Friday, October 9, 2009


About this time on Friday night sometime in the ‘70’s I’d be sitting in Greg and Kenny Presutty’s basement, in a smoky haze, passing the bong and sipping on some beer. We’d be listening to music, maybe from an 8 track but most likely on an album. The stereo would be decent, Harman Kardon if I remember right, with every speaker we could cobble together hooked up to it. Genesis, Zeppelin, Skynyrd, The CDB and Bowie were staples. Ten Years After, Nugent, Tull and some Johnny Winter could always set the proper mood.

The walls of the room we used were made out of old sheets and blankets hanging from the floor joists with a bunch of beads serving as a door. All the furniture was second hand, maybe third. Plenty of ashtrays because we all smoked. Posters and black lights were the norm along with lava lamps and bean bag chairs. We had an old rug on the floor and a painting on the wall we did while we were cooked one night with a bunch of day-glow paint we found laying around. It had something to do with the moon and a bunch of cartoon characters. Believe me, there was nothing profound about it.

There was nothing profound about anything to do with the Seventies. The Sixties were all about changing the world, peace, love, understanding and all that other silly crap. The drugs were a means of enlightenment. In the Seventies, we cut out the middle man and went straight for the drugs. We made no excuses, either. We were there for the party!

People would come in and out of the basement all night long. Everybody would bring something to drink or some smoke so the party could just keep going. It was the place where the jocks and the freaks got together and had a good time without the social strictures that were in place at school. There were never any fights or other problems. Every once in awhile it would get too loud, though and someone would call the police. That just kept it interesting. Of course, back then, the cops generally just took all the drugs and booze for themselves and made us all go home. No harm, no foul. I had some friends that were cops back then and they always had the best dope at their parties.

I’ve lost track of most of the people that I knew then. I heard Kenny killed himself and Greg lives somewhere on the East coast. I can’t drink like I used to and I haven’t smoked any dope for years; I’d just end up in the fetal position, so what’s the point? My eyes have gotten so bad that if I was in a room with black lights I’d walk into walls. My stereo has fewer speakers now and the volume never goes any where near LOUD. And just like we were warned, I have no short term memory left.

It was all a lot of fun and listening to the music below brought back memories. The problem is I wasted a whole bunch of valuable time smoking dope and getting drunk. If I had studied I could have done something with my life that would have made some money. Instead, I went into construction because I could make what at the time, with an eighteen year olds keen insight into life, seemed like good money. Enough to keep up with the bar tabs anyway.

I can’t really complain; I’ve got a good family and a nice house. But I’m fifty years old and thinking about how much the arthritis and all of the injuries that I’ve sustained over the years hurt; especially in winter. Today was the first cold, rainy day of the approaching winter and I’m stiff as hell. If I’d applied myself to something beyond wholesale brain cell destruction when I was young maybe I’d be sitting behind a desk, raking in the money and thinking about where I was going to take my winter vacation.

Or maybe not; I’ve had desk jobs and they just don’t agree with me. I might be right where I’m supposed to be. If I had a job making a lot of money I would have probably never rediscovered the faith that I lost at an early age. I would probably think that all I had was of my own doing, forgetting to thank the One that was really responsible. The constant struggles to pay the bills have kept me humble and focused on things outside of myself. The morning stiffness and pain reminds me that I’m still alive and moving and to thank God for that. I really appreciate what I have because I am always on the verge of losing it.

So, thank you Jesus. Thanks for the pain and the struggles. Thanks for the mistakes and for not letting them kill me. Thanks for my family and friends, for the roof over my head and the food in my stomach.

But thanks most of all for your forgiveness. Thank you for the grace you have given us that allows us to even ask you for forgiveness. I’m sorry for all the ways I have offended you and ask that you try and forget them. Because I know I’ve tried your patience more than once.

I don’t really know how I ended up here. Like everything else, I’m sure there was a reason. Enjoy the Friday night music and I’ll see you tomorrow.

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1 comment:

  1. The moon - that nocturnal inspiration to poets and lovers for centuries - was viciously attacked yesterday morning at 7:31 EST by Muslim terrorist Barack HUSSEIN Obama and his co-conspirators within THE GOVERNMENT.

    A clear message has been sent by this radical jihadist to good and decent people everywhere. There is no room for misinterpretation: if they can target the moon - THE MOON! - in such a ghastly and unprovoked matter, it proves - conclusively - that Main Street is not safe. All of us are vulnerable to their insidious wickedness and villainy. Our children must be protected from the radical, hideous agenda of this man and his vile administration. Mark my words, my fellow Americans - today the moon, tomorrow Anytown, USA. OH, THE HUMANITY!

    Where will it all end? What sinister plans does he have in store for Christendom? Don't say you weren't warned, America! Don't you dare say you weren't given ample notice of this Kenyan-born extremist's evil intentions for us. I can see it now: Death Panels! Communist Medicine! An abortion clinic in every public school! Generations of innocent American schoolchildren forced to memorize entire paragraphs of the autobiography of Malcolm X! I have seen the future, my friends. It is bleak. Very very bleak.

    But seriously folks....

    Tom Degan
    Goshen, NY