Thinking, for all sorts of reasons, of old hippie days tonight.
It was such a time.
Perhaps it's because a couple I knew then who were sort of Mom and Dad to so many of us young Tallahassee freaks are celebrating their fiftieth wedding anniversary today.
I remember when I met them and found out that they'd been married for seven years. Seven years! And they had two beautiful daughters and became a very important part of my life.
Or maybe it's because I'm listening to a book by TC Boyle and in it he described a guy who kept a bottle of vodka in his freezer and it flashed me back to when I was with my first husband before we were married and we lived in a predominantly black neighborhood (which is now High Dollar White People World) and rented a little Jim Walters home from a lady named Willie May. Her son, Ben, lived across the road and he was the first person I ever met who kept a bottle of vodka in the freezer.
He told me that when he got home from work, he loved to smell whatever it was I was cooking that night. Black-eyed peas, greens, corn bread...
I was a southern hippie girl.
We lived two doors down from a juke joint called Muzzes'. Muzz, real name Mabel, made the best fried chicken sandwich you'd ever want to eat. She was grace and kindness incarnate.
We had a bulldog named Beck, we hunted mushrooms in the acres and acres and miles of cow pasture behind us. We tripped a lot.
This was all before I had children, but not long before.
It was a time, y'all.
It was a different time and I swear to you, I never gave the least thought to living to the age of 62 in the 21st century and I certainly never thought there would be a president worse than Richard Nixon.
Well. My friends are still married and he's still a musician. My ex-husband is still a musician too.
I don't have a bulldog.
I don't keep my vodka in the freezer.
I don't hunt mushrooms.
But I still cook greens and beans and cornbread and the cornbread is cooked in the same skillet I had then.
I still live in a very mixed neighborhood but goddam it, there's no juke joint in Lloyd at all.
I'm still a hippie in my heart, true to the blood.
And that's what I'm thinking about this Saturday night as greens simmer on my stove.
What a long, strange trip it's been.