Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Daryl Dave

One day in the summer of 1976, about a month after arriving in Sacramento, I decided to go and check out a local bar. It was called The Zoo, so of course it caught my attention.

As I approached the door the sound of laughter and a juke box flowed from the door.
Upon entering I found that indeed the name was fitting. The crowd ranged from rice farmers to motorcycle gang members, college preppy folks, sports fans and even a Go-Go dancer on a small stage. (It eventually became known that she was a transvestite).

I began frequenting the place and made a number of friends there. At one point, before I had found a job, feeling I was overstaying my welcome at my cousin's house, I lived in my van in the parking lot. I paid off my bar tab by working there, cleaning etc. during the day, before it opened.

One of the people I met there was Dave - Daryl Dave. (more on the Daryl part later) Dave worked doing construction site cleanup and his girlfriend of the time worked at the bar. One weekend Dave invited me to his house for a party. There I met his circle of friends and was soon taken into the fold. Before long a room became available at a house were several of the group lived, now having a job, I moved into what became a major party house. Anything was an excuse for a party and weekends called for a keg or two. You could always tell when the garbage truck got to our house. Every stop down the street yielded thumps when the cans were dumped into the truck. At our house it was just the clinking and clattering of beer bottles and Southern Comfort bottles.

Eventually it boiled down to a group of about a dozen friends spread between three houses with a party going on at any given time at one of them. One day we were sitting around, totally hung over, and Dave made a comment about what a bunch of derelicts we were. After that we amended our names with the surname Daryl, hence Daryl Dave. The moniker didn't work so well with the women of the group so they became Hosetta, a slight modification of Hoser from the Second City TV characters Bob & Doug McKenzie.

One of the more memorable moments I have of Daryl Dave was the Stinkin' Lincoln!
A mid '60s Lincoln Continental. A huge beast of a car. Suicide doors, spare tire in the trunk lid, kazillion horsepower engine! Dave had so many tickets and overdue registrations on it that they totaled more than the value of the car. Not wanting to just haul it to a junk yard he entered it in the demolition derby at a local county fair.

So we had a party and took out all the glass with a sledge hammer, tore out the interior except the driver's seat, replaced the fuel tank with a little 3 gallon tank, welded the doors and hood shut and other sundry things to prep the car.

The derby is held in the center of the oval track, a track with steeply banked turns at the ends. The pit for the derby was at one end of the track, beyond the banked turn.

Dave did pretty well during the first round. He had been hit a few times and was getting up the nerve to start ramming the other cars. After the first round horn sounded all but one car left the ring. The Stinkin' Lincoln drove off, wobbling a little in the rear.

After a short period the cars came back into the ring and lined up for the start, but no Stinkin' Lincoln! The second round started and we were all bummed out that he hadn't made it back in, when suddenly...

Over the top of the embankment, came the Stinkin' Lincoln at about 25 mph BACKWARDS!
Airborne over the track, it landed with a big cloud of dust in the derby ring. Then with the pedal still to the metal Dave drove right up on top of an old Thunderbird. Stuck there, he sat burning his tires off on the T-bird's roof in a big cloud of smoke until knocked off by another car. Dave and the Stinkin' Lincoln didn't win that night, but he sure had a great time. So did we!

As time went by, people moved away and or apart. Most of the people matured, got steady jobs, started families. A few just couldn't break away from the alcohol. It kept its grip, dragging down their lives, ruining their dreams.

Unfortunately Daryl Dave was one of the latter. I last saw him about five years ago and his health was suffering already at that time. He had a hard life, several broken relationships, minor run ins with the law and failing health.

I received a call last night from a mutual friend who informed me that Daryl Dave had passed away Super Bowl Sunday, just before the game. Initially it was thought he had a heart attack, but the official cause was cirrhosis of the liver.

This weekend the old crew will be gathering to spread his ashes and celebrate his fifty three years on this earth.

May you rest in peace my friend.

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