Good Dog.....Bad Dog.
Monday morning, Xabi the Puppy and I went down to Carmel Beach with mineral water, champagne, ice, glasses, a table and linen to mark the passing of a Carmel icon......Simone Cryns.
Simone was one of the iconic bartenders in Carmel in the Seventies and Eighties......the General Store, Maxwell's, Sadie's......Bud's Pub, the Red Lion. Even A Moveable Feast.
Along with Helen Randall Bell, Slab (aka Steve Thomas), the Sweet and Hot Connie's, and Slab's brother Bitter Phil, Simone was always behind a jumping bar.
"Can I get a Dos Equiis and........ a book of matches?"
"That will be fifty-two dollars........."
That kind of jumping bar.
Simone worked for us a few times.....when we needed a super-pro. She worked for us when we did a party for Gerry Ford in Pebble Beach, and I later in her apron found a mash note and a card from part of Ford's Secret Service detail.
She went on to become a manager at Whole Foods.....and quit eventually after encountering the same kind of ethical problems that we find all through the store.
One thing she did not quit, though.....was the booze. Simone liked her NASCAR, her Jack Russell's.....and Ketl One.
We contacted her about working on Monday Nights at The Store.....who better to enable our dark side in the dining room........and she was all set to start. Once she finished rehab.
We talked about it and joked a bit: "I'll be a much better bartender if I don't outdrink the customers!"
Simone checked herself in to rehab......and then checked herself out after a day or so. She wrote everyone notes, and took her little car, her Virgin Airways sleep mask, and a half-gallon of vodka out to Arroyo Seco.
She was supposed to work for us on Mother's Day at Paraiso Vineyards......she would have been perfect with our crew and the Paraiso Crew. Jen Smith and Trina at Paraiso have that same wonderful tough on the outside, soft on the inside, growly aura.
On the way back and forth to Paraiso we drive out the Valley Road and over Cahoon Grade....and we always stop at the Grinding Rock above the site of the old Schoolhouse. There is a single oak in the pasture and a big flat rock covered with multiple grinding holes left from the native Americans back in the day. The vista is of the entire Arroyo Seco and the east side of Chew's Ridge......the oaks, the craggy mountains.....and the Salinas Valley and the mountains beyond. I always make the kids stop there and take a few breaths, look around, and picture what the culinary life was once upon a time.....in the kitchen of the Ohlone.
Little did we know that we were driving by Simone......sleeping the Big Sleep in her little car, safe behind her Virgin Air sleep mask.......
Anyway.....the wake was Monday on the beach at 13th Street.
I brought all this stuff because I was afraid maybe no one would come......I mean, Simone seemed depressed about her station in life after all.
I need not have worried......at least 80 friends showed up. Father Scott burned some herbs and did his thing....
Meanwhile, my grandpuppy was fractious. He chased his Frisbee, humped a few dogs, barked and whined and chewed on his leash. Finally, I decided that the distraction was too much and walked him back up to the car. As we hit Scenic and the path I ran into Clayton and Linda Anderson and we chatted about Memorial Day two years ago when we all put 2500 crosses at 13th Street beach. Puppy pulled on the leash and snapped it, but I didn't worry since the car was just across the street....and this is his home turf.
Next thing I knew there was a horrendous screeching.....a dog in pain.
I ran over....and there was Xabi in the jaws of a pit bull. The pit had him by the jaw and was tossing him around like a shark with a porpoise, trying to get the kill. Fuck.
I ran over and grabbed Xabi by the head and stopped the to and fro. Onlookers ran over to help and started beating on the pit bull with flashlights and kicking it. Each kick and blow jerked the pit bull's head and threatened to tear Xabi's jaw off.....so I got them to lay off.
The owner of the pit produced a can of mace: "Here....I have this stuff for these situations......spray him in the eyes...." and handed a squirt tube to one of the helpers.
I held on to Xabi's head and watched the pitbull. He was trying to get a better grip and jockeying for a better position. I waited until he relaxed for a split second and snatched Xabi's jaw back and out of the way.
The pit bull snapped forward......and got me, munching my finger.
Xabi and I stood back while the lady struggled with her pissed off pit bull. Blood was pouring from my hand, and Xabi was shaking.
The lady was screaming: "His dog attacked my dog. My dog did not bite him.....he put his hand in my dog's mouth!"
Cops came. Fire trucks. Ambulances. The cops stopped me from washing my hand off in the dog fountain. Instead I waited for twenty minutes for the ambulance to.....wash my hand off with water.
Result? Loss of all feeling in my index finger. Loss of a few days work....Sorry Dave Potter. Xabi is fine.....with some gnarly scars on his throat.....millimeters from his jugular and carotid.
And.......I get a citation for "Dog Running at Large".
Next time you are on Carmel Beach.....at all costs, don't put your hand in any passing pit bull's mouth.
It is so unfair to the pit bull........
And so unfair to those pit bull owners......now the lady has to go buy a whole other can of mace before she can go walkies on the beach.