Misty loved to tell stories about the good life she had left behind in California. She greatly resented having to move to Winnipeg but her parents had split up and she had chosen to live with her father. Rick had met her
father when he went over to visit Misty one afternoon. Lloyd had long hair often worn in a pony tail,was tall, had a bit of a pot belly and was in his early forties. He bore somewhat of a resemblance to Pigpen of The Grateful Dead. Her dad played guitar and claimed to have been in a band in San Francisco. He said that his band was going to be signed by a major label but his marital break-up had derailed these plans.
After the marital split he decided to move to Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada as his parents lived here. Lloyd realized that he had a poor track record for holding down a steady day job and if things really got tough he would have his parents to bail him out. Lloyd loved his daughter but he was not a disciplinarian. That had been her mother’s strength. Lloyd was a libertarian at heart and had trouble even trying to discipline himself. That was likely the reason that Misty chose to live with him instead of her mother.
Rick was quite infatuated with Misty but she did not appear to have a romantic interest in him. She made it clear to Rick that he was not her type, but that she didn’t mind “hanging out” with him from time to time. Rick held on to a hope that at some point during that summer, Misty would change her mind. Misty had her sights set on a “freak” that she had seen while at Memorial Park, the local hippie gathering spot in the city in 1969. As yet she had not put any moves on the male hippie of her dreams but she was making plans to make herself known to him.
Rick felt that Misty’s problem with him was that he was a “straight” in her estimation, as opposed to the “freak” she had seen at the park. At this point I should explain the meaning of the term, “freak” as it was used in the nineteen sixties. A freak was a synonym for “hippie”. A freak would have long hair, usually well past shoulder length, wore bright often tie dyed tee shirts or a tank top and well worn blue jeans with patches. It was considered essential that a freak use illicit substances on a regular basis. The minimum requirement for a “freak” was to smoke marijuana.
Those who were on a “higher level” (no pun intended), in “freakdom” took LSD or as it was known, “dropped acid.” A freak was usually broke and was often temporarily homeless and would either sell drugs himself or ask passer-bys for “spare change.” Rick could never understand the concept of “spare change” or especially, a “spare cigarette.” When he bought a pack of cigarettes there were always either twenty or twenty-five cigarettes included in the pack. He never recall opening a pack of smokes that had twenty-seven or twenty-eight cigarettes in it.
Rick was what was known in the hip community as a “straight”. A “straight” was a person who wore a short, respectable haircut and did not take drugs of any kind. A straight might have tried marijuana once or twice but decided that “smoking dope” was not for him. You could smoke tobacco cigarettes and get drunk on beer every weekend and still be labeled a straight. Depending upon their age, straights would either regularly attend school or hold down a steady job. Straights usually did not like the music of Jimi Hendrix or The Grateful Dead but there were exceptions. A straight from Canada was often not even aware that a war was going on in Vietnam or if they did, did not see any relevance for it in their lives.
For seventeen years Rick had towed the line. Although he was not a great student he had studied hard at school this year and had brought his marks up from Cs and Ds to Bs and even an occasional A. He was only good at one sport and that was hockey but he had excelled as a goalie during the past season. Rick had occasionally gone to drinking parties with some of his teammates and had earned a reputation as someone who could really “hold their liquor”. Rick liked the feeling of being drunk but was not an alcoholic. After this hockey season ended Rick started smoking cigarettes again. He had started smoking for a short while when he was fourteen but was not by any means a heavy smoker. He didn’t even buy his own cigarettes at this point. He pinched a few smokes from his dad’s pack. When he got serious about playing hockey at age sixteen Rick gave up the habit. Now that he had retired from hockey he decided to start smoking again as he now believed that his athletic career was over.
He had certainly heard about marijuana but didn’t actually try smoking it