Sunday, March 14, 2010

California diary

I just flew in this afternoon from LA to KC. I had a window seat. I love window seats for this reason: The world looks amazing from 30 thousand feet! And this is one beautiful country.

We took off over the pounding Pacific surf and doubled back over the rolling Hollywood hills, which gave way to snow-capped Sierras...which gave way to forsaken salt flats... which gave way to the lonely high desert... which gave way to rugged (and Grand) canyons and mesas... which gave way to the majestic Rockies... which gave way to the patchwork quilt of the nation's bread basket... which gave way to rolling pastures along the banks of the Missouri... which gave way to HOME!

For the past twelve days I've been in Southern California having a blast as always, and missing my girls. I slept in a big stucco Wigwam, addressed a conference for early childhood educators, performed some shows, recorded a new CD, and met some beautiful people. It's so good to be are some snippets from my stay:

In Alhambra I met a homeless man named Chief Weeping Tree who gave me the coolest gift I got all week. After I slipped him a contribution, he recited for me his poem titled "Silent Plight." The first line is this: "Oh my, how more poor grow hungry every day where the fields weep for woe..." He thanked me by saying how much I had blessed him, when it was he who had done the blessing.


I spent an hour in the laundromat talking with Roberto, an out-of-work carpenter in his late 50s. He told me how he visits the casinos 3-4 times a week and through much patience and calculation, he works the system of free points, free play, and free buffets to actually make a small profit. After my clothes dried and I was packed up, I gave Roberto a dollar and asked him play Keno for me next time and to email me if he wins. He said he'd have his son contact me, because his son knows computers..

If you ever need a dose of reality, don't turn on the TV, go to the laundromat!


When I asked a group of school kids the other day where they can find rhythm, a little voice shouted out, "Target!" And, of course, he was correct. Rhythm -- wherever you are, there it is.


As I was loading in my equipment for a school assembly in Fullerton, I was instructed by faculty members not to use the word "kid" or any derivative of the forbidden word. They had me so paranoid that I slipped -- twice! Poor kids will be scarred -- whoops there I go again!


Some deranged old dude tried to pick a fight with me the other day at Griffith Park Observatory. (The same spot -- oddly enough -- where in "Rebel Without a Cause," Buzz challenges James Dean's character to a fight.) I was on the phone and gazing out at the Hollywood sign when he came up to me and grumbled that I was staring at him, which was "rude" and "provoking." Agreed. I told him I was only provoking the Hollywood sign. Now, move along.

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