; like almost everyone else she had a dog
· Red and Chef: I know Red from Menomonie where she and her family used to attend the church that I served; I recognized her my 2nd night wandering around Main Circle; she had more barbs in her lips since I’d last seen her but I recognized her immediately; she and Chef had to drive to Erie the next morning with a bunch of other kids who’d been ticketed for underage drinking and possession of paraphernalia a week before; I said I was leaving the next morning and offered to head that way but they said they already had a vanload of kids going but appreciated the offer; they’d been there already 3 weeks; we traded stories of people we knew and I was surprised when I asked about 1 of her brothers that she’d had a restraining order taken out on him; turns out he’d been abusive for years; I apologized and said I didn’t have a clue and she said she knew, it was always kept quiet; she said she hoped to smoke pot with her dad this year (she’d long ago done so with her mom); she hugged me when I got up and we determined to meet up again out in Babylon
· Trashcan: came in off the road, originally from Florida; offered me some crank and asked if I knew anyone who wanted meth; I said no to both but got him talking, which wasn’t hard, and he told me a long rambling story about his hitching east, most of which was muttered and pretty unintelligible; but he was friendly enough and hugged me when we parted
· Duluth: I met up with her on my way back from Back Entrance and we took to talking about where we were from; she’d spent a long time in Minnesota—“I keep ending up back there”—although she’d been living for 6 months in Ithaca, NY, and expected to stay another few months; she studied herbology; she was normal height, heavy-breasted and slim, with big glasses; she seemed pretty stand-offish and didn’t even tell me her Rainbow name (I called her “Duluth” and she didn’t argue); she melted into the crowd at a kitchen we passed
· Steve: from Denver; his 1st Gathering; he’d come in with a group of guys for the experience of it; we’d been talking for a while on the trail in from Welcome Home before we stopped and helped Aviva and Katy carry in stuff
· Adam: I met him at Main Circle a couple days later; he was 1 of the guys who’d ridden in with Steve; big-bellied young guy, maybe 25, also born and raised in Denver
· Black Hills: a very monkish-looking fellow from South Dakota, raised near Spearfish; wore tie-dye robes and long shirts and linen trousers and what looked like a dreamcatcher on his head like a sunbonnet; not very talkative but as we were walking a brother stopped to hug him and said “You actually smell clean”
· Dog Runner: my name for a tall thin man I saw running a pack of 6 or 7 dogs of various sizes along the lumber trail each morning; shirtless and wearing thin runner’s socks under his sneakers; dreadlocked; I don’t know if they were his dogs or he was running them for other people
· Mica, Jackson, and Goose: a trio who’d arrived the same afternoon I did from Jacksonville, FL; traveled with Henry the dog; Mica was a big girl in a billowy muumuu and her mom was a police officer in FL; Jackson was a young bearded guy with the look of someone who’d been on the road much too long (Henry was his dog); Goose was a tall kid with a wispy mustache who’d never been out of FL in his life and he and Mica acted as if they’d been friends for a long, long time
· Benny: had been there 3 weeks already, arriving with the intent of being part of Council; pudgy like an early beer-belly but friendly as all hell
· Kevin: Benny’s dad who’d just retired after 30 years with the Coast Guard; had gone to the Academy and graduated into the Guard and had decided to live in VA; this was his 1st Gathering, which was funny since I’d started talking with him cuz I thought he might have been someone who’d been there back when I was; shirtless and pasty but with heavy arms, someone accustomed to hard work
· Dog Girl: from FL and traveling with 11 dogs, a mom with slackened tits and her 10 pups; tall and green-eyed with wild red hair and freckles; maybe 19 or younger; told everyone the pups had all been found homes so she didn’t have to deal with explaining to some people why she didn’t think they would be effective dog companions; I wanted to call her Diana because of her pack but didn’t think she’d get the reference; she was probably the person I was most comfortable talking with and if she’d been interested I’d have taken her with me just for the company
· She Slips: when I told her my name she said she wanted to come up with a clever one too and finally settled on “She Slips in the Mud and Falls on Her Ass” after doing that 6 times as I walked with her back up the trail from Main Circle to her camp near Welcome Home; dark hair and burnished skin; talked a little crazily and muttered so I often asked her to repeat things; came from the St. Regis Reservation in New York near the border; kept up a running muttered monologue as we walked; good-looking
· Michael: a cyclist from Ohio I met on my way out; I’d stopped at a stream I knew of in order to bathe and he’d spent the night there; 1st words to me were, “I’m lost;” worked as an occasional tree-lopper and grew trees and flowers in his nursery; had made enough money cutting trees to buy land and build his home and nursery and now had no bills and lots of free time; a little taller than me and sinewy and burned; gave him most of the food I had left (granola bars and dried fruit and peanut butter) and gave him what I hope were accurate directions

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