Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Grandpa Goat: 1913-2004

My new roommie Kerry & I had a party the other night. I think a third of LA showed up. Some chaos, minor damage and minimal theft ensued. Some enterprising folks actually shoved three beer bottles into the lawn, neck first, so that I couldn't even wiggle them a bit. Tomorrow I'm going to try digging them out. There are even pix of the darned event on the internet! These are the ones I know about...

We live in a beautiful apartment in oh-so-swanky Silverlake, where if you walk three blocks in one direction you can buy essential oils and vintage deco furniture - but walk three blocks in the other direction and someone may clock you over the head for your wallet. The best thing about the apartment, I think, would be our lovely cathedral windows which allow for a view of all of Hollywood, including the famous Hollywood sign and the Griffith Observatory. Every morning, I wake up, look out the window, and relish that view. It's ruining me for other living arrangements, I know it.

One of our earlier guests was watching the sun set from our view, standing in one of the narrow side windows (which are about 6 feet high and 3 feet wide), and asked me what the name of the tree was across the street. It's a beatiful tree which is currently in full bloom, so the base of our view now consists of a lovely purple haze of flowers. I told him I had no clue, but I sure did like looking at it.

Later in the evening, after we'd kicked out the snotty hipsters who were throwing things out of our windows and devouring the apartment, the actual posse of pals that remained continued to have a blast dancing in our living room and admiring the sparkling lights of Hollywood. As the sun came up and I was picking cigarette butts out of the lawn, I went for another look at the tree. Mmmm... it smelled nice too.

This morning I got a call from my sister to head home to San Diego - my grandfather was dying. The family turned off the oxygen when I arrived - he held on a few more hours and then that was it. My grandfather lived at the top of this big ole mountain in a place called Lakeside, California, where he kept goats and chickens and had a whole lot of tangerine trees and even a gully with a creek running through it.

After my grandfather had died, I was staring out the back door at the goats - all standing on top of boulders and things playing King of the Mountain, I suppose. I had never noticed that there was also one of those big purple flowering trees back there... I asked my aunt what it was called. "That's a Jacaranda tree. Dad planted a couple of them all around the property - it's his favorite tree."

My sister was picking off one of the blooms and sniffing it. She came back into the house and held it out: "I always love the way these smell. I love these trees." I told her that I'd just found out it was Grandpa's favorite tree - and she nodded. "Hmmm... I never knew." She crushed the flower in her fingers and let it drop.

From what I've since read about the jacaranda tree, they only bloom for a month out of the year. This one's for you, Grandpa.