Small World....not getting bigger
To us it seems to be The Year Of Being Nibbled To Death By Ducks. Cool clients being dropped by divorce and disease....worthy charities in more need than ever. It is not always about the money......
Our mission statement, somewhat different than Rupert Murdoch's......"There is a God.....and She has a Sense of Humor....."
An Irish Catholic's uninformed view of Buddhism and karma: we just buckle down, do our thing and try to weather the storm...
Last week's charity of note was CASA. I had this weird idea that CASA stood for Christians Against Substance Abuse. Back in the day, when my kids were still at the Carmel Get-High School, CASA sponsored what came to be known as "The Carmel 24 Hour Marijuana Brownie Cook-off". Kids ran around and got sponsors for so-and-so many miles, then got together on the Carmel Get-High track and ran for 24 hours. The Christian parents running the deal were religious in their security arrangements to eliminate alcohol from any possible appearance in the festivities. Kids went in, were searched, and locked down for the duration.
Yeah, well. Unbeknownst to the parents....Carmel kids are smart, inquisitive, irreverent, and seriously bored. It apparently never occurred to the parents that the kids' culinary skills were already way past meatloaf. This was a popular event....a sanctioned, co-ed, 24 hour party. With Jesus!
My favorite memory of the CASA event: arriving back in Carmel at midnight with a truck full of high school soccer players from an indoor game in Santa Clara. Our buddy Brent the painter was the security at the gate to the track.
Brent was also a soccer coach. (Word to the Christians: "Soccer" and "Security".....Antonyms).
Brent: "Hey guys! Come to check out the kids? Want some mushrooms?" He held out his thermos....
Anyway, some years later we were contacted by CASA to do a brunch for them at the Big Sur Marathon. Something about running and CASA. I said "Sure!" and gave them a great deal. After all, my kids had had a great time for years at their anti-drug marathon.
And, we HATE the Big Sur Marathon...so it was nice to be stalking their premises and sticking a thumb in their eye, serving better food for cheap than they could muster even for big yuppie bucks.
We have been doing this for some years now. I had never gone before last weekend. Amongst all the cancer cancellations, Gilda and I wound up with nothing on Sunday.....so they got the A-team.
Turns out that this is a different CASA. These guys are Court Appointed Special Advocates. Supernice folks as it turns out. No Jesus, no substances, no guilt. Who knew?
Meanwhile, we still had the best food at The Marathon, even for cheap. I say this because our friend Dierdre from Sand City was the security at the VIP Hospitality tent. She couldn't gag down the Costco potato salad and leathery tri-tip, so she had me bring her a plate. No, she was not on mushrooms......though Bloody Mary's may have been involved.
The downside was that every single person entered in a Marathon-related event came up to our buffet and tried to grab shit. I was mean and brutal: "Fuck off, asshole!" Gilda was nice and politically kind: "Did you run for CASA? No? Well, maybe next year......Put down the strawberry, sir. Back away from the buffet!"
I explained to Gilda the difference between the two CASA's. This CASA is for people like our Victoria from Cachagua.
Victoria was a shy little ten year old with severe scoliosis. She used to come to The Store to buy cigarettes and beer for her mom....and we followed her progress through her surgeries at Stanford. She had a neon sign over her head: "VICTIM!" I tried to hire her to help me on Sunday mornings at one point....but her mom thought that I was a pervert for trying to get a ten-year old to work for me sweeping The Store. Supposedly her dad had already been there.....and was in prison for it.
Victoria finally got some attention....busted for smoking pot, running away from home, calling the cops on her crack-smoking mom, running away again......like that. She quit school at 13, and I used to see her shoulder-tapping weird old dudes in two-wheel drive Toyotas at the local convenience store. She hitch-hiked a lot....at inappropriate places and times. I saw her with the crack-head landlord, and a bunch of other weirdos. It was pretty clear to me that she was hooking.....and I kept an eye out for her body in the ditches and creeks around the store. It was only a matter of time.....
Victoria finally fell in with Jay...another of the local low-lifes. Jay is the kind of low-life that painted all 2500 crosses for me last May for our Memorial Day fest. Jay got her off the street, back in school, and even doing her homework. Still....a 45 year old alcoholic drug addict with a 15 year old girl in a 100 sq ft cabin......Not so bueno.
Jay got evicted, arrested, fired from his job, run out of town. Victoria ditto. The County finally got Victoria.
Victoria became a ward of the State....and got a CASA.....a Court Appointed Special Advocate....since mom is a crackhead, dad is in jail for molesting her, and the only person who ever stood up for her is another alcoholic crackhead, however warpedly noble. The CASA is a volunteer who runs interference for her through the legal, moral, and social gauntlet.
Gilda felt SO much better about working at The Marathon for CASA.
Just then, one of my brides came up to our tent. No, not one of my own personal brides....but a lovely, cool young woman we helped get married last year. Her husband, an obviously insane person with too much time....or too much guilt....had actually run in the Marathon. He had swum to Alcatraz in the middle of the engagement party at a boathouse in San Francisco so I should not have been surprised, I guess.
They stood there talking politely and eyeing the buffet.
After having tossed roughly 2,000 people from our buffet I felt a little guilty about feeding this lady.....but meanwhile she and he had spent a ton of thousands of dollars with us.
Did I mention that her husband is the son of Pete...the host of the party at the Becky Rudeness Debacle I talked about earlier? Land of self-absorbed rudeness! Not him, mind you...he is the nicest guy in the world....but the beast was there, rearing its ugly head. Post Traumatic Rudeness Disorder!
The Bride noticed my discomfort and said: "It's OK, I am a CASA. I work in Salinas for them."
Oh, great! Thank you, Jesus. Cool.....Please eat. Have a strawberry!
"As a matter of fact, I am the CASA for someone from Cachagua."
"Do you know a girl named Victoria?"
I love my brides.....and I am so lucky to be part of their lives....
I just need a wake-up call now and then......