Smoker in San Juan Batista

We had made a day trip on motorcycles [from San Jose, CA] to San Juan Batista. Cheri was browsing for antiques, and I was sitting on a bench in front of Daisy’s Saloon. Shortly before California had passed a law that prohibited people from smoking inside bars and restaurants.

To help smokers to remember that they weren’t allow to bring lit cigarettes into the bar, there was a barrel with a couple inch layer of sand on the top of the barrel. This fit the character of the town, and prevented the need of the the staff to remind the cowboys about the no-smoking law.

As I was sitting there an old guy came up to the barrel, and looked over the cigarette butts that had been deposited into the sand. He grabbed the longest cig, grabbed it artfully between an index finger and the middle finger. Simultaneously he pulled out his lighter, and lit the cigarette so quickly that I couldn’t be sure that he hadn’t been smoking it as he approached the bar.

He sat down on the bench And we proceeded to tell stories. His story was that he had once been Janice Joplin’s bass player. Who’s was I to question him about this. We were only 100 miles from San Francisco, and he had displayed great dexterity in obtaining his cigarette. It was feasible.

Now he was living in an old trailer in Johnsons’ back 40. We had to pause our conversation because a tribe of Harleys was pulling out, and another was pulling in.

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