It seems an age since that snowy March night at Beulahland when Los Tres Originales made a pact of monthly drink and discussion. That night has been made a microscopic rear view dot by water under the bridge, blockwalks over the bridge, and more than a few tide-turning, curling rail shots. The white fisherman’s sweater worn by the first thirsty cyclist, Martin Barrett, may have morphed only slightly into svelte sheepskin , but the rest of the thirsty scene has experienced tectonic shifts since that inaugural night . Even putting aside the personal bends and breaks endured by the fathers, the ground we roll over now is decidedly different dirt. It seems an age, but it really has been 5 ages:
Thirsty Prologue (2006-7) These years gave us the essential foundation pieces: the bicycle-only rule, the early lexicon, route plans, and, of course, The Nest. It was a time before bicycle garages, where ours were among the only ones locked up outside. It was a time of spokebills, Dirty Jazz, and the first glimpse of the Hal’s table. It was a time with no mention of curfew, when schmidnight was an ETA.
The Age of Heroism (2008) Following the delivery of a DVD project, the heroic age was underway. We honed in on new bars and stretched our collective legs on expanded routes. We became enamored with the St. John’s ride and included a heroic bridge crossing in our “bicentennial”. Our shuffleboard zeal was quickly sharpened into a manic, stat-driven disorder. We listened to the Springwater frog chorus. We exchanged Thursdays for Tuesdays. We began our a lovely honeymoon with Vendetta. A new , powerful camaraderie was built, calling forth age-defining acts of heroism: Bombing down from the zoo; enlightened 3 am tomato sampling; Christmas Eve on skis. Did you know that in some cultures “heroism” is called “tincture”? Well, now you know. Election night’s “new levels of clarity” ushered in the black president while trips to Foster Gardens and the Rumpus Room provided plenty of sober looks at the quaint depressant of the outlying SE region. And is there anything more heroic than Hurricane’s garlic fries? The bar had certainly been raised for that which was to come next: Foam.
The Foam Age (2009) The Foam Age is defined by a subtle, almost cosmic drift much like the foam plumes that rode the Manzanita waves of November. Debutant Lee Sousley mixed a bit of the heroic into the mix, smoking all comers at the Glisan St. Massacre, but this age’s defining moments came to us more in meditative, moving truth than in resolute, fixed points. The Tricentennial celebration was a hazy affair, highlighted by clouds of sly surprise and a St. John’s bridge Silent Assasin spectre. The mysterious continued with the the sudden appearance/disappearance of our favorite off-meds visitor from the east, Janush. My own personal foam was made foamier by numerous bicycle mishaps, including an ass over tea kettle tumble onto the Hawthorne pavement. Further murk ensued as we explored the river routes and bottles of La Chouffe. Tramapalooza lifted us into the more clouds and released us down out of castled pretension in the West Hills. Foam came rolling in when Jenny Microsuit made sub chubs go nub a dub. What were fathers do do after a soak in such foam? Warm up to a Roadside fire, where smoky thoughts find a collective plume. The foamiest of the foam came from Manzanita. This hazy three night affair emptied green tins, filled our stomachs, and left us mere sponges in the aftermath. It also served as the precursor to the dramatic shuffleboard run-in, culminating in the first true hammer ceremony, complete with considerable dusting of snow. At the closing of this age, we fathers were deep in blissful drift, not knowing what serious matters lay ahead.
The Trouble Age (2010) After ages of bliss without tether, we were due to be reined in by trouble’s coachmen. With viral amazing horses and Red Fang ringing in our ears, we muddled through the rocky road of 2010. It was a year where the bright shine of Liza Torelli could not offset a dark gray underbelly. In intentional denial of uneven personal pavement, we smoothly rolled on, our collective spirit providing some respite from the ugly potholes. The quadrimillenial featured a truly inspiring new wave dance recital following the first Coppa di Primavera, but spirits remained unsettled throughout. The honeymoon with Vendetta was over, as things were getting a bit sticky. The newly relocated Farmers began to take up residence at the Sandy Hut, a move that forever changed the face of TFC shuffleboard. Sure, we found liberty in the Superfund sludge, but we also experienced wet shorts on a Rocky Butte, many broken by-laws, and mold on Yasgur’s farm. The Autumn Cup saw this father rallying against the odds to victory much like the collective against each father’s respective turmoil. Just because you’re the cardiac kid, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take you heart medicine, boys. Shoring up against the storms, we stole lee-side tokes and rolled gome by schmidnight. Buoyed by such uniquities as a Fitzwaller’s home invite, a microphone radio test, a stinky ride past the impound yards, and a gas beach bonfire, we fathers sailed on through the troubled skies. When we finally said goodbye to the trouble year, the hammer had switched again and we all appeared on our way to a better land of shown silver and found gold.
The Age of Clarity (2011) It was only fitting that the Adjuster should make his debut on the last night of the trouble year, because adjustment was certainly in order. Contact needed to be made, ginger needed sniffing, and spinning wheels had traction to gain.. And so far, we are gaining. The senseless and ceaseless may have given way to mature temperance, but the collective energy is certainly on the rise. We have come so far, yet we now begin. Such is the age of clarity. So say we all.
Bars: Central, Vendetta, Tiga
Fathers: Martin (Car), Dan, Shalen, Scott, Sean, David