It was 35 years ago today that Zippy and I had our first date. At the time, I lived in North Hollywood and he lived in Bakersfield. It was a tough time for me and I desperately needed to get away from my tiny apartment for a day or two, but was living in poverty and couldn’t afford anything. I knew Zippy through my brother (they’d gone to college together) and we’d recently reconnected via several phone conversations, so I brazenly invited myself for a visit.
Bakersfield is no one’s idea of a getaway, but I was thrilled at the prospect of being somewhere else. When I arrived that Friday evening (knuckles scraped and bleeding as a result of my hand slipping while prying a very stubborn lid off a bottle of the engine additive needed to keep my poor old car running), Zippy suggested we go hear some live music. Chris “Hammer” Smith and his blues harp were at Suds Tavern which was located in the Wall Street Alley. The tiny place used to be a fire station and fire horse stable, and reeked of character. And cigarette smoke (of which I was a contributor, ahem). We had so much damn fun, drinking beer and dancing dancing dancing. During Hammer Smith’s break, we ran across the alley to Guthrie’s Alley Cat where there was a pool table and even cheaper beer, then dashed back for more live music.
Guthrie’s Alley Cat
Fast forward: I ended up moving to Bakersfield for two years (before we moved to Anchorage) and we logged a lot of hours dancing at Suds and shooting pool at Guthrie’s. Turns out, plenty of people thought that alley was in “the bad part of town” and stayed away. To my mind, that scene was one of the shining lights of that hot, dry, and dusty city. I was thrilled when I met a fellow teacher who shared our love for that alley.
Alas, Suds is no more. It’s apparently now a restaurant called Two Goats & The Goose and, because I couldn’t find a photo of Suds, I’m including this image to show the exterior (with an accessibility ramp that was not present in the 80s).
Turns out, Guthrie’s Alley Cat is still in business which makes me very happy. All these years later, I’m very glad Guthrie’s was part of my introduction to Bakersfield. Mostly, though, I’m grateful Zippy graciously accepted my self-invite.
Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and I felt an array of not-so-pleasant emotions. Rage was high on the list. I’m doing a little better today, in part because I’m focusing more on what keeps me going during hard times.
Open space. April 1, 2020
Today I’m grateful for the many ways nature soothes my soul.
Three years ago today, Zippy accompanied me to a dog adoption event at a pet supply store. I had my heart set on a black dog named Rocko, a dog I’d scoped out on the web site. But when we arrived, Rocko was much bigger than his profile suggested.
Zippy, who wasn’t convinced we should even adopt another dog, said, “He’s too big. I’d prefer a dog more like . . .” he looked down at a dog being walked past us on a leash, “that one there.”
So I sent silent apologies to Rocko and followed Zippy to the event volunteers where he asked if we could take the little dog for a walk outside. Her crate said EMMA and the volunteer who’d just put her back inside after that other person’s “test run,” snapped the leash on Emma again.
February 11, 2020.
We went out with the little dog who had a looong torso and short legs, and allowed her to sniff and investigate the sidewalk and grassy areas of the strip mall. Emma seemed like a nice enough dog, but showed zero interest in us. Until we started back towards the store entrance. Then she stopped and looked up at us with big brown eyes.
Well, the rest is history.
A black cat crossing your path signifies that the animal is going somewhere.
~ Groucho Marx
Loki on January 29, 2018.
(As an aside, it’s the one-year anniversary of Loki’s big dental procedure in which he lost almost all of his teeth. Despite his expression here (pre-procedure), he’s one of the gentlest souls on the planet and I’m grateful for his good-luck companionship.)
Zippy and I are in Ohio visiting my brother and his family. We spent the afternoon hunting down hoop-making materials before returning home to make four hoops of various sizes. Much hooping ensued (including my niece and I hoop-walking to the end of the street and back as her younger brother rode alongside on his scooter). Then basketball was added to the mix.
Here’s my favorite action shot of their entire family:
Lots of smiles and high-energy. A very nice day.
This is what was happening in my front yard nearly a year ago today.
There needs to be some serious growth taking place in the next two days if the tulip wants to debut on the same day this year.
Spoiler alert: I don’t think it’s gonna happen.
Exactly one year and one day ago Emma came to stay. Not a whole lot has changed since then, except that we still haven’t mastered not-blurry photos of her AND elder-dog Zoey now has one more “damn millennial” to shake her head at AND cat-brothers Loki and Marcel have mostly put aside their differences to join forces against the high-energy pupster AND strangers now stop Zippy and me on the street to inform us that Emma is so very cute.
As if we hadn’t noticed.
Zippy and I got married on Hatcher Pass in Alaska on August 15, 1992. My childhood friend, my best friend, Scott, served as our marriage commissioner and performed our ceremony.
Anne, whom we’d we met in a black and white photography class at UAA, was our close friend who acted as the hardworking wedding photographer. Bob and Liz were adventurous friends Zippy called a week in advance to ask to be our witnesses.
Scott, Tracy, Zippy, Bob, and Liz. If you look closely in the background, you will also see tourists watching the ceremony.
It was a bit chilly up there on the pass, but the day’s emotions kept me warm. Here we are with Scott and Anne when she got a brief respite from photography duties.
Scott, Anne, Tracy, and Zippy.
And here we are with Scott who’d traveled from Colorado to Alaska to officiate at our wedding despite serious health issues. He died in late December of that year.
I miss him so. But twenty-four years ago today, he helped bring a whole lotta love and laughter. All our friends made it a truly wonderful day.
Happy Anniversary, Zippy.
I love you.