Last week got word that Pablo was dying.....
Two different women had driven him to town last week for medical care.....and Pablo hitchhiked back to Cachagua (with pneumonia!) because it turns out that modern hospitals don't allow smoking! What is the world coming to.....
Finally, he was so weak that he couldn't get up, or even really move. We at The Store kept sending up plates of food....risking Pablo's ire. Pablo may SEEM homeless....living in a tiny trailer in the woods on someone else's property, getting around on a bicycle....but he pays his bills on time, every month.
Pablo is about a million years old....well, he was a Navy guy at Okinawa. Which means he was at least 20 in 1945...which puts him at around 85 now.
He was a Navy guy, a union meat cutter for years (Nielsen's for old man Nielsen in Carmel)....and who knows what else.
Amanda was the first to point out that 85 year old Pablo has the best legs in Cachagua...and that is pretty much accepted gospel at this point. Pablo also makes his own teeth, that he carves from wood or ivory or whatever is laying around. George Washington style. Pablo gets really irate about the whole George Washington thing...he claims that if George had someone decent to carve his teeth, he wouldn't have gotten the infection that finally killed him.
Pablo is one of the most honest and brutally frank people I have ever met. Years ago when we first bought The Store he came in to talk to me about my cigarette selection. Now, I don't smoke...never have....and my brother and sister-in-law both died at 47 from lung cancer. "Mike, you have to get the hard packs, not the soft packs. See, guys like me...we keep our drugs in our cigarette packs and they need to be hard and tight so our stuff doesn't get smashed when we are fucked up."
Sure thing, Pablo....Hard packs.
One Sunday Brunch Pablo came in and was screwing around with a baggie: "Michael....I just scored an ounce of mushrooms! You want some?" No, Pablo...sorry, I have to work. "Well, more for me! Can you put these babies in an omelette?" The whole ounce, Pablo? "Shit, man! It must be a holiday....and besides.....I am a professional!" Done and done.
Pablo loves young people, and has met most of my Stanford students. When one of them was reading Richard Brautigan (Confederate General From Big Sur...the funniest book ever written in or about Monterey County) and mentioned it.....Pablo got all excited: "James, James, James Brautigan. Oh my lord....it brings me back. I helped him out big time one time. He got stuck with a dead body after a party in Oakland he threw. He and I drove the stiff across the Richmond bridge....and dumped it front of San Quentin!" I believe him.
Pablo's son is Fred....a truly homeless guy. Fred used to live in one of the gorgeous cabins on the river in Princes Camp....for $250 a month....until he decided that his money was better spent on drugs and alcohol than rent. Fred has a beautiful boxer named Henry who was a major source of funding for the homeless who live around Whole Foods....though the boys had mountains of organic dog food from the Pebble Beach ladies, and not so much cash. Fred has moved back to Cachagua to take care of his dad.....
Pablo pretty much died on Tuesday. We were working, so I sent up some funky-ass food to cheer him up: lamb's tongues, chile verde and chanterelles. We kept it up during the week....goat paprikash, whatever was tasty and weird. Pablo was bed-ridden, so he kept sending requests down the hill with our messengers: A .22 rifle, four hits of acid, some methampetamine, a little pot, some more goat tacos, and a bottle of peppermint schnapps.....and a couple of packs of Camel straights. A pretty typical last meal request from an 85 year old.
Pablo's near passing had an electric effect on the Cachagua community.....all manner of folk rallied to his aid, and we all realized how important he was to all of us....and each of us. No one would bring Pablo any smokes, any meth.....not sure about the LSD.
For Sunday, I ordered Wagyu beef brisket from Nishima Ranch in NorCal......corned it myself, and made corned beef hash for what I thought might be Pablo's last meal on Sunday: hash browns, corned beef hash and a soft-poached egg. I sent it up the hill with James on a chipped plate and gave a big sigh.
Later that day, Cachagua had our Christmas Tree Lighting with Pastor Orville and his crew at The Store/Church. A hundred or so folks turned out......
The photo attached was taken by Orville (who was the lead photographer at The Herald for 30 years).
Apparently, Pablo came down the hill the two miles from his trailer for the tree lighting....
Or the four hits of acid, the weed, the Camels, the schnapps and the meth.
Jesus, even when you are dying....you can't trust people.
If you want a job done right.....do it yourself!