FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Cratched Does California

 

It must have been around 10 in the morning of Christmas 1981 and the beans and rice from last night’s meal had long since stopped filling our stomachs. Z and I had been on Telegraph since 8:00 or so feeling like Dylan’s Mr. Tambourine Man. You know–jingle jangle morning and all that. At least the sun was shining. It was California after all.

As the morning passed, about the only other people we saw on the street were some disgruntled policemen who preferred to be home with their families, a hobo or two, and some people going to the church near the university. Oh yeah, and the Persian guy who had a flower stand in front of Cody’s bookstore that was open until 2:00 PM Christmas day for those folks who had forgotten to buy a gift for their lover or their mom or someone else who appreciated flowers. Z and I didn’t have anyone like that, nor did it seem like there would be anybody like that in our near future.

It must have been around noon when a couple frat boys drove up Telegraph in their BMW and yelled something at us. I don’t know whether it was pleasant or not–after a while you just tune out people who have a history of harassing you and frat boys had that kind of history, as did people driving BMWs.

Anyhow, after that car drove by, we noticed the smell of fresh roasted turkey wafting down the avenue. You know how in the cartoons they show the aroma of good food floating like waves across the screen and into some character’s nose? Then the character floats on the fumes towards their source and, just before the dog or cat eats the meat, a human hand appears and takes it away.

Well, that’s how it was with us. That turkey aroma was pulling us in like a sugar donut pulls in flies. We were so hungry we followed the aroma up the street to a midscale restaurant where all we could do was stare at the people eating their Christmas dinners. Nice big slabs of turkey, piles of mashed potatoes with gravy, rolls and butter, pies of pumpkin, pies of mincemeat, all the good things in life. And bottles of wine and beer, too. I would do anything to get some of that food, but what I did instead was walk back down the street with Z and ingest the fumes.

If we weren’t depressed before, we definitely were now. I was ready to go back to the apartment and boil some more beans, if there were any left. Z was ready to just give up. We looked at each other and began to walk away from Telegraph Avenue when the Persian guy called Hey! I looked over, wondering if he was yelling at us or someone else. He looked right at me and beckoned me over to his stand. Bring your friend, he said. I grabbed Z by the coat and we walked over to his stand, wondering what was up. Maybe he was going to ask us to sweep for him and give us a couple bucks. He reached under where he kept his money box in his cart and pulled out two steaming styrofoam to-go containers.

I don’t celebrate your holiday, he said, I am of Islam. But you guys need, what do you say, Christmas cheer. Then he handed us each a hot turkey dinner with a slab of turkey, piles of potatoes and gravy, rolls and butter and a piece of pie. I took the mincemeat and Z took the pumpkin. We felt like two twentieth-century Bob Cratcheds in Ronnie Reagan’s America.

RON JACOBS is author of The Way the Wind Blew: a history of the Weather Underground.

He can be reached at: rjacobs@zoo.uvm.edu

 

More articles by:

Ron Jacobs is the author of Daydream Sunset: Sixties Counterculture in the Seventies published by CounterPunch Books. His latest offering is a pamphlet titled Capitalism: Is the Problem.  He lives in Vermont. He can be reached at: ronj1955@gmail.com.

June 19, 2018
Ann Robertson - Bill Leumer
We Can Thank Top Union Officials for Trump
Lawrence Davidson
The Republican Party Falls Apart, the Democrats Get Stuck
Sheldon Richman
Trump, North Korea, and Iran
Richard Rubenstein
Trump the (Shakespearean) Fool: a New Look at the Dynamics of Trumpism
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
Protect Immigrant Rights; End the Crises That Drive Migration
Gary Leupp
Norway: Just Withdraw From NATO
Kristine Mattis
Nerd Culture, Adultolescence, and the Abdication of Social Priorities
Mike Garrity
The Forest Service Should Not be Above the Law
Colin Todhunter
Pro-GMO Activism And Smears Masquerade As Journalism: From Seralini To Jairam Ramesh, Aruna Rodrigues Puts The Record Straight
Doug Rawlings
Does the Burns/Novick Vietnam Documentary Deserve an Emmy?
Kenneth Surin
2018 Electioneering in Appalachian Virginia
Nino Pagliccia
Chrystia Freeland Fails to See the Emerging Multipolar World
John Forte
Stuart Hall and Us
June 18, 2018
Paul Street
Denuclearize the United States? An Unthinkable Thought
John Pilger
Bring Julian Assange Home
Conn Hallinan
The Spanish Labyrinth
Patrick Cockburn
Attacking Hodeidah is a Deliberate Act of Cruelty by the Trump Administration
Gary Leupp
Trump Gives Bibi Whatever He Wants
Thomas Knapp
Child Abductions: A Conversation It’s Hard to Believe We’re Even Having
Robert Fisk
I Spoke to Palestinians Who Still Hold the Keys to Homes They Fled Decades Ago – Many are Still Determined to Return
Steve Early
Requiem for a Steelworker: Mon Valley Memories of Oil Can Eddie
Jim Scheff
Protect Our National Forests From an Increase in Logging
Adam Parsons
Reclaiming the UN’s Radical Vision of Global Economic Justice
Dean Baker
Manufacturing Production Falls in May and No One Notices
Laura Flanders
Bottom-Up Wins in Virginia’s Primaries
Binoy Kampmark
The Anguish for Lost Buildings: Embers and Death at the Victoria Park Hotel
Weekend Edition
June 15, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Dan Kovalik
The US & Nicaragua: a Case Study in Historical Amnesia & Blindness
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Yellow Journalism and the New Cold War
Charles Pierson
The Day the US Became an Empire
Jonathan Cook
How the Corporate Media Enslave Us to a World of Illusions
Ajamu Baraka
North Korea Issue is Not De-nuclearization But De-Colonization
Andrew Levine
Midterms Coming: Antinomy Ahead
Louisa Willcox
New Information on 2017 Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Deaths Should Nix Trophy Hunting in Core Habitat
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Singapore Fling
Ron Jacobs
What’s So Bad About Peace, Man?
Robert Hunziker
State of the Climate – It’s Alarming!
L. Michael Hager
Acts and Omissions: The NYT’s Flawed Coverage of the Gaza Protest
Dave Lindorff
However Tenuous and Whatever His Motives, Trump’s Summit Agreement with Kim is Praiseworthy
Robert Fantina
Palestine, the United Nations and the Right of Return
Brian Cloughley
Sabre-Rattling With Russia
Chris Wright
To Be or Not to Be? That’s the Question
David Rosen
Why Do Establishment Feminists Hate Sex Workers?
Victor Grossman
A Key Congress in Leipzig
John Eskow
“It’s All Kinderspiel!” Trump, MSNBC, and the 24/7 Horseshit Roundelay
Paul Buhle
The Russians are Coming!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail