The Red Ball Boots

    Someone at Tolstoy told me that if I was going to survive the winter there then I would need a good pair of boots.  Having money at the time, I decided that the next time that we all went to the Dairy Queen, I would look around town and see if I could find some place to buy a good pair of working boots.  Somehow, for reasons unknown to me now, I ended up with a really good pair of Red Ball rubber boots.  I guess, at that time, I did not know that boots needed air to breathe.  Well, I don't remember the time period we're talking about.  It may be Spring (1967 or 1968), give or take a year or two.
    Anyway, I cannot wear my dress shoes here at Tolstoy Farm, so I put them up in the attic of the main house.  Well, doing farm work was dirty, hard on dress shoes, so I was wearing my work boots.  So that Spring and Summer I wore my boots.
    When early Fall came around, I decided to go pick apples in the Yakima valley.  I had been there in the Yakima valley the year before picking hops and apples.  I knew there was good money in picking apples.
    I left everything I owned at Tolstoy, knowing that I would be back after the apple harvest.  I took only the bare essentials, clothes, and boots.
    Well, things don't always work out as planned, and I ended up at the Morningstar Ranch.  My Red Balls were still on my feet, with their sturdy steel shank.
    A good time was had by all at Morningstar.  It was the place to be.  Everyone knew that and everyone was there.  For some reason, I stood fast and ended up in the poky with Red Balls.  Do not forget, this is the story about the Red Balls.
    I was having trouble at that time with Doris the wench in training, the Judge, and poison oak.
    Ambo and Kathy said that they we going to New York.  Kathy was from Manhattan and Ambo was from New Jersey.  Tomas said, "Can I come along?"  They looked at me surprised at what I had asked.
    We hitched to Colorado where we got a ride from some young woman with two children in a VW van.  She was going to New York.  Share driving time, thanks.  When we got to New York, Ambo said that he was going to New Jersey, see ya.  I ended up at Kathy's mother's apartment.
    The day finally came for us to leave New York.  I tried to look up Jose on the lower east side (another story), but no luck.  Ambo came back with a car.  All we had to do was to drive it back to California.  Ambo said that we were going to stop in Chicago for a day or two to visit his friend Laurel.
    Did I ever say that I had not taken off my boots yet?
    While driving in an eastern state, I got side-tracked, and Ambo and Kathy went on without me.
When I finally arrived at Laurel's apartment in Chicago, I decided it was time to go back to work. Lessons learned with Kyle at the Buddhist Temple in Carmel and the Judge in Santa Rosa.  Everyone welcomed me back with a rousing Hawaiian Baby Rose Wood party that went on until Monday morning.  Ambo and Kathy said it was time to go back to California. I said that I am staying here and finding a job.  This time Laurel looked at me in surprise.
    After Ambo and Kathy left, Laurel said I could stay until I got back on my feet, so to speak.  Laurel, being a take-charge woman, promptly took me and my boots to a dumpster where I said my fare-thee-wells to the Red Balls.  She gave me another bath, with special attention to my feet.

We got into her 1967 metallic Sea Green Mustang and headed for the Loop.
We parked under the El and walked across the street to a Thom McCann's Shoe Store.
She in her tailored suit and
I barefoot with my church-colored corduroys and cape (with red patch), and belt made by Sylvia.
My  first pair of real shoes in God knows how long.
He walked tall and arrogant.
He wanted peace on earth.
What did Tomas look like in late 1967?
Picture a farmer with his rubber boots shoveling crap out of a barn. Remove the farmer and leave the rubber boots with the dung standing in place. Place Tomas in the rubber red balls. Place some orange corduroy pants on Tomas, they are a little to small and short, there is a gap between the bottom of the trousers and the red ball rubber boots. A leather belt with a harness buckle made by  lovely Sylvia. Put on blue check long sleeve cotton shirt, the shirt you would see on a lumber jack. Find your self a army wool blanket gray in color, wear it like Ming of Flash Gordon days of gone by. Place the cape on Tomas, beg one of the girls at Morningstar for a patch to place on your wool cape. The patch is only one of many patches being sewed together to make Lou a quilt.
Tomas has black/brown hair, he stands in his outfit, his mustache too long and gross, smiling with a silver tooth bright next to empty space. He is agile, passive and aggressive, hard working and stoned. Dip him in some dirty slurry and rinse as best you can.
Now we have a gentle creature, he is very happy to meet you, very happy to know that you are alive. He is very happy to receive the crumbs on his plate. He worships the ground he walks on.
He is only one, there are many more like him, they are all different and unique.

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