The Saturday Night Crowd


The Saturday night crowd partied together for over forty years.

It was 1969: The first guest would arrive at my parents’ home around 8 pm, Hi Bob, Hi Ann!  That’s when my brother and I would go to the top step of our stairs and listen in.  Gin, Bourbon, and Scotch were consumed in large amounts, along with many cigarettes, the smoke rising up the stairway.

My uncle Bill was always telling corny jokes. He’d say that he has reservations about Indians–he calls them his Indian reservations. Mrs. Curtis and Mrs. Rice looking stunning in their newest swanky outfits. My mother the perfect host, smelling wonderful with her Chanel Number Five, she was the life of the party.  There could be as many as thirty people there, almost every Saturday for nearly forty years.  The Cold War with the Atomic bomb, pressures from working, and raising families, these cocktail parties were a welcome relief.

My generation might say to them, “Party on, dudes.”


Smoke and Needles

She was getting ready to stick big needles in my arm.  She asked me if I had smoked pot before I came in. She said, “Your eyes are bloodshot, you smell like pot, and you haven’t stopped talking since you sat down.”  I asked if she also worked for the FBI or the city police.  I told her nicely that what I do in the privacy of my own home is confidential.  She stuck the needles in, and I think it may have hurt more than it normally does.
I think more clearly when I am stoned. The trouble is, a good buzz lasts me, at the most, a half hour.  Then I revert back to my quiet, slow thinking self.

The First Time


In 1972, my hippie sister got married. The wedding was in our front yard, on a hillside overlooking Frederick valley. I was twelve years old then and quite naïve.
So, when my cool cousin, who was eleven, asked me if I wanted to get high,
I said, “yeah, you want to climb some trees?”
He said, “no, lets catch a buzz.”

I liked this cousin. He lived in McLean, Virginia, in a big cool house next to a United States senator. I was not going to let him know that I had no idea what he was talking about. He said, “come on,” and, we walked down the lane into the woods. He got out a little pipe, flipped his Zippo lighter and started smoking. I had never smoked anything, never tried alcohol, but, I hit that pipe like I was Popeye. Some things just come naturally.

Exhaling smoke was fascinating. I was hooked.
He said, “I’m wasted,” and I said, “I am too,”
although I didn’t know whether I was buzzed or not. My eyes felt funny, and later, I did eat four pieces of wedding cake. A couple weeks after that my best friend told me that he smoked it, and, shortly after that, I became a young pothead. I can’t say what happened that day was a bad thing. I do know it’s been a factor in my taking the road less traveled. I have been high for most of the journey.