Wednesday, July 21, 2010

7.15.2010: Napa California: John Putnam (1985)

On our way to Napa we picked up our first hitchhiker, Homegrown or, as the ladies call him, The Prince of the Redwoods, in Gaborville, CA. We had stopped at a gas station and were about to leave when he asked, “You hippies wanna give me a ride?” I kind of resent being called a hippie, because while I ride in a somewhat alternative vehicle, and while I do enjoy the beauty of nature, I don’t subscribe to what I feel is the ethos of hippyism. Whatever. Anyway, we gave him a ride across town. He loved the bus and told us that he wished he owned a school bus so that he could “drop acid and drive his children around.”

In Napa we arrived at John Putnam’s house, and briefly met his wife, Jennifer, his 6-month old baby, Emmett, and his dog Alligator T-Bone, who is merely referred to as T-Bone. We sat outside on his patio sipping the wine that he produces, 20 Gauge, as the California light faded into the golden hues of evening and he reminisced of the old days.

Many years ago, when he was living in Florida, he was helping out with a photo shoot for a British lingerie company in the Keys, and as the only “Yank” there, the crew kept razzing him about his inferior culture, intelligence, etc—in a friendly way. He decides to put and end to all of this nonsense and finds his old copy of the Canterbury Tales. He brushes up, goes into the work the next day, and after getting grief from the crew, launches into the intro. About a page and a half in, he asks, “Shall I continue?” to a mute response. No one gave him anymore trouble and furthermore his recital attracted the attention of not one, but two of the ladies. Dad said that John should donate money to the Tates-Tutwiler Scholarship Fund simply based on this story.

(Isabelle, Darcy, John, Gordon, Dad)

We moved over to the really cool apartment where John was putting us up, owned by his friend Gordon Huether, who regards himself as a “not-famous,” artist, which may or may not be true, that is, the not-famous part. That night, Isabelle, Dad, and I had what felt like a pretty rowdy night with John, Gordon, and Gordon’s friend Darcy, which consisted of drinking many bottles of Gauge. John let us leave the bus at the apartment and loaned us his much smaller 4x4 diesel truck, so that we wouldn’t roll backwards down the hills in San Francisco while visiting the many alumni there.

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