Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Dynamite Story.....

Does anyone else hate McAfee? Here I am trying to type a few words after a 16 hour day and I can't stop those fuckers from updating and scanning my machine. I would rather have a virus.

Chatham Township High School business class.....and the Smith Barney wire room on Wall Street....taught me to type at 120 wpm for hours.....43 years ago. And now in the modern age I have to wait for people I am paying to protect me to let me do what I normally do?

Reminds me of standing in line with my shoes in my hand to get on a jet. There was a time when I took an extra moment to check the knot on my tie before I tried to get on a jet...and now I stand there in my socks.

A nearly 60 year old person should not be able to type faster than the fucking internet.

Are you listening, McAfee?

Probably.

Are you hearing me?

Definitely not.

Anyway.....Fuck McAfee. We once did a corporate bonding party for them a decade ago. It involved beach volleyball, which is really dumb if you are not fit. Even the fittest guy I know....Micah the Pizza Guy....was eventually brought down by competitive beach volleyball, writhing in pain.

Corporate bonding over beach volleyball probably really involves corporate enabling over the Vicodin needed to recover from the corporate bonding.

Hey! It works for the movie and restaurant businesses. And baseball. And the construction industries......

But, we workers keep our shit under control. Anyone who has ever worked on a union movie shoot knows to get ready to deal with cranky people about four hours after morning call. Not two hours, not three hours.....four hours, like it says on the bottle. The dumbass AD's and producers may be asking for lunch six hours after breakfast...but we know better.

That is probably what really went wrong with "Carmel: The Movie."

McAfee needs to get in touch with its higher power.......and stop with the friggin' corporate bonding....and stop controlling my computer for my own sake. I have a Mom.....and she hates McAfee, too.

Anyway.....in the throes of the Bush Depression, we wee working types continue to attempt to carry on like always. Part of our business, handed to us mostly by geography, is doing the catering for scientific seminars at Hastings Reserve in Deep Carmel Valley.

We do Bluebirds. We do Salamanders. We do Newts.

We also aggressively recruit among the staff at Hastings....young grad students on stipends in the middle of nowhere. They are prime catering fodder: Bright, Bored, and Broke.

This week was going to be "Sustainable Grasslands". Twenty to thirty folk expected to come down to learn about managing a ranch or preserve with the goal of protecting or establishing sustainable grasslands (preferrably native grasses)....while maintaining a profit.

Two days out.....four people had signed up. I asked the admin person from California Native Grasses: "How much is the course?"

"$286....."

For three breakfasts, three lunches, two dinners prepared by me......three nights lodging....and 22 hours of instruction in grassland management? And I am cooking and getting paid?

Sign me up!

I signed up to be my own client and agreed to cook for myself.

Meanwhile, we thought we had the week off. Brendan was off in New York City at the French Culinary Institute learning about Hyper-Colloids......Twelve hours of instruction over two days, no lunch, no room, no board......$1500. Class sold out at 32pp.

Put that in your Depression computer......

The hyper-colloid class turned out to be a huge revelation and life changing event.

The sustainable grasslands class turned out to be a huge revelation and life changing event.

More about both later.

Meanwhile....we....I mean, I....worked 20 parties in eight days, while attending the class. Sleep was a rare thing, barely glimpsed.

And Monday Night we did a record 110 dinners....all without Brendan.

Today, I was just recovering, and we had yet another party up at Heller for Navy spooks.

Our level of exhaustion was such that I gave up and found myself sitting in the side yard of the Store talking with Grandpa Fred Nason. I told him about my ranching class.....

This is like hanging with Leondardo DaVinci....and mentioning that you sent in for a drawing class you heard about on a matchbook.

I asked Grandpa Fred about one thing I had learned: "In the teens and twenties, when there were not so many cows and lots of empty land.....and five or six really busy breweries in Salinas.....folks used to drive to Carmel Valley in the fall and randomly seed acres and acres with barley. No farming, no irrigation.....just spreading seed. In the spring they would return and harvest whatever had grown on its own, and sell the stuff to the breweries. The bottom fell out, not by Prohibition (when did prohibiting anything work on the Central Coast?) but because of the Depression.

Meanwhile...the great-grandchildren of this beer-seed was still out-competing native grasses all over the Central Coast.

Fred was thoughtful. He responded by telling me the location of several of his Dad's stills.....one up by Durney....and another in the bushes over where Galante is now. Fred's mom taught his dad the necessary skills. Pops already could make grappa, but Moms brought in the whiskey expertise. Pops had stills all over Cachagua...it was a miracle he did not burn down the whole valley.

Fred then allowed as how there were probably more schools in Cachagua and the Valley than stills. There was the school at the Bucket. There was a school where Dickie Springs lives now on Cachagua Road (the Steelhead folk are trying to get a Stimulus grant to remove the concrete causeway that went to the School)....There was even a school in the canyon leading to Asoleado, a mile from the Dickie Springs' school: "I don't know how the hell the kids even found that school......"

And of course the Jamesburg School...which was not located in Jamesburg, but in a now secret place I learned about in my grasslands course and the location of which I was sworn to uphold the secrecy thereof. And of course the regular Jamesburg school a few miles away.

And, of course the old school on the Cahoon property that Bookenoogan burned down to avoid National Historic registry the day he bought the place.

So....I learned about five competing schools in an area now served by exactly no schools....and we had not even got to grasslands yet.

Change we can believe in? Can we roll things back to 1900? Kids in Cachagua now meet the bus in the dark at 6am in front of The Store....and return at 4pm...

Anyway....talk of the schools and booze led to talk of the roads....the Finch Creek road that led to the original Jamesburg School before Tassajara Road went through to Carmel Valley Road.

"We lived over here where the Bernardus vineyard is, but my dad had a job working for the County building roads. So did Bill Lambert. They didn't have much equipment.....just an old tractor that pulled a sled...but they had a dump truck, too. They kept everything across the street from the Wagon Wheel....(at Cachagua Road and Carmel Valley Road....kids meet that bus at 6:45am).....

"One day, my dad had to drive over to Salinas to get some dynamite from the County yard....so he took the dump truck.

"Of course....he stopped in a few bars.....(the entire Nason family joined AA thirty years ago.....so there is a quality to Fred's "of course" that needs two or three thousand more words).

"On the way home, he knew he was late and probably in trouble with my mother....so he went as fast as he could in that old dump truck. The box of dynamite started bouncing around in the back....and eventually the box gave out, and sticks of dynamite started bouncing all around the bed of the truck.

"Well, some of them found their way out the back in the gap where the tail gate was....and bounced out onto the road.

"Dad made it home in one piece....but there wasn't much dynamite left in the dump truck by then. The Sheriff got some calls.....and followed the dynamite bread-crumb trail all the way to our house.

"My father had to quit that County job after that......."

Any questions?

2 Comments:

Blogger Marilyn in Cachagua said...

There was also a still at Carmel River down from the old dairy where Jere's greatgrandparents ran cattle. There was a school at what is now known as Carmel Valley Tennis Ranch. Jere's Great Grandmother used to ride her horse from the "Dairy" down Cachagua Road to the school at the Bucket. Stills were reputed to be in the gullies below Sky Ranch. Love the history here.....

7:49 AM  
Blogger toots said...

love your bits of history. Grandpa Fred sounds a bit like the Scaroni family who used to dairy farm above S Cruz. Lots of great stories.

11:12 AM  

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