I went hiking last weekend with my father. My father has invited a young man who he met on the bus my father drives to live with him in his little house in Fall City. My father’s house only has one bed. The young man didn’t have any shoes.
He was living as a kind of serf in a trailer in Maple Valley and working for the man who runs the horse and carriages in downtown Seattle. In exchange for room (the trailer) and dinner, my dad’s friend did menial chores around the farm. This seems to be a pretty common arrangement now in the rural areas of King County. Pepper Schwartz had a farm on the North Fork of the Snoqualmie and my brother had a girlfriend who took care of her horses and llamas in exchange for a place to live and a couple of hundred dollars a month. In any case, my dad picked up this hungry and essentially clotheless waif and moved him into his house. The young man is a burly Australian named Harley (he changed his own name from Harry to the name of a motorcycle. I suppose you could call him ‘Hog’ for short.)
While my dad was first hanging out with his buddy Harley, he lost his driver’s license. My dad drives bus for King County, and so this was a problem, since it is widely believed a driver’s license is required to drive bus. He was temporarily fired. How my father works these arrangements, I dont know. He’s since been rehired. You’d think losing your license, even if it was reinstated, but be reason enough to question a persons fitness as a driver of a vehicle as large as a bus and as full of people? But during his period of unemployment, my father got a license for Harley and then Harley became his driver.
During this time of my father being driven around by his buddy Harley, found a dead dog in the trees alongside the Issaquah/Fall City Road. The old roads between the East Side town used to pass through stands of trees. The roads themselves were built on a kind of wall, and so the ditches on either side went straight down into the ferns, salmon berries, and devils club. A woman was standing in the middle of the road at a turn trying to work her cell phone. A jeep Cherokee lay on its side down in the forest, off the road, and a man stood in front of it. Music came from the Cherokee at a way too loud volume. My father and Harley called down to the guy. And then my father climbed down to check on the man. The jeep lay on his legs. And then my father shouted at him, “Are you okay?” And then he saw that the man was dead and his body was held in place by the jeep. When the paramedics finally arrived they took the man away and the found a collie stuck in a tree a hundred yards from the tree. The collie was dead as well.
After my father and I went hiking, we went to see Phil Elverum of the Microphones/Mount Eerie at the Seattle Center. Phil played a bunch of really nice songs and curtseyed after each one. At one point, Phil sang a no smoking song that had a lyric “every time you smoke you are killing a little part of you,” or something like this. Many of the smokers in the audience put out their cigarettes. I thought it a little odd that Phil has a kind of public service announcement in his song, but then he was also kind of conducting the audience the way the genial couple who worked Kindergarten at Fall City elementary used to handle a room full of addled five year olds. No sudden movements and very clear instructions.
My father however and his buddy Harley didn’t enjoy them. After the show ended, Harley said “I prefer The Vines. Have you seen them. They had a huge stuffed Kangaroo at the show I saw and at the end they ripped the Kangaroo into little pieces.”