Dear friends, I am very happy to be able to bring you this adventure, which has been lost in my archives for well over a decade. It happened exactly 15 years ago today, to the minute (I’ve timed this to publish exactly at 12:15…you will soon see why). I was excited to be at the 30th anniversary of the fabled 1967 Summer Of Love, right in San Francisco where it all happened, but I had no idea what I was in for. It turned out to be my first experience with edibles and my first glimpse at the elusive level . Bear in mind that I had thought at that point that all my drug use was way in the past, and I certainly had no inkling of my future self as Old Hippie.
I wrote most of this up the same night it happened (except the last paragraph), and posted it on my blog/website (yes, some of us really had them even back in those days), but it was password-protected to keep it out of the prying eyes of search engines (they had those too!). So only my closest friends — less than a dozen people — have ever read this before today.
After I started writing as Old Hippie, I remembered this story as one of the best things I had ever written, and a classic example of someone writing under the influence of cannabis. But I couldn’t find it anywhere, although I knew I had saved it. Finally, I discovered it in a ZIPped archive that I had made last century, and knew I had to share it with you. Today.
- My sons were 3 and 8 at the time.
- I’ve left everything exactly as it was in the 1997 original, other than fixing broken links and removing/changing names and such, except the original psychedelic background, which made it very hard to read.
- I know you’ll want the recipe. I haven’t tried it yet, but this is the closest I can find to what I remember from the ingredients used.
- My biggest surprise was that the Summer Of Love website is still up and running and looking great!
Nugs and hugs forever,
P.S. Dedicated to D.T. and all good daddies everywhere.
I couldn’t miss it.
After hearing about a celebration planned in honor of the first Human Be-In, and finding they even had a pretty good Web site, how could I miss it? Heck, I live in California, there’s just no excuse. Besides, this was a good chance (even if it was a bad idea 🙂 to expose the kids to a bit of Sixties culture.
In true Sixties style, we crashed at our friends’ pad in the Mission District the night before and had great Chinese food and ice cream with V and her kids. V was a good friend of mine back in the Sixties and I vaguely remember going to a few concerts and happenings with her back then, so it was Good Karma or something. Besides, our boys are about the same ages and they all love reptiles!
Anyway, we got to Golden Gate Park at just about noon, and first we checked out an area where lots of people were standing around drumming or listening. Already it was starting to feel like Woodstock (the only exceptions being a Cellular One booth and a few cops walking around, but neither of them bothered anybody that I could see) and I was starting to smile like crazy. The vibes were definitely there.
By 12:15 we’re all bopping around and I see some white guy with dreadlocks carrying a basket of greenish balls that look like big hacky sacks. He had a bunch of anti-plutonium flyers, so I thought maybe these were part of some weird anti-nuclear demonstration and the green balls were supposed to represent the uranium-filled cores of a nuclear bomb or something. So I asked him what they were, and he told me “Ganja Goo Balls”.
OK, alright, I can dig it, and I dug it very fast too. I waved Felicity and the kids on ahead. “Can’t let the kids see me smoking…” I winked at him, as I started digging out the $3 he was asking. Someone else asked how much “stuff” was in them, and he said “about a gram of buds in each”. I didn’t care about quantities, I just felt this guy was cool and I knew I had to try one of these. I once had had a rather bad experience eating hashish but that was just raw hash on an empty stomach and this was basically a dessert, with nuts and chocolate and some sticky stuff and oh yes, a gram of buds. Hell, it was worth three bucks even without the additives.
I finished it all, licking the last pieces off my fingers, as I got back up to F&TK (Felicity and the Kids, not to be confused with a punk band or anything). My son asked what it was and I told him it was some rum cake, which I thought was stretching things but at least he can relate to that, I’m not about to tell him anything else and that’s enough information for now. I assumed Felicity knew what I was talking about but I did make it clearer later.
Anyway, I waited on lines for some food and juice with F&TK, and then we went to unfold our tarp and sit down where we were sort of near the stage and listen to music and the first of what would be many political diatribes for people to love your brother or else we’ll kill you (well, those weren’t the exact words but pretty close to the sentiment. Some of the speakers were a bit mellower. Like Wavy Gravy, who was the main bozo on his own bus). They take politics pretty serious in San Francisco…
After about an hour, I thought a few colors seemed brighter and I was still smiling a lot, so I felt things were OK and if I felt no more effect than that from the Goo, that was OK. This may be contrasted with the feeling I had approximately an hour after that, which was that I didn’t want to really move from where I was sitting, and I didn’t have to, and I couldn’t anyway. But Felicity said the kids were getting restless and we should look for the kids’ tent that they were talking about on the Web site. So I did, in fact, stand up, and we proceeded in a highly circular ambulatory manner to the destination of the kids’ tent.
I Dreamed I Saw Jet Planes Riding Shotgun in the Sky
Felicity saw a lady selling stained glass bubble wands, which were exactly what she wanted because our youngest son had been driving her nuts about bubbles for a week or so, so she bought one. Just about then was when the Blue Angels started their act, as part of Fleet Week which had been going on all weekend. Their act was for the crowds at Fisherman’s Wharf, so what we saw was them doing the maneuvers necessary to get back to their aerobatic box there, which were quite striking on their own…and the kids of course, loved it. But I suddenly flashed…it was a total parallel to Woodstock now…jet fighters flying overhead?!?!?!? Holy cow!
It came to pass that both of my children did, in fact, enter the portal of the kids’ tent and that Felicity did then decide to take off all the stuff she was carrying around and go walking around somewhere else, which in fact was to buy yet another bubble wand of power. And I did, on pain of what I knew would be instant death and eternal misery, sit myself down before–and cast my eyes upon–that selfsame portal to insure that, even though I was internally undergoing that well-remembered voyage into pure high consciousness, I was still a Daddy and I was going to make sure my kids did not slip away from that tent without me knowing about it.
Every consciousness-raising is a bit like a roller coaster…once it starts, you’re committed, no matter what, until the ride is over. But it isn’t always easy holding on. This, though, was the magic high: the ride I’ve been looking for all my life. You know, like when you first try acid, and the trip part is just a bit too much and you say to yourself (and anyone else who’s still listening to you): “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if you could take something and it wouldn’t be like that messy pot smoke hurting your lungs and making you cough and it would be like an acid high but it would last for hours and it would be clear and beautiful and there would be no side effects and you would just feel good? Huh?” But it never happens because your choices for this are generally either acid, which is acid for gosh sakes, or enough pot to be too much and that can be scarier. But this was just perfect. And it tasted good, too.
I smoke two joints in time of peace
And two in time of war
I smoke two joints before I smoke two joints
And then I smoke two more
— “Smoke Two Joints”, The Toyes
I was hoping to find the Goo Ball guy again and thank him for being, like, the best cook in the world, but I didn’t. At this point I was happy to be sitting upright. I was, in fact, insanely happy with everything. Felicity seemed to be gone for quite a while and it occurred to me at this point that if she returned, with, say, some inane-looking guy in tow, and said, “Darling, I’m going off to Mexico with this guy Kenny I just met and taking the kids too when they come out of the tent”, that I would have smiled at them both, wished them good luck, and even told Kenny which side she preferred being scratched on (the left, if anyone is interested). As long as they didn’t ask me to get up, like to hug them goodbye or anything, it would have been OK.
But Felicity did return (alone) with her magic wand, and just then the kids popped out of the tent, and I was concerned that I would have to then attempt to stand up in front of my own children, which attempt was destined to fail in what I was sure was going to be an incredibly creative and spectacular way, wherein my oldest son would be able to retell time and time again to his playground buddies how his own father turned into the India Rubber Man right before his eyes and slowly sank to the ground as a grinning puddle of Silly Putty®.
Luckily, however, Felicity wanted to walkabout again, this time with our youngest so they could both go potty, which I have found both women and young children do on a frequent basis. This left me with my oldest son, and I asked him to stay with me rather than going back into the tent. I didn’t want to tell him outright, however, that I was at this point not competent to sit by myself there in the shade. But I was very glad he stayed, because he, unaffected by spurious chemicals (unless there was something in the hamburgers we both ate), was a witness to the fact that a fellow wearing blue tie-dyes, and looking like Jerry Garcia’s rabbi, came around and serenaded us by playing guitar with nothing but the most normal everyday chords in sequence, but he sounded like Eric Clapton being carried up to heaven on a winged chariot. I was sitting there with my mouth open, hopefully not drooling, but certainly feeling quite religious indeed. He had been wandering all over the area, but stopped in front of us and played two entire pieces comprised of six chords never repeated once but it sounded like an entire rock opera.
Then he wandered off and Felicity came back and it was time for the kids to play in the tent again, which left me and Felicity sitting outside the tent alone for about 300 years, but it was probably only 12 minutes. Time was slowing way down and the next thing that happened was that Felicity wanted us to pick a final seat nearer the stage where we would sit till the end at about 6 PM. So we started walking. She just doesn’t have enough experience with drug effects though, because she let me lead.
So I kept walking. And looking at people. And walking. And looking. And soon it became like a movie. You know that 24-hour Andy Warhol movie? Well, I was pretty sure no more than a few days had passed, and suddenly I realized we were still walking! I was sure Felicity was going to be mad about this, but she didn’t say a word and in fact looked pretty happy. So I kept walking. I found a likely place, but some guy nearby started cursing the political loony then speaking on stage, so we hurried away as we didn’t want our sensitive children hearing such epithets (we have our own set, thank you). We kept walking. At one point a woman passed us and gave me one of those smiles…and I gave her one back, then she really gave me one back, and at that point I saw she was already holding hands with another woman…so my mojo seemed to be working way overtime :-).
We finally found a place from which we could see the stage, if we stood up and looked real hard, but it did have 2 benefits (a) it was not so close to the stage that people would be crowding over us all the time and falling down etc. and (b) it was 15′ from a PA speaker. I did want my oldest son to be exposed to some of the stuff that happens at one of these events and I certainly picked the right spot. He saw lots of interesting stuff all right, such as people smoking bongs and a woman freaking out right next to where we were sitting (I mean seriously freaking out, screaming and wailing and stuff) and all sorts of people obviously stoned to the gills dancing their heads off, not to mention me dancing my head off, though I get crazily into the music just from the music as numerous people can attest.
But what was most interesting to me was how good and into the music the other people were. There was this guy playing a drum who added so much to the music on stage (especially Jefferson Starship), probably because he knew their stuff so well, that I pointed out to our eldest son that when they release the CD of this event it will be different, because we heard this guy playing and that won’t be on the CD so it will be missing something. I don’t know if he understood but I thought he did. Country Joe was there too, doing acoustic numbers. And I was quite high, yes, but I did notice that the drum guy’s back tattoo incorrectly read “Harley Davison”, which Felicity didn’t notice although she was watching him also, and I even had the sense not to point this permanent typo out to the guy himself.
I told our son he had to make sure that he had kids and that his kids had kids…”Why?”…”Well, so you can tell your grandchildren that your dad took you to see Country Joe and Jefferson Starship in San Francisco at a Be-In…”
The high was fantastic. It was just on the edge of being too strong for about an hour, but I controlled it, and the rest of it has been just amazing…except for some major mouth dryness, no ill or side effects whatsoever. I felt mentally and physically normal except…and I never lost control of my body, could get up when necessary (just didn’t want to, except to stand up to dance).
Some woman came by and gave our eldest son a miniature red rose. He beamed. I told him how auspicious it was to be given flowers by strange women, even in San Francisco at a Be-In.
We left, and Felicity insisted that she wasn’t going to drive in no San Francisco (even though this was the only part of it with no hills and no traffic and etc). Luckily, I was mostly down to smiling like a lunatic by this time, and had no trouble driving (no slowed reflexes or extra ones for things that weren’t there). We went to a Dim Sum place on Geary Blvd., where I enjoyed having the munchies, then drove (yes, she still insisted I do it) all the way home. I still felt the effects the next day, until about 24 hours total had passed.