I’d decided not to wait for the parts to arrive at O’Reily’s and had driven over to an Auto parts the next morning. Chrysler Hummingbird was shaking like she was getting a fever, it worried me. I needed 6 new spark plugs, new leads to go with it. The girl at Auto-parts was so much more together than the Speeding Mexican guy at O’Riely’s but not as amusing, another $48.98
Back at the house Jean told me Michael had all the tools I would need to get do the job,. When I got back I was in a coffee fueled high gear. I’d got used to my absent mindedness when I was working on Pearl so before I attempted the spark plugs I did the jobs where less could go wrong and get myself focused. I changed the windscreen wipers, the air filters and the rubbers for some of the pipes and fittings on the engine all of which had cost me another $75.85
Willy had told me take one lead off at a time as the timing was all in sequence, if I took them all off at once you’d never remember which went where, I remembered from the earlier Chryslers once Willy had spiked my attention.
I took my time laid all the wires on the driveway then I reached in under the manifold on the left hand side to find the spark plug lead had snapped. The speedy Gonzales had torn it off yesterday I had asked him to be careful, but it explained why she had been shivering all that morning. It was quite a relief to be honest. Fixable.
Jean was chatting from the kitchen the window which looked out onto the driveway I could hear her musical voice inside with little Kai from time to time.
“Oh man, hey maaaan… Kai will you stop that .. Oh man”
Her face would appear behind the mosquito gauze over the window like a ghost that kept trying to feed me. Lovely moments with my dear friend, a smile from Jean is food enough.
Michael came and went having his chemo checks and tests. Later he helped me putting the spark plugs in the deep wells of Hummingbirds engine. The fan belt was also on wrong which explained the screaming when I started her up. It turned out to be a fiddly job, but after loosening the alternator mount and forcing the belt back down and under a drive wheel we managed after much huffing and puffing to get it in place. I was glad of Michael’s help and I think he enjoyed it too.
I really enjoyed working on hummingbird getting my hands dirty, covered in oil again, the warmth of a Santa Cruz afternoon, the chat and laughter from the kitchen and a feeling that the wagon is just about ready to roll, it seemed that my love affair with Chrysler was to continue. This was the car, it was the first one and now I began to sense something near by, there was plenty of room in her for all the Gods. That is what I had wanted, too visit and I needed room for the Gods too, Hummingbird certainly has it.
18 years ago I’d rolled into San Miguel Allende in Mexico in the 72 New Yorker booked into the hostel there, a week later as the fates would have it Jean and Christina had arrived with their infectious laughter, curiosity and shining eyes. They were heading south and I was heading north. It was a meeting that would affect us all and begin a life long frienship. We’d stayed in touch all this time knowing something valuable had happened between the three of us. Christina had been far away for some time now, but today she drove down from San Francisco.
Jean shouted from the kitchen “Christina is here”
At that moment I was busy with a ratchet and tricky awkward bolt. I saw Kai run out of view I looked around the corner and there she was with her big brown eyes and mischievous smile and after all this time it was suddenly like 18 years ago. After a coffee and the three of us grinning at one another across the dinning table we went off down the road to the beach.
It was so good to be with them both again. I cannot really explain it but when I am with them both, I like the person they bring out in me. I feel like I am good, around them.
I walked behind them on the beach and I remembered long ago the same deep and easy friendship and love, the way they interacted and the way they teased me.
Dark eyed Christina is a live wire provocative quick witted and very funny, Jean sandy haired has an infectious laugh something dreamy something steely and somehow is the one we paw and and fuss over, and me I’m just happy
We spent that day together, had some drinks on the pier in Santa Cruz and laughed so much my cheeks and my stomach ached
Christina said after the parking attendant on the pier let us off for $2 dollars parking fee
“God .. I fucking love Tuesdays”
You had to be there is suppose but we literally couldn’t stop laughing all the way back to the house, I played a little on the guitar, a lot of the songs I had written I haven’t played for many years. So I tinkered a little, this week i’d been shaking off the sour feeling from last time round with The Fits, the songs sounded great.
We sipped wine and laughed some more, Kai came and curled up on Jean. Friendships like these are markers along the road aren’t they. A gauge of where we are and what has happened to us.
Christiana had a long drive back to San Francisco, but we arranged I would call in on the way north.
As she was leaving I said “ I wouldn’t have passed you by you know”
“If you had” she said “I would have kicked your damned ass”
It’s good to be loved.
Earlier in the day Christina had been inspecting the car and had spotted a pool of liquid underneath the car, she’d dropped down onto her back and reached under the car and found a hole. We’d all been sure it was transmission fluid…. I’d looked at the dipstick and there didn’t seem to be any transmission fluid in there. Damn!
Jose Coyote’s ears must have been burning. So the two of us had gone down to NAPA auto-parts on Soquol to see what could be done. The guy there was unbelievably quick and said to bring it back and they’d weld if for $30 It would be another job before I set off, I swore it would be the last job by hook or by crook
Next morning I was up early and across to NAPA the guy said
“Have you got the pan”
“I thought you were going to do the job” I said
“We do the welding” he said “you’ll have to take if off yourself.”
So there was a dilemma, do I take it off myself in the driveway or get a garage to do it. Michael didn’t look well and I was now itching to be on the move, so garage it was for ease and speed.
A call was made to the first garage that came up on Google “Advanced Auto” We negotiated. It would be $200 for the job and I’d have to pay for the transmission fluid. I whizzed over there. When they had it off I would have to run up Soquel Avenue to NAPA with the transmission pan have it welded and run back and they would put it back on.
A very sleepy Jean called as I sat in the garage. I tried to explain what was going on and all would be well.
“Not to worry, do what you got to do. I’m getting it sorted today, right now”
After around 20 minutes the owner brought the transmission cover back in. A big bellied guy pushing out high energy with a little softness under the radar. For some reason he had my trust, some people just do don’t they.
There wasn’t a hole. I said and that doesn’t look like what we were looking at, so I went out looked up into the underneath of Hummingbird and realized that in fact there wasn’t a transmission leak it had been the air conditioning leaking out of a hole that was meant to be there in the exhaust pan. Damn !!
Apart from feeling rather foolish to say the least and remembering if you are going to check transmission fluid you need to do it with the engine running, not switched of as we had done, but then after all it wasn’t a bad thing. I’d bought a new filter, so that was changed and we’d given her a fresh drink and some car love.
Afterwards I had to laugh, though it all came to another $150 but now finally Hummingbird was ready to roll.
Once it was all done Jean and I did a healing session at the house.
It was quite an interesting session. Kai had been throwing things at her as she sat in the lotus position on the chair, He climbed on her and did all he could to distract her, but she did well and stayed fairly still and the energy was really strong.
Later she said asked me
“What were you doing when you placed your hands on my head and wafted the air around?
I hadn’t moved, in fact it is rare that you would put hands upon a persons head. It’s what Phil Pooke had always told me. I’d stood still with my hands on her shoulders except a few moments to hold Kai back. But she had felt the air around her head being wafted and she said had clearly felt a pair of hands on her head. Interesting.
Afterwards I went to fill in some more applications to UK festivals. I was really happy to find we have confirmation from WOMAD Festival 28th-31st July. So that is now 6 confirmed.
That evening Jean Kai and I went for a last drive up Highway 1 to Pescadera getting one last drive in. Tomorrow I’d be gone and it would be some time before we’d see one another again. I was very tired and a little quiet. Jean said she was just scraping that mirror clean getting every last drop up the nose so to speak.
It was a startling statement funny and comic but also it saddened me. After lunch we stopped in at Pescadera graveyard, just to see, it is a project of mine I always stop in these places, there is much to be learned about an area and the culture and the country your in from them. It didn’t let me down. Loved the grave stone of “Tom Klingele 10.24.60 – 10.27.11 “a Mountain of a man” with a real chain saw with a rusting chain on a steel pole above.
We’d driven back as the sun set on our right, I tidied up the house that night created some temporary order while Jean burned some food in the oven and found me some blankets and a towel for the road. We sat, sipped wine I played a few sang a few songs softly just as I’d always done, Kai had a breast feed and Michael came out of the bedroom gave me a great big bear hug, and said goodbye.
It was time for bed, tomorrow time to roll.