UP BEAR CREEK | SF Magical Mystery Tour II
by Art Goodtimes
May 04, 2013 | 1195 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print

MISSION … That’s where I was born. St. Luke’s Hospital (three days after WWII) on Cesar Chavez Street (formerly Army) between the Mission and Potrero Hill. My mom too. In San Francisco General. Back in the Thirties … Ironically my eldest now lives within a short walk of both those sites. The neighborhood’s still primarily Latino, but upscale dot-commers are moving in, along with new trendy bars and cafes – one speakeasy just up the street didn’t have a sign even, just a doorway, and was packed, with a long waiting line for a famous chef’s bar food upstairs … Iris took us to a legendary (to foodies) sushi place on Mission near 30th – just a handful of tables, but we had reservations, and avoided the lines … Brown rice, some fusion flavors, the Caterpillar was divine. And the owner hugged us on the way out … That’s one thing you just have to get used to. I waited maybe 20 minutes in a hot, sweaty Mission District coffeehouse/roaster barn one Sunday afternoon for a shot at the one unisex john. Pissing ain’t easy in the city, if you’re walking – which I’ve always loved to do.


BAYVIEW … Sandwiched between Hunter’s Point and Visitacion Valley, I only remember Hollister Street where we had chickens. And watching the vegetable truck with its swinging shelves full of carrots and potatoes. And a local bully jumping up and down on somebody’s Forties roadster roof … I was baptized at St. Paul of the Shipwreck (really its name) back when the parish was mostly Italians and other lower class ethics. The church was still there … Riding around in our EOS convertible, I got to tell the kids the story of getting robbed while hitching out of town in the Sixties, and walking up to the parish rectory of this same church. And, in a perverse kind of miracle, the priest who baptized me answered the door. I recognized his name, though we’d never met. And, just another hippie, I didn’t mention the fact to him … I’d just been robbed. I wanted to call the police. But this priest (of a caste I almost joined) left me outside on the porch while he called the police. He took my report, and then I had to walk home, as the priest never returned once he closed the door one me … So much for having deep Church roots … We did drive on to the Cow Palace near where my aunt and uncle lived, and where we visited often. We cruised through an intersection where a fellow ran a red light and slammed into my Handicapped Center van full of challenged kids, which I drove while doing my Conscientious Objector service in 61. The Center put me on six months probation, even though it wasn’t my fault. And in those days, if you got fired from your job, C.O’s went straight to jail.


THRIFT STREET … We had no luck finding the group home I lived in for a while in this obscure Lakeview part of the city, near San Francisco State. I had a back room in a house with a bunch of ex-sem buddies. The cockroaches ran in such packs through the rest of the place that I lined my connecting door lintel with boric acid powder (and didn’t have a problem) … What convinced me to rent was the treehouse in the back yard. But the neighborhood was all black and we were the white students. Our immediate neighbors were nice. But we got robbed for pot by some kids. And then a serious miscreant stole a big dog, locked it in my buddy’s jalopy, and then torched dog and car. It was not a pretty sight … I moved out shortly after … Will try to scatter some more pleasant trip memories through future columns.


CANNABIS CLOUD … It was an interesting ruling by the Colorado Court of Appeals last week, letting stand a judgment that allowed an employer to fire a quadriplegic for medical cannabis use (outside of work) for which he was legally allowed under Colorado law … Brandon Coats was fired by Dish Network LLC not for getting stoned on the job, but for using medical cannabis at home to relieve his medical symptoms. He tested positive for cannabis in a workplace drug test … It wasn’t a unanimous decision. Colorado Judges Janice Davidson and Monica Marquez voted to interpret “lawful” activity away from the workplace to mean lawful under state and federal laws. Judge John Webb dissented. He believes Colorado judges should interpret “lawful” in relation to state law, not federal law … Colorado citizens ought to remember this. When election time comes up for judges, we should be voting to retain John Webb and dump Janice Davidson and Monica Marquez, who seem to be upholding federal law and not state law when there’s a conflict. I’m certainly going to remember it … And as for Dish Network. If you have a contract with them, consider breaking it, and finding another carrier. Obviously, they are not the kind of employer we want in Colorado.




Bad News Blues

- for Jim, before he passed


Fighting the good fight

against a bad foe…

Cancer never fights fair

sucker-punches you, kicks

you when you're down.

Ain't fair, never was.


Fighting the good fight

gotta be worth something…

maybe a lot, who knows?

Who's keeping score?

No one. We all know

this fight was rigged.


The good fight wasn't 

so all-fired good, doesn't

matter half as much as

what came first: a life,

a good life, a whole life 

to celebrate & remember,


We'll be telling your story,

Jim, reading your stories too

for a long time. You made

good plots, good times,

good friends, more than most.

Way more than most. 


One of these days, we'll

all be gone. Why wait?...

to tell you how important

you are, how we treasure you,

how long you'll be with us –

for as long as we're here.




- Lito Tejada-Flores



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