Thursday, January 6, 2011

Reefer Madness

If this 1930’s propaganda film can teach you anything about pot, it’s how to laugh at people who smoke too much of it.

This story was written in July of 2007
It was early in the 1970’s. We had just moved from Chicago to Minnesota. After we tried the rural life and found it too hard to just jump into, we moved to St. Paul and rented a place. We had one daughter back then. Numbers two and three hadn’t arrived yet.
There was a young couple, unmarried, co-habitating hippies, living above us. I guess we were living the hippie doctrine as well, we were married though. Howie and Paula, the folks upstairs, were nice people and back in those days, at least for us, we had no extra money and never strayed too far from home and the macaroni and cheese.

A very youthful Spadoman with Mrs. Spadoman, circa 1971, at the High Falls along the Pigeon River on the Canadian/Minnesota border

We shared a lot of dinners with those guys. Paula worked for a turkey research farm for the University of Minnesota. She’d bring home flats of fresh turkey eggs and we’d scramble a bunch or make these surrealistic oversized deviled eggs. Four eggs would make a loaf of French Toast.
Due to our vice habits of smoking way too much pot, the large turkey eggs and copious quantities of anything we made for dinner was suitable. Seems like we always had enough money for a little reefer. If we didn’t, then one of our friends did. This was the social life of just about everyone we knew. Go to work and come home and sit around and smoke dope. We’d eat, then crash, and do it again the next day. On weekends we’d just skip the work part and get high all day. Oh, and listen to a large, loud, blasting stereo playing the Allman Brothers or “In-a-gadda-davida”.

Laughing Joe, I wonder what was so funny

Howie and Paula were from a small town called Spooner, Wisconsin. Howie was working for the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad and was transferred to the St. Paul yard in Minnesota from Wisconsin. They both still had family and friends back home. These friends would come and visit once in a while and their friends became our friends quickly, mostly because of our pastime. We were all very kind and happy people.
Many of these folks from Wisconsin also worked on the railroad with Howie. One of them found that there was a plethora of Cannabis Sativa growing all along the railroad tracks. They called it ditch weed and it was ripe for the plucking. Steve picked a larghe trash can sized bagful of this ditch weed and dried it out to get it into smokable condition.
Try as we might, we smoked and smoked and never got the tiniest sense of a buzz from the ditch weed. That was too bad. For we had enough of that stuff to keep us in tall clover for a long time and even the possibility to make a few bucks in the process. But from resourcefulness came an even better idea.
Steve’s girlfriend, Laurie, took some of the ditch weed and ground it up in a blender and made it into a powder that had the consistency of flour. She added this “flour” into a chocolate chip cookie recipe and fed them to the hungry mouths of the munchie driven masses, that’d be us.
Low and behold, the ditch weed worked wonders when baked and the results were an everlasting blast of euphoria which came on exactly one and one-half hours after swallowing the first bite. We used that green flour in everything. Cookies, cake, mashed potatoes and the ever popular chocolate fudge walnut laden brownies sprinkled with powdered sugar.
One time I was on the road being a truck driver and brought a batch of these cookies with me. I was laid up in Walla Walla, Washington and spent the evening late into the night in a place called the Zodiac Bar. I met some folks over cold beer and the conversation led to the ditch weed and the fact that I had some of these magic cookies in my possession.
I left town in the morning, but not before dropping off a few of the baked morsels to my new found friends from the Zodiac. I told them to call me sometime and tell me what they thought of the cookies. When I returned home from a west coast run, I had gotten a phone call and this fellow tells me how much he enjoyed the ditch weed delights.

You gotta remember, this is in 1976 and there were no cell phones and long distance was still expensive. This guy was so impressed he made the high buck call to thank me and wanted me to mail him some more cookies.
Another time, when Howie and Paula decided to tie the knot and get married, we went to the wedding which was held in Paula’s Mom and Dad’s back yard back in Spooner. A beautiful place along the Yellow River. The dinner, if you will, was a keg of beer and these beautiful loaves of cranberry orange nut bread made with locally grown Wisconsin cranberries, and laced with the "green" flour. A tub of butter for slatherin’ was on each and every table.
We ate and ate this bread and drank and drank the beer and nothing happened. I guess the recipe, being different from the cookies and brownies, made the impact time longer. We ate so much of that sweetbread that by the time the high kicked in, we had ingested enough to keep us high for a week!
We partied all night, slept eight hours, got up, ate breakfast, then ate lunch, and found ourselves still holding the buzz. It was so out of control that we just decided to roll and smoke one big fatty because we couldn’t wait any longer to come down from the cranberry orange nut bread fiasco.
Well, the ditch weed cookie craze went out of favor after a while and we went back to good old pot smoking again. Time went on and many years and many a joint later, I happen to be on an Amtrak with a very good friend. I was older now and had more sense. Well, maybe just older.
I got a hold of some pot and baked a half dozen cookies. Since we couldn’t smoke pot or even cigarettes or cigars on the train, we ate them cookies and drank good gourmet coffee that we had brought from home and brewed in the snack car, getting free cups of hot water from the attendant.
We sat in the scenic vista car as we rode the tracks through the Rocky Mountains, all the world taking on a new light. Each of us giggled and laughed like the old days and we talked of the memories of those days of our lives. This experience was also many years ago.
I guess now, as I approach geezer hood, it might seem a bit odd to divulge to you, my readers, escapades of my youth that were illegal and to some of you, immoral. But I’m just taking the advice from a friend that says I need to laugh at least once everyday while I go through life’s progressions. Recalling bits and pieces of the pot head days made me laugh and brought back the pleasant thoughts of old friends.
A few years ago, we were at a Pow Wow near Spooner, WI. A lady sat behind me and recognized me by my voice. She tapped me on the shoulder. It was Paula. We hadn’t seen each other in 28 years. We sat and caught up on who died and who was living with who, and we laughed about our antics.
Today January 4, 2011
The time stamp on this story said July of 2007. I don’t think I ever posted it until now. I probably didn’t think I should tell people about such raucous behavior. I’m going through a stage where I’m digging through old writings and posting them and this one brought back fond memories and laughs. Besides, I also realized that a lot of my past could bring you down, especially if I posted things back to back like I have recently. So this is a part that is laughable. And it's all true.

Memories of my over-the-road truck driving days, memories of the early days when we moved from Chicago to Minnesota and memories in general of a life well lived, for hiding what I did would be hiding from the truth. 

You all know by now the byword at Round Circle, The Truth is Spoken Here.
I might want to mention that the first time I ever saw pot and smoked it was sometime during my time spent in the American war in Vietnam. Turned on by a friend named Mike, it changed the reality of a very ugly portion of my life. Might not be a good excuse for my behavior, but this fact is also the truth.

In any event, I can’t help but look back and smile. I’m still with the same woman and we’re still in love. That’s enough of a blessing for anyone to have, and when I recall old memories, I can share them with at least one of the people who made them with me, and sometimes more, as many of my old friends are still around. That is truly priceless, and these things we did, no matter how foolish, made us who we are.
I just can’t wait to hear the pot stories from you, my faithful readers. I’ll be checking my e-mail as I know you’ll want to stay flyin’ low, below the radar.


Jeannie said...

It seems strange to me - I didn't smoke much weed back in the day. It didn't do much for me. I suppose the stuff we got in the north was total crap but I preferred alcohol anyway. I've been smoking a little over the past year for pain. I still don't love getting high but a couple puffs helps the pain without putting me too up in the clouds. I still prefer a drink. It doesn't do much for pain though.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. Thanks for sharing this.

All the best, Boonie

mig said...

Well it hasn't done your memory any harm : )
funnily enough, we were watching a TV programme tonight called how drugs work or something like that and tonight's subject was pot. It was exasperating because although it pretended it was going to be about the science, it was more a creepy programme with a lot of slightly scary visuals and a presenter with just a touch of hip in his accent to give his carefully understated warnings some street cred. the science was just a few interviews and badly conducted 'experiments' with young people smoking.
We used to have a laugh too and there was one night we had candles lit all over our flat and smoked some really nice pot and fell asleep happy and laughing. In the morning though, all the candles had burnt out and the whole flat was covered in black soot! Even our noses were black!
When a very good friend died unexpectedly a few years back, I went outside (we had children then) and even though I'd given up all smoking at the time, I smoked one under the stars, just for him.

Mel said...

Oy geeze....I'm a farm country gal--there's ditch weed galore around here and it's commonly mistaken for pot plants. I laugh when folks spazz out about the smoke-ability of it. And if itching is your deal, g'head and yank it up and give it a go. *laughing* Pass, ty!!

Crazy times--I've had many variations on the theme. If it wasn't using chemicals it was inhaling them (now THAT'S stupidity at it's peak!) and the stupidity ran rampant for a whole lotta years.
I laugh about it today--only because I've paid the dues TO laugh today.
Come to think of it, I don't know many who've had the privilege of paying for a squad car and having nothing to show for it--well....I did have the flashing lights and the car seats for a while so I'm thinkin' that counts as 'something'.
Silliness in action--but great disco lights!!! Ohmygosh...LOL

I'm glad I can also remember what brought me to the decision(s) to step AWAY from that brand of stupidity. I discovered I can be just as creative (without having the pricetag--squad cars are HORRIBLY expensive).

Gimme sidewalk chalk and bubbles!
Woooohooooooo!!!! LOLOL

Christopher said...

Good times! I see 40 years ago you were a bit of a ringer for L.Pavarotti (and Mrs S. for S.Loren) but I expect that unlike Pav. you knew when to lay off the pasta. In those days no vapours passed my epiglottis other than a tobacco called Three Nuns (Empire Blend), but the whisky flowed as though I lived in the shadow of the Big Rock Candy Mountain and...

...*drifts off into heady dreams of nostalgia*


Sarcastic Bastard said...

What a great story. I don't judge, man. There are a whole HELL of a lot of worse things to do in this life than smoke pot.

I'm like my good friend, Jeannie. Pot usually doesn't do much for me. I prefer the booze.

Your friends sound like great people to me.

Your marriage sounds like such a blessing. That's what it should be--shared memories. I am glad for you.