I didn’t brush my teeth for days at a time. Musta been an Ernie phase. And other years, I brushed two times a day with a well researched travel apparatus; a Bert phase I guess. Every trip I took to San Francisco included bumping into Franklin Beauterre.
Three times parking my toothbrush in a sink holster was a pattern symbolizing “oh, i feel comfortable” so bumping into Beauterre a fifth time was off the charts testimony and proof of what? I never knew for sure.
We went to high school together. He was a year older and like his last name-Beau Terre, he was a beautiful land; auburn red hair-color of mahogany and perfect in the wind; down a motorcycle mountain perfect. He had a musical and theatrical way about him. He once created a t-shirt saying “I wanna have sex with Denise Goodsell.” Beauterre was suspended.
Haight Ashbury was my first destination and it lasted close to two years. Beauterre was there as I walked under the 7th street overpass and the line ups of vagabonds selling simple worldly items; combs, extension cords, postcards; things they had found, but still rolled out carefully onto colorful carpets.
The memories come in snippets; from knowing what a San Francisco cold night-time wind can be; living on the dole and dancing sincerely for the sun to human ripples and kindness and sort of suddenly being on a small boat in south San Francisco; a shelter.
There was no second thought about it. Beauterre came with me. A gold rush had hit me or more like aluminum, but it was something; a change and proof of this mythology; this Haight Ashbury and San Francisco spirit gold rush mythology we were living.
There was a bar about two blocks from where the boat was docked. There were no big money displays in there; no conversations about Nietzsche, no deconstructions and revolution. It was utilitarian; a hard day’s work and wind down with booze and let madness rule the night.
Beauterre had a way of disrupting a scene without doing a damn thing. It was his animal looks; the deep penetrating blue eyes and willingness to be free in his body; like a puma.
It didn’t take long for a man to become agitated by the swiveled neck reactions of ladies at the rail. They made no secret about sex; about wanting it. There was no courting needed. This was a jungle shoe box size bar. The collision of humanimals was always a realistic possibility and that always scared me into my mind and notebook when no one was looking, but I always returned.
Beauterre felt the chemicals and danced even more. He knew his impact and so up went that man’s arms and up went that bar stool with a woman and cat calls; up higher to the x-shaped ceiling fan spinning and that man exhaling a weight lifter’s grunt. It was a territorial and testosterone matter. It never stopped Beauterre.
I never intended to play diplomacy, but the energy was in my mind and not my body. I asked the man at the rail about fishing bate…where we could buy some. It wasn’t a ruse. Beauterre and I had talked about fishing and something far less bloody than fishing may have been avoided.
One ace had walked through the flapping saloon doors and another ace had risen up to the occasion. I met many aces through the years and only now do they come to life; in memory when I can see them in the context of that time. Beauterre was like Jeff Locke. I witnessed the Pittsburgh Pirate southpaw years later and he altered my view with his pitches bending like the sound of a google stick.
I faced one pitcher like Locke. It was Mike Visocky of West Allis Central. He wore a beard and it was no secret he had flunked a few grades. He pitched against my older brothers with much fewer facial hairs. I stood there from the left side and let a few pitches go by; frozen by the oncoming headlights.
I managed to hit a ground ball in the hole between third and short for an infield single, but I knew baseball was more than pitch-back and batting practice. It was real and the pitcher and I were bullfighter and bull.
We walked Sunday towards the Cathedral on Notre Dame. I like taking in the mass, the big ceilings, frankincense, funky dressed priest and the organ player up above. It’s 1970’s prog rock to me. The mass was finished when we arrived so I grabbed a compass and suggested the old port.
The trumpet player in the plaza outlasted the somber cathedral bells. It was a durable and determined sound that brass, but as we rounded a corner; it faded like anything else; replaced by an instrument I had never seen; a wind up violin that looked like an accordion but sounded like bag pipes. And around the next corner fountains and mini waterfalls and splashing took over with horse hoofs from chariots in the distance.
Jeff Locke was set to face Yovani Gallardo in Pittsburgh. They both wear number 49. I was with my friend and her mom and we were walking slow; too slow. Grandma is 80 years old. She uses a walking stick I gave her from a batch of bamboo I scored from Craigslist free ads; sanded and varnished them a few years ago and made me a Brewers shrine; having no idea one would be the guide stick for my friend’s mother.
I missed Locke and Gallardo. We arrived home in the ninth inning; the game already three layers of relievers deep. The Brewers were leading 1-0. K-Rod trying to close the Pirate,s door. I think this is when the memories of Beauterre flashed followed by Teddy Higuera, Ben Sheets, and Gallardo and the trail of drafted and developed Brewer aces and however many Pirate equivalents through the years.
It got sticky for K-Rod. Runners on first and second and one out. I didn’t bother logging into mlb.tv. I watched the game day abacus and enjoyed the suspense of numbers flashing ball and strike counts and results from pitcher batter confrontation; no images, no sounds…just beads and my imagination.
Travis Snider hit into a fielders choice and Josh Harrison lined out to Gomez. Final score; Brewers 1, Pirates 0. Jonathan Lucroy had three more hits to spike his average up to .335. Final score; Brewers 1, Pirates 0.
I had some reading to do; to see if Gallardo got lucky; escaped jams to preserve his 6 shutout innings. I like Gallardo. He’s messy.
The Brewers are 38-26.