Author: Judd, Brooks

Ten Items or Less Family Jams-Summer of 63-Cove part 2

Item 1: Last week we had a belated 6th birthday party for my grandson. He had told his mother that for part of his birthday celebration he wanted to perform with his Grumpy (me) some selected music on the banjo and my beloved bass.

My grandson came over a day early with his brother and parents and after the usual rush to the Lego table and the following elation of reading the directions (for 8-9 year olds) of a new Lego project purchased by Sheila, and completing said project it was time for the two of us to practice.He brought out a song book containing 15 songs, his mother handed me an accompanying CD of the songs, I placed it in the CD player, he chose a song, (in the key of E) and we began our practice. Did I mention that my grandson plays his banjo like a stand up bass?

My grandson had watched intently as I played the bass (a misnomer if there ever was one)) and he just assumed the banjo should be held the same way. In order to liven things up I might give the bass a slap or two, and my grandson as if on cue would give his banjo a playful slap. If I were to give the bass a festive spin, my grandson would give his banjo a whirl. This would all be done with the most serious look of utter concentration and determination. This was serious stuff.

Sunday arrived and it was time for our grandson’s party and for our much anticipated performance. After opening his gifts my grandson rushed into the living room opened the cabinet and rummaged around until he found the cash laden tip jar from our jam a couple years ago at Christmas. He placed the bowl down in front of us nodded for me to cue the music and we played along. You’ve never seen a more determined 6 year old. On or about the year 2027 if you read about a new breakthrough in bluegrass music with the emergence of the stand up banjo, well you heard it here.

Item 2: Rick’s story of “The Cove” a few weeks back brought back many memories. Rick had talked to me a couple of years ago about this infamous incident in our lives and it is hard to believe it happened 50 years ago. Rick wanted me to share with him everything I remembered from that fateful week-end and it is amazing how the both of us agreed on so many things. There might have been a couple of instances of remembering things differently but hey it was one half century ago.

Item 3: One more comment on the Cove. The account of four 15 year old boys devising a scheme to pilfer quart bottles and six packs of beer from the local grocery store ranks up there with the Brinks Robbery. We were either quite stupid or made of brass. There was only one individual who could have come up with the idea of walking out of the store with boxes filled with brew and it was not me. Of course it was soooo wrong and had we been caught well it would have been the slammer for sure. But youth does have its advantages, like ignorance and not thinking of consequences.

Item 4: A few notes on what was going on in the summer of 1963. It was the summer of the surfer, Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, the songs of Bob Dylan (done by Peter, Paul and Mary) Pendleton shirts, white Levis, tennis shoes, and if you had blond hair, surfed, knew how to flip bottle caps, and owned a Ford Woody you had met all the recommended requirements to be one of the chosen elite in the ruling surfer class.
Item 5: Rick and I didn’t surf; we were too young to drive so ixnay on the Woody. Neither one of us had the required blond hair, though Rick’s hair was a bit lighter due to his Germanic heritage and my hair darker due to my own Portuguese-Azorean heritage.

Rick had an idea that just might bring us closer to the surfer look and in doing so might make us more attractive to the opposite sex; hydrogen peroxide. Rick had quite a solid background in the world of science and he lectured me on how, if applied properly, hydrogen peroxide could change the color of our hair to a much coveted surfer blond tinge. A plan was set into motion.

Rick and I hitch hiked to downtown Hayward and walked around until we found a pharmacy. We walked around the store until we finally found the hydrogen peroxide. Rick held up the box of the magical solution to read the directions and said, “This will do.”

We excitedly left the store and made our way home. We stuck out our soon to be sophomore, surfer, thumbs hoping for a quick ride home. Fate was with us and caught a quick ride to the top of Highland Blvd. just a few yards from Rick’s home. We rushed into Rick’s bathroom and there stylist monsieur C. gently placed the solution on his hair. We watched in awe as his hair gradually became lighter. Rick gave a devilish chuckle and said, “Ooks boy it’s your turn.”

Rick began dabbing the solution on my brown forelocks that were resting above my eyebrows. We waited a few minutes and then both of us stared intently into the mirror and smiled. Our hair was now resplendent with bright splashes of surfer blonde. Rick grinned and said, “We’re set for the summer!” We began to sing a chorus of “Little Deuce Coupe” and headed outside to play some baseball, sans cap of course to show off our new cool surfer look.

Footnote: We never surfed that summer but then again either did Brian Wilson. The really cool surfer blond hair soon turned back to its original color and in just a few short months the Beatles would arrive creating a whole new hair philosophy leaving a lone partially filled bottle of hydrogen peroxide sitting sadly on the bottom shelf in Rick’s medicine cabinet.

Until November: Read a book, eat a bar of chocolate, hug a child, pet a dog, stroke a cat, sing in the shower and smile.

Posted:  10/5/2012

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