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The Musician... see you among the stars

Chapter 26 - The French Chef

The French Chef

Chapter 26 - The French Chef

The Chef was about to open his new restaurant in north Boulder located directly next to a night club. Ritchie and I helped prepare the restaurant for the opening along with the Chef´s spouse and daughter. They treated us as if we are apart of the family. We all enjoyed dinner together every night after closing. It was a very long dinner with wine and desert, which served as a back drop for our long discussions. The restaurant slowly became very profitable for everyone.

I had heard that my favorite group Chicago, had bought a large ranch in Nederland, Colorado. I was trying to find a way to go and see their new recording facility. I had passed the area of the ranch, but it was too large to notice anything from the entrance of the ranch. I was hoping to meet someone that worked there so they could invite us to see the place. Their third album was released, and it just gets better and better. Every time they release an album it is always a double album, and it is always a power house of music.

I was looking through the news paper and I noticed an ad that someone wanted to trade a rental mountain cabin for a rental house in Boulder. Apparently, they just wanted to swap places. I was curious and called the number. I spoke with a girl and the whole situation sounded great, and the cabin was not located too far away from the restaurant. I went to see it and I fell in love with it at first sight. It was very quiet and serene. The cabin had a stream located directly behind the cabin about twenty feet. I went to talk with the doctor/landlord of my place in Boulder and he told me that it would be perfectly acceptable. Within the week, the whole deal went without a hitch. The rent for the cabin was the same as the rent of the house in Boulder so, the swap was done. Ritchie moved in with me.

In the first two weeks of living at the cabin which is located in left hand canyon, there were many people who lived in the area and many came to visit me and to introduce themselves. They were very nice and warm and they often stoped by to bring some homemade baked bread. It was very wonderful to experience such beautiful and thoughtful people. Most of the time, I spent all my days and nights alone enjoying the tranquillity and peace. I smoked a joint and listened to music on my stereo all day and I could play music as loud as I wanted when I want to. I could never experience such tranquillity and isolation in the city or anywhere else I´ve ever been. It sometimes reminded me of the times in upstate New York and Seldon, Long Island when I was a young boy.

One night, when I was listening to the song by the group, War, The World Is A Ghetto, I decided to try and call the bass player Jim Gregory in New York. Jim luckily answered the phone, and I told him that I was in a cabin in the mountains of Colorado listening to, "The World Is A Ghetto," by the group, War. Jim told me how the music business was dead in New York and how he was struggling very hard to find work. Jim asked me when I would be coming back to New York and I told him that I had hoped, never. After talking with Jim, I was even gladder that I was living in the mountains of Colorado, because I knew that I wasn´t missing anything in New York.

A week later, I had met this woman named, Shirley, who lived across the road up on the mountain above me and who had a very big house. She had six kids and and the house was spacious. The back of her house sat on the ground, and the front of her house was about 15 feet off the ground. It was situated on a steep decline. It had a spiral staircase in front of the house that led up to the front porch where one could sit and relax to listen to the trees and watch the birds. Her kids were very funny, playful, joyful and wonderful to have around me. I often visited Shirley and her boyfriend Jeff. It's a mountain thing to do when you come close with people you enjoy.

One day, while Shirley and the kids were away, Jeff and I were hanging out at the house when it began to snow very hard. I continued viciously and it about two hours, the snow was about four feet. We had got stoned and sat around all day and listened to my great music records. We listened to Frank Zappa, Leon Russell, Chicago, Blood Sweat and Tears, and The Allman Brothers. The snow was so beautiful that I wanted to take some pictures of the snow, but I had no film. So, Jeff and I searched around the house for a roll of film. We searched all the dresser drawers and I found a roll with an expiration date of 1966. We had nothing to lose and everything to gain if the photos developed OK. It turned out that the film was still good and we made some beautiful memories. (Sorry, I don't have the pics available at this time to show you)

Ritchie and I threw a party at the cabin. A month earlier, Ritchie found some decoy ducks for hunting at a garage sale and bought them to put the decoys in the little pool in the stream behind our cabin. The Chef and his family came to our party, as well as other friends, and friends of friends. Ritchie was talking to these two girls at the party and convinced the girls to go out to the ducks and feed them some bread. Ritchie always likes to fuck with peoples heads. The girls went to the stream and started to throw bread at the ducks as we all watched, but the girls couldn´t figure out why the ducks weren´t eating. Everyone at the cabin was in on the joke and we were all laughing like crazy. After about 15 minutes, the girls returned to the cabin and they said to everyone innocently that they had thought that the ducks were not hungry. Everyone started to laugh and finally one of the guys at the party told the girls that they were decoys. The girls then replied that the decoys were not hungry. Everyone was in constant laughter and Ritchie told the girls to try again later. The girls then agreed to try again later on. Then someone at the party tried to tell the girls that the ducks weren´t real and the girls refused to believe it. The girls thought that everyone was pulling their legs by telling them that the ducks weren´t real. The party was very successful. Ritchie and I made Lasagna and everyone including the Chef were very impressed with the quality of our homemade food.

After a year of living in the cabin, Ritchie and I had a falling-out. I was having breakfast with Ritchie at the cabin one day and while we were talking, I decided that I wanted to be open and honest with him. I guess it was my newly serene state of mind. I told Ritchie that I was very happy with his friendship and that I was very thankful for his continues support. He is a great friend! I then told Ritchie that the real reason that I wanted his friendship in the very beginning was so that I could still be in touch with Susan which I liked very much, through him. Ritchie didn´t like what I had said. He suddenly became very cold and I could tell that he was angry. I assured him that I loved him as a friend, but he refused to answer and got up from the kitchen table and walked away to his room. I thought that being open at this time was a necessity, and that my openness was a way of expressing my love for friendship. It was what I had felt at the time. I did love him a lot and so I wanted to be honest and tell him my true past feelings. I didn´t know what to do now or how to recover from his reaction to all this. Ritchie from this moment on would not communicate with me at all. It seems as though our friendship was now over because of what I said to him.

Then within the next week, all of a sudden, the Chef did not want me to be a waiter anymore. I think this was Ritchie's reaction. Instead, the Chef wanted me to work in the kitchen as a Souse Chef (Chef´s helper). I agreed without a choice and I did it, but the work was very hard and the hours were very long. I basically did everything. I prepared all the food in the daytime to make it ready for the evening and in the evening, I help the Chef cook the food. After awhile, I spoke with my neighbor Shirley and told her about what happened between Ritchie and I and the change of job. Shirley said that if I wanted, I could live at her place for free. I was looking for a way out of the cabin and to distant myself from Ritchie. I could not stand the vibes between Ritchie and I any longer, my money was low, and I didn´t like the new job at the restaurant anymore working in the kitchen being a Chef's helper. I thought about Shirley´s offer and I decided to take her up on it. I told Ritchie I was moving out and I quit my job at the restaurant.

Now I had no bills to pay and I could now live my life free and easy in a much more beautiful and warmer house, because the cabin was cold. I needed to dress warm in the cabin because there were many air leeks to which the cold would come in and the warm air from the space heater would escape. I enjoyed very much living with Shirley, Jeff, and the six kids. I sat around the mountain house all day while the kids were in school. It was very quiet, serene, and wonderful. I often made dinner everyday for the family, because I loved to cook. I often chopped a lot of firewood during the day and my mind began to become more clear and free. I had put together a little sleeping area in the kids room and I set-up my stereo system for music in the living room. I didn´t need income so I used the situation to clear my mind and to feel free.

Ritchie had the cabin all to himself. He was happy. After a long while, we began talking again. He finally recovered from what I had said to him, and as far as I was concerned, nothing ever had happened. Although, maybe it was a ploy that he used to try and take control of the house. I don't care, but I never really knew. In any case, I was now in a state of freedom. My mind had become so serene that I was in another world. I think a spirit world. As I spoke with Ritchie, I believe he noticed that.

I lived at Shirley´s house for another year and things soon after that began to change. Shirley was talking about moving into the city of Boulder. She wanted to avoid the long trips into the city from the mountains, and she wanted to be closer to the schools. Shirley had also dumped her boyfriend Jeff and now acquired a new boyfriend whom I do not like. He is very aggressive and authoritative. Being around him is not fun like it was with Jeff, and it began disturbing my peace of mind. Soon afterward, Shirley is definitely making the change and I´m going to have to decide what my next move is going to be. Shirley wants me to move with her and the kids into Boulder, but I don´t know if I want to do that with the new boyfriend around. I need to think about my life and future now!

I was playing with Shirley´s kids and one of them noticed that I was wearing a hair piece. It happened without warning and one of the kids began yelling throughout the house that I was wearing a hairpiece. I became very embarrassed and it hurt me very much. All the kids thought that I was a very handsome guy and now it was apparent that this great head of hair I had was not real. Shirley didn´t care at all and provided me with great support. After awhile, the kids began to feel bad, and all of a sudden it got worst, because everyone was showing me pity instead. The children were now looking at me in a different way and I couldn't recover from their change in attitude.

So it all started me thinking again. Boulder is also changing for the worst. They are now talking about opening a mall on Pearl Street. If they do and it seems the city is dead serious about it , then it will definitely destroy the famous hill area where everyone now hangs out at. I also do not like the type of people who are now coming into Boulder. They look like corporate type of people versus the young hippy people now. The city is also starting to pave many of the streets which were dirt, and I believe it will only be a matter of time before this little town will become a major more expensive distilled city. I am also tired of living in the mountains, and I believe I need a drastic change at this time. I must take this hairpiece off and I need to become who I am. I don´t want to be a slave to my hairpiece to which I always felt. I always had to keep girls and everyone else for that matter from touching it. To stop people from ever learning I was wearing one. I had to think about that all the time. I also don´t want to be paying for a hair tightening every month and a half, but most importantly, looking like or being a phony, and I also need to stop being broke without a future. I need to reorganize my life. So, I think I´m going to return back home to New York to do just that.

Sure enough, Shirley had found a house in Boulder and was about to make the move. She asked me if I was going to move in with the family and I told her that I was going to move back to New York. I told her that I needed a change and I thanked her for giving me the opportunity to have experienced great peace within myself. Then I went to my old cabin to say goodbye to Ritchie. I told Ritchie that I was heading back to New York and I told him that someday, I would return to Colorado. We then hugged each other for the last time. I then contacted my brother and told him that I was returning home. My brother agreed to pick me up at Kennedy airport and told me that I could stay with him and his family in Long Island. Everything was set and put into motion. I then arranged for Shirley´s ex boyfriend Jeff whom I enjoyed friendship so much with to take me to the airport in Denver. My flight was set for the next day at 11:30am.

The next day, Jeff showed up on time at Shirley´s house. All the kids gathered around as I hugged Shirley goodbye. Then I hugged all the six kids, and then I put my stereo into Jeff´s pick-up truck. After waving goodbye, Jeff and I drove down the steep curvy road leading down from Shirley´s house onto the main road. While we were traveling down the road I had said to Jeff that in a few hours I would change from this beautiful mountain serene environment in which I became so accustomed to and suddenly be in the crowded New York City. It is going to be a mind fuck. From one extreme to the other! Jeff agreed, but he couldn´t really distinguish the difference. We arrived at the airport in Denver and the first thing I did was take my hairpiece off and throw it into the garbage pail before boarding the plane. As I pulled the uncomfortable hairpiece off, I said to myself that I am now free. I boarded the plane and it took off.

My family had not seen me in four years. The last time my family had heard from me, I had stated that I was starving. I am returning home bald with a long beard that I grew in the mountains. They will probably not recognize me. It is going to be a shock for them as well as a shock for me to be back. I´m going to concentrate in trying to maybe go to college to maybe learn a skill and quit music altogether. I´m not going to get involved in the music scene at all anymore. I am tired of living day to day in depression not knowing where the next money to eat will come from. I must develop a more secure lifestyle. I love music, but now it will be a hobby instead of a profession. I don´t know what the future holds for me, but I believe at this moment that my nose is pointed in the correct direction.

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