The Grande Dame of Woodstock

August 7, 2011

My Dear Ones,

It’s been a while ~ I am not celebrity material ~ I am an artist, impeccable according to my own standard. But fame, vain glory, celebrity, I’m just not so good at that. It probably comes from my leftist, union-organizing, never show “the wheat that grows highest is always cut down” upbringing. There was however a chink in all of that -- my father. My father the capitalist who drove, of all things, a Caddy or a Buick convertible. Not a Ford or a VW. So somewhere in my deepest self is the wheat woman who would be cut down driving a Caddy. But of course, “I ride my bike, I rollerskate, don’t drive no car”.

I walked into a restaurant, Pita Jungle and just happened to sit next to the owner. Now this is a fast food, healthy, Mediterranean establishment--well known in Arizona--that is truly amazing in its blending: cross-ethnic, fire-roasted chipotle with tahini sauces blending, blending sesame-oriental, infused with something unmistakably Italian. Over-the-top I am about this place, you just cannot get sick of it. There is the garlic dip and if you don’t want carbs (pita bread) with your dips and hummus, they’ll slice up fresh cucumbers for you. Not the ones that have been sliced and sitting in ice, but fresh-sliced. So I was almost crying because Peter (you know him, but maybe you do) who just recently passed away, would have by now been best friends with the owner sitting next to us ~ but Peter wasn’t there.

Or was he?

The wheat woman driving a Caddy, as she was leaving, introduced herself. The proprietor was sitting with perhaps investors and their wives...and me, the most unassuming of all, the unlikeliest candidate for celebrity, walked over to the assembled and announced, “Your food is so special that I want you have my new album. I am Melanie.”

Peter was so proud as I walked out into the night and opened the door of my Caddy. Beau Jarred closed the door behind the Grande Dame of Woodstock and wheat stalks went flying down the 101 South.