There was a Christmas I remember. It was years ago, back when the world was larger and death and destruction were out there but we were having too much fun to care.
I had my first car, a ’49 Pontiac with an amber Indian;s head on the hood. That Indian Head added at least 5 hp at least. It was 6 AM Christmas morning. I was old enough to have a car but young enough to get up at ^ AM Christmas morning. I threw my board in the car (a 6′ 2″ twin fin) in the back and headed to Malibu because it was Christmas and it was Malibu.
It was warm enough to need just a vest. There were no suntans blowing but it was still 4 foot and glassy. There were about 6 guys out so after an hour I decided to head up to Mummies which is a nice peeling left that ends in a back crushing shore break. I had a great time having the beach to myself. It was getting about noon and I was hungry for food and company so I headed up the coast and County Line.
County Line is the border between Los Angeles and Ventura County so you unfortunates who don’t surf can follow and not feel left out.
County Line is a cruddy beach but real accessible by car. It’s just a beach break but just across Highway 101 is Neptune’s Net. Neptune’s Net is a landmark, a place where the surfers mingle with the surfers and the dazed tourists who don’t understand but want to.
You can get anything you want at Neptune’s Net, so long as its beer or can be fried or steamed. Bob Dylan built a mansion up at Point Dume, he came in there. So did Roger McGuinn. Neil Young hung around Zuma and he’d be there sometimes. Lots of stars and celebrities, surfers and bikers. It was the where Messiahs went when they needed to relax.
It was Christmas so Neptune’s Net was closed. There were still about 20 people there hanging in the parking lot and using the picnic tables: Malibu Max and Malibu Mike (who weren’t related) a few kids like me, a couple of unaffiliated bikers and more girls and women then men and boys. There were a couple of CHP Interceptors and the cops in uniform were lost in the good times. People were playing dominos, drinking beer and having a pretty good time.
Someone had a key (I told you it was that kind of place) and soon we were eating oysters on the half shell. The steamer was going so we were eating prawns as long as your hand. The guitars were out and it was a fine old Christmas party.
When suddenly a flock of birds flew overhead. It was a big flock and they were flying low. A flock of Blue And Gold Macaws. About 30 of these massive birds flew over our heads. Thirty of the largest flying birds, as big as eagles.
LA is warm enough to surf on Christmas but it’s not tropical and parrots are not natives. And County Line is not very rural and it’s not the jungle. Malibu Max explained to me that they were exotic pets that had escaped from their homes. The owners had let their clipped wings grow back in so the birds just took off and then they had found each other.
They looked magnificent with their vibrant colors blocked against the verdant sky. Years later I’d see the flock in LA, dive bombing the towers in Century City or cruising the dome in Griffith Park.
The flock seemed to be eternal, sometimes large and sometimes small. It doesn’t pay to think about the birds too much. Like I said, LA isn’t tropical, it doesn’t have the food those big birds need. There’s avocado trees, some figs and some citrus. At night they have to sleep in the palm trees and fight with the tree rats to get some rest. They’re not bright and shiny except when they’re high up in the sky. They don’t return him either. They stay in their flock and survive, survive for about 5% of their 80 to 100 year natural life span.
They’d rather live like vagabonds in an alien place then live on perches or caves. That’s LA for you, I guess.
I didn’t know any of that stuff then. I only knew I;d seldom seen anything so pretty as that flock of birds on Christmas Day. It was even cooler seeing them than being a teenager drinking beer with cops and adults.
The flock flew out over the ocean. They glinted in the sun when they turned. I don’t know why they flew out over the water. Maybe looking for a home? Then got discouraged when they saw no land? They flew out and turned around and the party restarted.
That’s it. Not much of a story but it’s not often you get to see something so beautiful, so forlorn, joyous and tragic all in a minute.
I’m still in physical therapy for my shoulder. It’s a mess. The physical therapist is from Santa Cruz. How he left Hollywood by the Sea for here is something that needs asking. I see the opthamologist on Friday. My job has been legislated out of existence effective January 4th. I’m much more happy than concerned about that.
My wife has been sick, It didn’t stop her from going to her class today. She’s in training to be a volunteer to care for the shelter dogs. I’m jealous she gets to do that.
She’s also still an assistant basketball coach, with me. Basketball? Yeah, I know.
We’re busy and looking forward to Christmas.
The only bad news is that iTunes 11.01 is still totally terrible and totally six.
The puppies are all good. Had some fits getting a vibration collar for the deaf dog, but Radio Tech has been super helpful.
The new Christmas podcast isn’t too exciting either. Still it’s gotten a lot of downloads via iTunes and podcast.net. A lot to me, not a lot to the internet. There;s some great songs in there and some sentiment.
The Cool and The Crazy 6 – True Yule
A House – Here Comes The Good Times
Grip Weeds – Hark The Herald Angels Sing
Brian Setzer – Getting In The Mood (For Christmas)
Beetles – Jingle Bell Rock
Big People – Piece For Christmas
Deadbeat Poets – Christmastime In Painesville
Buck Owens – Santa Looked A Lot Like Daddy
Ray Stevens – Santa Claus Is Watching You
Holly Twins (With Eddie Cochran) – I Want Elvis For Christmas
Ziggens – Instant Christmas
Lolas – Little Drummer Boy
Jon Auer – Let It Snow
Elvis Presley – Santa Bring My Baby Back To Me
Hank Snow – Reindeer Boogie
Jack Scott – There’s Trouble Brewin’
Cathy Sharpe – North Pole Rock
Andersons – A Million Dollars For Christmas
Black Haloes – Homeless For Christmas
Everley Brothers – Christmas Eve Can Kill You
George Jones – Lonely Christmas Call
Weezer – We Wish You A Merry Christmas
Jim Backus – Why Don’t You Go Home For Christmas
Del-Vets – I Want A Boy For Christmas
Adam Faith – Lonely Pup In A Christmas Shop
Johnny Preston – I Want A Rock And Roll Guitar
Surfers – Here Comes Santa In A Red Canoe
CONNECTION – Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight)
Platters – Here Comes Santa Claus
Lord Douglas Byron – Surfin’ Santa
Edd ‘Kookie” Byrnes – Yulesville
Straight No Chaser – Carol Of The Bells
Three Aces And A Joker – Sleigh Bell Rock
Media Whores – All I Want For Christmas
Sheb Wooley – The Purple People Eater Meets Santa
Frankie Lymon – It’s Christmas Once Again
Reno Bo – There’s A Light
Shonen Knife – Space Christmas
Dickies – Silent Night