Saturday, May 30, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Where were we? Ah, yes. Ft. Lewis, Washington. 1977. I was a dork. (That’s me above from the following story.)
There was a notice posted in August 1977 about “Adventure Training.” It was to be a recreational hike with a small number of people from the unit. It sounded cool to me and so I signed up.
The trail was up the Olympic Peninsula, a beautiful stretch of beach with no way in or out, save the trailheads. It would have been very difficult to bring a boat through. It was one of the most gorgeous and peaceful places I’ve ever been.
Along on the trip was a guy named Mike Buzett (one of those rare individuals whose name doesn’t turn up on a Google search.) I think he was about 24 at the time – one of the older members of the team. While the rest of us humped rucks full of food, tents, etc, Mike left almost all of that behind in order to bring along his cherished Ovation Roundback guitar.
That first night, we built a fire on the beach and cooked our dinner. A couple of the guys dug clams on cooked them up. Mike brought out the guitar and began to play. He played songs I’d never heard before. Mostly Jimmy Buffett and John Prine, but also Jerry Jeff Walker and other singer songwriters.
I have to say that it was something of a life-changing experience for me. Not in that “Praise Jesus, I saw the light,” ways, but, as an artist, and how I saw the world.
Mike and I got cut off by the tide the next day and, while the rest of the group camped out in a nice little forest service shelter, we spent the night in an old half-shack; Mike picking, and both of us smoking dope.
When we returned to the base, I began exploring the records at the library. I got everything I could by Buffett and Prine and Jerry Jeff Walker, and Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings and all the guys in the whole Outlaw Country movement. I found stuff that Mike had never heard, and as I plyed the records, he would sit and write out the chords while I wrote out the lyrics.
Mike bought an old Cadillac—which he could barely afford to put gas in—and we did some driving around getting high. I remember going with him (before the Caddy) up to see Jerry Jeff Walker in Seattle. We got so wasted, and it was hard to say who was moreso—us or Jerry Jeff. I remember standing on a sidewalk outside a bar while Mike got more drunk in a bar afterwards. I was to young to drink off base at the time. I ended up wandering off and found a ride home in the back of a truck full of G.I.’s heading back to the post.
I’d sure like to know what ever happened to Mike. That’s the way things go though.
Next time: Getting the Hell Out of Dodge: Rick goes to Germany.