Toadily Thankful on Cranksgiving

Role reversal

Role reversal

Beauty and the Beast (attempting to put on lipstick)

Beauty and the Beast (attempting to put on lipstick)

Josh's Pygmy Forest Cafe


Still grateful for having lived 53 years, about 1/3 of them with “Appetite Seminars” on the fourth November Thursday, beginning that fateful 1980 day with Darryl Skrabak:  we rolled into Fairfax

a) on the wrong bikes : Jack Taylor touring model and Raleigh Sprite        5-speed; skinny tired machines from England.

b) hardshell helmets on our heads (gasp! “they must be planning to crash!”)

c) maybe even wearing the wrong clothing. Yes, definitely. Darryl in mid-century geek gear, and me in short-shorts, knee socks, and toy     affixed     to brain bucket.

d) ultimate insult: we were out-of-town infidels! The very first.

Since five hundred or more lycra-clad fatheads convene here now, mtb biking is fully mainstreamed (I hear Hummer is sponsoring a team) I wanted to honor the anti-dress code feeling, so I wore a dirndle dress from Austria (think St. Pauli girl minus the rack) and the Pebbles Flinstsone hairdo I’ve come to favor…a spray of twisted graybrown dreads with beads in ’em. Oh, and banjo.

Downtown, I trawled for friends but encountered the traffic stopping Mr. Johnson the Bubble man instead.  Massive rainbow sculptures of ephemeral saponic sublimity swelled out of his huge hoop and took on different shapes as they wobbled over the park and Bolinas Road,  popping silently with a miniscule gobbet to show for itself on the pavement.

Soap bubbles are among the thinnest films known.

“The weather’s perfect: no wind, nice and humid” he said as he expertly waved another rainbow worm into the morning air.

“May I commission one?” I asked, thinking I could snick a pic of one circling my Cunningham laying on the sidewalk.

His repartee was something along the lines of : “but then would it be art?” and once again I thanked  er…Horus (deity of the month!) that I live in Fairfax. Where bubble- makers resist  the pressures of their uncomprehending public.

I peeled myself away as sleepytown traffic crawled past admiringly, and as I headed up Bo road I noticed from the corner of my eye a pair of cyclists packing their pockets with the green feijoa fruit that until now I’d never seen anyone touch.  More gleaners!

Up the hill, ran into Rachel Lloyd and Sam Leuk her sweetie. Something must have been terribly wrong because I don’t usually CATCH Ms. Lloyd. They eventually raced off, leaving me alone to crawl slowly, oh so carefully up Triple Ripple, the serpentine steeps where you deploy every trick (eyeball traction, blinders, x-ray vision) to cling to the terrain, rather than spin out and have to trudge up.

Someone behind me was egging me on about my ‘professional line’, and how ‘easy it is to follow’.

Can I have that in writing, please?
UP on the True Smoker’s Knoll a handful of folks shared their drugs while I tuned the banjo, and whereupon arrived John Loomis –aka Lothar, conqueror of the Universe–one of my three fave Cretacious Era racing chums (Ramona and Repete you KNOW you’re the other legs of my cherished trinity).

We caught up on the past year and as we rolled down the knoll, I knew that dressed as I was and with the instrument, lack of helmet, and general caution, I wouldn’t see him again.

But at the T-intersection five minutes downhill from the knoll, a different band: Inglis brothers Curtis and other one, Scot Nicol, and a few Kiwis, a sheriff on 4×4 moto, and others stood around to watch all the riders careening down the perfect traction, swift-bike descent. Within five minutes I’d handed out all my boast cards (Jan Heine’s latest book The Competition Bicycle) and damn if Lothar didn’t come back for me, saying he’d waited ten minutes further down the Big Carson canyon, and decided to retrace his treads.

To me that is PROOF that he CARES.

When someone will actually go back to find you, make sure you’re OK, that is my definition of a friend.

So we resumed talk about his twelvemonth break from engineering (and it will go on a couple more years! Yay, maybe I can go kayaking with him in Baja sometime after all)…whereupon we got to the next intersection with a couple dozen people giving out samples of GU (no, I don’t touch the stuff. I need chocolate about now).

Rather than stop, I carried on (again, at a crawl) until the triangle-in-the-road to Tamarancho where Josh & co. had their little breakfast-in-the Sargent-cypress-pygmy-forest cafe. Hot coffee with homemade hooch (for those who begged for it) and a couple of beautiful flapjacks were generously passed up from the two trailside chefs who’d bike-trailered their goods a very very long way up… I was too excited to eat more than a bit of pancake, but my friend Heather took care of the rest, and passed me the coffee while I again twanged the instrument for atmospheric enhancement.

Wish I knew more than Soldier’s Joy and New River Train (when there’s a fiddler, I can pretty much follow any tune but there is something quite stuck-in-a-rut about my playing these days.. not very adventurous).

Rolled down Repack flawlessly and saw many many rangers out …doing what?

Getting double time, anyway! Good on them, during the economic crisis..
Drove quiet freeway (southbound 101; northbound was gridlock’t) to Toad Hall where delicious aromas greeted me. Charlie is putting the finishing touches on mom-levator, Carol and the great Marci Collin gab in the sun room while I admire all the food I didn’t have to prepare. All I did was bring my appetite and leave my critic at home. Twas grand.

Capon, tatties, green beans, dressing-from-a-box (YOU be the critic!) and two gravies: my ginger-infused, drippings type, and the ‘sauce de dinde’ stuff in a jar that a friend of Carol’s swears by. Er, guess I didn’t pack the critic tightly enough in the closet.
As always, always, always, I realize the gifts of a real family that really loves its members, with me an’ Marcie the stowaways from the planet Dysfunxia basking in the glow…

For dessert, chocolate and more chocolate. Fondants from See’s, and flourless chococupcakes, and chocolate ice cream, and oh, god…no more…please.
Tomorrow is Not Shopping Day (except for the Fools That Follow Orders)…

~ by jacquiephelan on November 28, 2008.

3 Responses to “Toadily Thankful on Cranksgiving”

  1. For once I got out of town at a respectable hour, about 8:00, in the company of GF and GF, and two fellows from Idaho, one of whom had sponsored a riding vacation there for me earlier this year.

    Brilliant sunshine as we entered the OPEN gate to Pine Mountain Truck Road, but the fog rolled across the landscape as we watched.

    Wanted to show my friends the view from The One True Knoll, but visibility was like the middle of a milk bottle. Hung out for about fifteen minutes at 9:30, then headed down.

    Just got the rhythm of the descent, and got a flat. Wow, a 29er takes a LOT of air! By the time I got back on, a slow crowd had caught up and dawdled in the slippyslidy and messed up my plummet.

    I had made a cash contribution to Josh’s effort, but didn’t bother to partake. I get high on…life, or whatever, but I don’t need to be impaired on Repack.

    Repack was a religious experience. It’s where my life took a sudden and permanent turn, and it is five minutes of worship of the only god know. Blew past people like they were going the other way, and the new bike forgives any departure from the “right” line while you skate past the newbies on parts of the road you have never used before. Conditions = perfect, tacky but not wet, just like my jersey.

    I even finished in time for beer back in town, credit the cold on the Knoll for getting me motivated to finish before noon for the first time ever.

  2. I’ve come upon you nearly every seminar I’ve done – feel like it’s part of the tradition – so I was very surprised not to see you this year. Glad to hear you were out playing minstrel to the mountains again. I did meet CK after finishing his “downhill de dios”, and we had a nice little chat on the way to the beer. What a day, huh? What we lacked in epic views we made up for in ticky-tacky trails. Here’s a joke you might appreciate: how does a banjo player make a million dollars? Start out with two million. Badump-bump.

  3. old g/f that played once shouted at me at the music store.. “Don’t forget, sweetheart, I need a new G string.”

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