Tuesday, May 25, 2010

New friends and New DANGER...

My whole world has completely changed. I’m in a beautiful, strange place reminding me of Fargo, but with water, sunshine, and lots of crazy Southerners. I find myself playing the part of the mysterious new guy in town….but this town is more like a rural lake front community. Beaver Creek is not a metropolis. The entertainment here is confined to Ike’s Bar and Grill, a sports-bar like establishment filled with colorful characters and friendly people and The Flamingo, an exciting, sometimes dangerous biker bar-like establishment also filled with, well…sometimes friendly people. There is also the Riverdeck, a gas station and fast food restaurant with excellent food and a place where you can periodically eat with Steve-O and Wee-man of the infamous Jackass movies, who both own houses nearby. Beaver Creek is a very down to earth place with honest, down to earth people who accept most anybody who’ll take the time to sit and have a drink with them.

I chuckled to myself the first few weeks here as everyone I met seemed to be named Larry or Mike. There’s Captain Mike, Military Mike, Big Mike, Little Mike etc. and then there’s Goodtimes Larry, my jovial neighbor who owns the houseboat adjacent to me, and Trailer Park Larry, who lives in the Camper-trailer area nearby, and a few other Larry’s that I’m not sure what their nicknames were because I was in a…well…alcohol-induced, memory shortened condition when I met them. They all are super-nice, good people who have opened up their welcome wagon to me. I have been blessed to come here and have the opportunity of a lifetime…to live on the big boat at the nicest marina on the lake. It seems the big boats at the marina are somewhat of a status symbol here and if you actually live on one…then you’re somewhat of a celebrity. (Everyone knows everyone here and a stranger sticks out like a sore thumb, much less a stranger on the big boat!)

At first, everyone was a little wary of the new guy in town. They didn’t talk much and were kinda suspicious of me. Upon seeing me for the last several weeks, they have slowly opened up their world to me and suddenly I have people coming up to me and acting as if they’ve known me their whole life.

Ike, the owner of…well…Ike’s…didn’t make me buy a membership to join his private establishment for the first two weeks, but then stopped me at the door to insist that I buy a membership as everyone else had, now that he knew I would be dropping in from time to time…it was now a necessity…and only fair to everyone else who had to. I wasn’t sure if he liked me after that, but for the last two weeks he always comes over to talk and we’ve sat at the bar to chat on a few nights over some beers and I’m certain that he does like me now. He recently offered to send over an electrician he knows to help me with an electrical problem on the boat. He is a very genuinely good person who loves the lake and this community. His employees are Little Bit, the bartender, whose real name is Dana, Jackie, the waitress, and Crash and Hammer the cooks. Crash is a red-headed young lady who was once called Red, but got her new nickname a few months back when she crashed her car and totaled it. Hammer is a hilarious young man in his 20’s who claims he used to weigh over 300lbs and is always in a happy mood, joking, singing loud, and always looking for a woman to sleep with. He once told me he didn’t care how old a woman was or what she looked like, and proved it by hitting on a 70-something year old woman who frequents the bar. (He said she excited him cause she told him the only thing she smoked was in the bed!) Hammer is a story in himself with his contagious laugh and constant joking…

Surprisingly, Ike’s has some of the BEST dance music around! They are constantly playing Prince, The Gap Band, Cameo, Michael Jackson, Steve Wonder, Rick James…(Bitch!), and numerous other oldies but goodies. They also play country and contemporary music from today and I simply love most of the songs I hear there. It is so funny to watch these folks singing 7 Spanish Angels at the top of their lungs and then watch them bob their heads to The Black-Eyed Peas beat. I love to dance, but have been keeping a somewhat low profile…and really haven’t found anyone I wanted to dance with…yet. Though Ike’s has been relatively slow as far a crowd, everyone continues to tell me that by Memorial Day, this place will be packed with people.

One of the things I have thought to be funny is that most of the people who go to Ike’s say The Flamingo, the biker bar which is across the bridge approximately 100 yards away, is way too dangerous to go into. Many people have warned me that I’ll get stabbed or shot and that the place is known for trouble. Of course, THAT is what made me HAVE to go there!

I’ll have to say that Ike’s is always the place to go around 9 or 10, but that usually the adventurous leave there sometime after 12 to meander across the bridge to The Flamingo, which is the Sodom and Gomorrah of Beaver Creek. TC is the owner there. He is a large, portly fellow with a bald head, a big, thick mustache and more tattoos than Amy Winehouse. He looks really tough and mean and I guess he has to look that way to keep peace at the place, but he is really a great guy who just wants everyone to have fun. I must say at this point that I HAVE seen a few fights, but TC and some of his fellow bikers who come to ‘The Dirty Bird’, as I recently found out the biker clans call it, usually break up altercations quickly and throw out any instigators.

The music is always either rock or surprisingly some rap, but usually leans toward older hard rock. They frequently have great bands there. The bands are always good and I have heard some awesome up-and-coming alternative rock bands there. Yes, the crowd is much rowdier than at Ike’s but, much like life, I think everyone should experience all there is out there and danger can be quite exciting. Harmony and Tashia are the bartenders there and are always sweet and even give me a coozie for my beer every time. (Harmony even slipped me her number the other week with my coozie.)

I haven’t really met any single women since being in Beaver Creek, which is ironic to some degree based on it‘s name…lol. It seems every woman who has come up to talk to me was WITH someone else. I have actually caused a few fights at The Mingo….the nickname I’ve given the place. I must say at this point that though I can handle myself and am not afraid to go anywhere, the fights were always between couples who had jealous males that didn’t particularly like their woman hitting on me and flirting with me. They usually are ignoring their mate or treating her disrespectfully and then get mad because she stops to talk to me. I would never want to cause a fight or even stir things up, but when you’re bored and a nice-looking woman comes up to talk to you, it’s hard not to talk back.

Last weekend, a very nice young lady came over and started writing her phone numbers on a napkin and her ex-boyfriend got really angry at her. (She said it was her ex-boyfriend and I assume she’s telling the truth…though I am not a good judge of women telling the truth…this we all know.) He was furious and cussed at her outside as she and her friends all scurried to leave as the bar was closing. He looked at me once….but DJQ knows how to give the Stink-Eyed, Don’t Fuck With Me look and he quickly decided to leave me the hell alone. I ended up staying out wayyyyyy too late regardless.

The next day I woke up and walked out on my Boat’s front porch to see a pretty blond lady standing on the houseboat next to me…I groggily looked over and said “Good morning.” and she laughed and said “It’s 1:00 in the afternoon!”…and then smiled a big, flirty smile at me. My neighbor, Larry, invited me to go out on the water for the day with him, his wife, and two other couples on ‘Goodtimes’, his pimped out adjacent houseboat, and after thinking about it a minute or two, I said “Give me 5 minutes to get my shit together, brother!”

He showed me areas of the lake unknown to me and some really great islands to take my boat this Summer. The blond was quite friendly and playful, especially after the blender got rolling, but she was with her boyfriend and I was not feeling like doing a re-play of the night before. I continuosly avoided her and moved when she would sit close every time her boyfriend walked to the back of the large vessel. She slapped me with a noodle float several different times playfully, splashed me with water continually, and kept giving me that flirtatious smile over and over again, but I was not takin the bait.

It was a fun day in the sun, nonetheless, and I enjoyed the grand beauty of the lake and the friendliness of my neighbor, new friends, and the people who boat there. As we sat on the island and had a beer, I listened to a song that says “I got my toes in water, ass in the sand, not a care in the world, a cold beer in my hand; Life is good today….life is good today”….and I truly was loving life.

Next weekend is Memorial Day weekend and it’s supposed to get wild around here. If yall don’t hear from me after that…I’ve probably found a single girl or a jealous boyfriend’s bullet!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A re-posting of George and the Jump Team for the 4th of July.

I had been living alone in a charming, white cottage in the country with 3 bedrooms and 3 baths and it was really too big for just me. I have 3 children from my only marriage and the home was plenty big enough when they were with me, but it was quite lonely on the weeks without them. On those weeks, I would live like most bachelors do….little food in the house, lots of cleaning undone, and laundry piling up. I would usually watch a movie and head to bed. When it was time for the kids to come stay, I would scramble and clean up (man-clean, that is…) and go to the grocery store for food and snacks for the weekend as well as a quick trip to the video store for the latest movies.
On the weekends without the kids, I would go to the local bars for a drink and hang out for a few frosty beers with my good friend, one-eyed George. George is a jovial, portly fellow who loves to drink heavily and can always be found at the bar...kinda like Norm from Cheers.  He is a great guitarist and was once a great pilot, but lost an eye in a bar fight years ago, which has kept him from flying. George is someone I never thought I’d be friends with, but we had known one another through a mutual friend back when we were 16 or 17 and this friend had re-introduced us recently and we had begun meeting for a few drinks after that. George was a good guy… taking care of his ill father, something I could totally understand and sympathize with. I knew he had a good heart and loved his father and this was the thing that drew us to a close friendship. We would meet for drinks early, leave about the time the crowd showed up to go take his Dad some ice cream and other sweets he craved, and then grill some ribeyes and giant shrimp. It was nothing like my usual routine whatsoever. Don Juan was usually knee deep in women about the time we were going to see his father with the ice cream. It was refreshing to know that I could change…I didn’t need a woman…I could simply be a good friend helping my buddy George take care of his Dad...and didn't need to chase women.

I had not had good luck with relationships since my divorce 10 years ago. I had been through many girlfriends and was tired and disheartened by the relationship thing. I had always been a big believer in love and that one day I would find the love of my life, but I was now jaded and feeling like maybe I was destined to be alone. Why could I not find a woman that was right for me? Why were my hopes and dreams always getting shattered by failure?

It was a time of reflection. It was a time of patience and  growth of understanding.

I had gone out with George that night and we were leaving the bar by 10:00 to take the ice cream home to his dad. This night, however, I had decided to go back to the bar afterward for a beer or two…why, I did not know...but I was determined to go back and have another beer before heading home. An old friend from high school came to me at the bar and urged me to come to his table as another old high school friend was in town. I went over and hugged her and met the whole table. She had brought a friend from where she worked and her friend tapped my glass in a toast of new friendship. She smiled and there was an instant attraction between us. I figured she was married and besides, there was another guy at the table giving her the full court press and dancing with her. I stayed at the table awhile, talking to one of the guys at the table who had just moved to SC from England. I love having drinks with foreigners and finding out what they think about our culture! I ended up leaving when they were ready for breakfast and the friend from high school made me promise to do a FaceBook sign-up on the upcoming Monday. I stopped by a friend's birthday party on the way home and then went straight to bed.
The following Monday I signed my friend from school up on FB and noticed the girl that was with her was on there as well. I actually thought about it for awhile before sending her a friend request, but she accepted the request and sent me a message within the first 30 minutes. Then she sent me another message and then her phone number and by Tuesday, she invited me to meet her for dinner in another city. I actually was not planning on meeting her for dinner, but at the last moment decided ‘what the hell’ and went. She was more beautiful than I remembered and when I followed her into the restaurant I checked out her rear and thought it was one of the nicest ones I had ever seen. We looked into one another’s eyes and laughed and talked till it was later than we both realized. Time had flown by and it was time to leave. We texted one another all the way home and then the next day as well. The texting was flirty and sexy and I found myself anxiously awaiting her next move. By that Thursday, between the texting and messaging, we both couldn’t wait to see each other again.

Friday was the 3rd of July and I was awaiting getting my kids when my ex called and said they had plans at the lake and would it be ok if they came the next weekend. I have always been ok with their schedules and told her that was fine. I got off the phone and immediately texted my new friend and she texted back that she wanted to come spend time with me if that was alright. My heart lept with anticipation and I was very excited that we would be spending the weekend together…and then I realized I had only a few hours to clean up…and scrambled like hell to make my bachelor pad presentable to a lady.

She came and we went out for a few drinks with George. George instantly liked her and wanted us to join him for the 4th of July Jumpteam. The city has a big celebration and there is a jump team that lands in the middle of the crowd in a designated area.  George told us it was an honor to be a member of  The Jump Team.  We laughed and said ‘sure, sounds like fun!’ and really didn’t think anything about it.

We left George to go to another club where we could dance. We hadn’t even kissed yet.

We were feeling good by now from the alcohol and a slow song came on and we jumped out on the dance floor.  It was a beautiful country ballad and before it was over, we found ourselves kissing passionately on the dance floor and probably making everyone in the club a little uncomfortable. The song ended….but we didn’t hear it….we were lost in the kiss and continued long after it was over. The crowd was mesmerized at the couple who had such unbelievable passion. They probably all wished they had that much attraction for someone in their life.  I know I was long overdue and loving it!!

We left and that night we had unbelievable passion and fun together. We talked about life and love and looked into each other’s eyes. Everytime we kissed, her lips just met mine so dang perfectly….it was as if we had been kissing our whole lives together. I kept thinking to myself…”can this be really happening to ME?” 

The next day was the 4th of July. Late that afternoon we met up with George. He met us at a bar and he had obviously been drinking. He was dressed in his flight suit and looked like he couldn’t breath it was so tight. It was like seeing Chris Farley in Tom Cruise’s Topgun suit. It was hysterical, but he DID look official. So we climb into George’s Cadillac and proceeded to the park a block away where the festivities were taking place. He said we were running late and needed to find the 'Jumpzone', which would be near a black suped-up 68 El Camino with rims. We get there and realize that there are A LOT of people at this celebration...thousands of people walking around!!   We see hundreds of police cars. George flies up to the first one we come to and rolls the window down. I’m a little nervous because I know George has definitely had a drink or two, but not sure how much. My new lady friend is in the front seat and I’m stuck in the backseat. The policeman comes to the window and George yells out in a slightly intoxicated tone “We’re with the JUMPTEAM, where’s the landing zone? Have you seen a suped-up, black 68 El Camino with rims?!!” My heart jumped with fear….I knew the policeman HAD to know he had been drinking. The policeman, a little stunned by the directness and oddness of the question and seeing George all decked out like a Topgun instuctor, says he is not sure and waves us through the crowd of cars.

I breathed a sigh of relief until George heads to the next officer and, just as quickly and directly, yells out “We’re with the JUMPTEAM, have you seen a black, suped-up, 68 El Camino with rims?!!” This officer, just as stunned as the first, sent us in a general direction and we passed a few more officers who all got the same statement and question. Each one was baffled, but respectful of the Jumpteam and George’s Topgun outfit. George heads to the crowded area where people are all walking like ants and starts to drive through the crowd…and all the while I’m in the back seat pressing the floorboard and praying as I know he’s had a drink or two and can’t see and I’m about to shit my pants in the back seat out of sheer terror that One-eyed George is gonna run people over. I know he can’t see too well between his one eye and the mass of people slowly walking around us. My girl in the front seat looks just as nervous….hell, she barely knew ME, much less this one-eyed Jumpmaster in a much too tight Topgun suit!

A few seconds later and we were traveling in the only car allowed in the sea of people. I yell out “Look out for the baby stroller, George!!!” at the top of my lungs!  I was petrified he would hit someone....all I can think about is getting the heck out of the car before the police come and arrest us all. We zigzag through the crowd of people a little while longer and finally get to a place where the Black 68 suped-up El Camino is. The Jumpteam IS there alright….and they had jumped 30 minutes EARLIER.   It was a nice suped-up black 68 El Camino for sure, though...

George tells us the Jumpmaster and his wife having a big party at their home and they actually jump in the pool naked during these parties.  I look over at the 60ish couple and shiver at the thought...(I tell George sure, but my mind is saying "no fckin way, homie!")

George tries to convince us to go to the airport for a flight in the airplane as he was certain he could convince the pilot into taking us up for a little while, but my nerves were shot and I was hoping my lady friend was not totally frightened away from our newly developing romance at this point.  As we pulled up to where we had met George, he says “This is not the airport?!” and was genuinely confused…which made getting out of the car even more expediant and necessary. At that moment, all I could think about was getting OUT of that car and to safety. We both thanked George and decided to go back to my house as we were both tired and a little rattled. It was a quiet trip home and I was thinking to myself she probably thinks I am crazy as hell and my friends are even crazier. Once we got home, we looked at one another and I blurted out “That was the craziest shit I have ever seen.” and we both busted into hysterical laughter at how insane it all was and how frightened we had been. We laughed until we had tears rolling and our sides hurt... It was a crazy and insane time, but we had officially been on the JUMPTEAM for the 4th of July celebration.  It was a funny day that we all will remember for the rest of our lives.

George, you are one of a kind, and I love you, Brother!!!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

How do you learn to trust again?....

I have been in love and have been loved before.  I think alot of people get feelings of love, but time has a way of changing everything.  The fairy tales and movies all tell us that there is a happily-ever-after and that love will last.....but does it?   I want to believe in love and feel in my heart that there may be someone out there for me....but is that wishful thinking?...simply hoping?...

My parents had a love that lasted a lifetime.  My mother passed away in 2007 and I know for a fact that my father will never marry again nor even contemplate it.  SHE WAS the love of his life.   They were happy together for their whole lives.  It's something that I would love to find....but are we in a different era now?....are the days of happy marriages over?.....is true love doomed?

Technology and media today are SO fast and there is so much to do and see and temptations are flying at us at the speed of sound.  People can be texted and emailed with temptations all day and I think that cheating on a spouse is made much easier than ever before....which makes me even less expectatious of true love.

My last relationship was the one I thought I was waiting for.  It exploded into passion and desire.   We were like high schoolers giddy with love for one another and we both did all we could to see each other and spend time together as much as possible.  We were best friends....or so I thought...and we laughed, played, made love like rabbits any and everywhere, had fun like kids,  and even cried together when we lost our dog.  I believed and trusted everything she told me because I loved her.  I love with all my heart and soul and believe that everyone should do the same when they come across 'true love'.

My trust was shattered, however.   Our slogan was 'forever and a day'....and that we would love one another the rest of our days...and would marry as soon as we could.   As beautiful and sweet and loving as she was....I found out that things were not as they seemed.   The first flag was one day as I stood next to her, she received a text from an ex-boyfriend whose name came up on the phone as the text came through....and when I asked her who it was from, she replied one of her girlfriends....upon which I told her that I loved her and expected the truth from her....and that I knew she had just lied.   She was totally taken aback that I wasn't furious and asking her to leave.   I asked her if she was still talking to him and she said 'no' and I told her to never lie to me again and that the incident would be forgiven.  Then, much later in the relationship, I discovered a receipt one day from a restaurant with 2 people on it and she had supposedly gone to see her children that weekend....I was told a lie about the dinner....this I now know.  I have to wonder how much of what I was told was a lie.  I find myself wondering if I'll ever be able to trust again.   I had opened my heart, my family, my whole world up to her and put her needs before my own and did my best to take care of her and love and respect her.....the way a good man should.....only to be taken advantage of and lied to.  I am SO friggin stupid that at times I STILL believe that what we had was real and that maybe I'm wrong about her....and I get mad at myself for being so gullable and soft hearted, wanting to believe in something that may have never been real at all.

HOW do you find trust and a way to believe again?   My heart is saddened by this.....and I wonder how I will be able to really trust someone with my heart again.   I try and stay busy and not think about it, but I know deep down that I'm really gonna have trouble taking love seriously again.   I want true love and a lifelong companion to spoil.....but is true love real?   I sit on my boat in my peaceful, serene setting and ponder this alot...

Sorry....no anwers yet, folks....but I guess this is why I am Don Juan Quixote and have a quest to continue....and as the Zen Master always says when you climb the mountain to ask him a question...."We shall see..."

Monday, May 3, 2010

Ducklings and children...

This weekend was the first weekend my two youngest could make it to the boat.  Though they have wanted to, the schedule for soccer finals and end of the year events at school kept them from getting there.  I was so excited for them to see it and to spend some quality time with them.

That morning, as I left for work, a duck and her ducklings came up to the boat and reminded me how nature and life sometimes are a mirror of one another.  Zen says that there is one moon in a pool and in every pool is the one moon.  I took some quick pictures before work and headed out...

They were ecstatic when they got there.  My youngest, who is 10,  kept saying we had our own ship like in Pirates of the Carribean!   She is so sweet and loving....she was simply happy to be spending time with her dad.  I let her sit in my lap as much as she wanted and we explored the whole boat together with her brother, who is 13.   They were excited about the adventures they would be taking with their dad now that we had a vessel that we could take out and seek new worlds with.

We went to the marina store and bought some fishing gear and bait and spent the weekend listening to music and fishing.  We caught about 40 fish, but released them when they looked as if they were having trouble breathing in the fish bucket.  We could have caught even more, but got tired of taking them off the hook once nightfall set in.  My son is a great young man...he is always patient with his little sister and helps her in any way he can.  I had to smile as he carefully explained to her how to take a fish off of the hook without hurting it too much and without it hurting you too much with it's fins.

Yep, it was a weekend to remember and I got 2 thumbs up on our new lifestyle of living on the water.  I had to laugh at my son, who continually got texts and phone calls from girls....he was talking to one and said he was at his dad's house....on a boat...and the house was the boat.  We both laughed at it.

My kids mean the world to me....I wish I could get them all the time, but I know they also have a life beyond our world and I want them to be free to experience all that life has to offer like their dad has.   I couldn't be prouder of them or love them any more than I do...

Oh, and one more thing we did....we christened the swimming at the boat.  After a few hours of talking about it, we found the ladder to hook to the side and my son courageously jumped in and his little sister was not far behind.  Dad joined in a few minutes later after testing the temperature with his toe first...