Warm Cookies With A Whiskey Chaser

The Perfect Mix of Comfort and Shenanigans

Blogroll Me!
100 Things About Me
Tinmen Don't Dance
Humble Sandwich
A Son from Another Mother; Matt
Auburn Pisces
Splenda In The Grass
the bokey chronicles
Jeffrey Ricker
Rocket Man
The Beauty of All Things
No Milk Please
A Life In The Day
Shadow Footprints
Scott B Blog
Seth Hancock Photography
Famous Author Rob Byrnes
Watersea's Ocean Bloggie
Cheap Blue Guitar
Does This Mean I'm A Grownup?
Upside Down Hippo
Loose Ends

Monday, August 23, 2004

"He's Wesp-Eye The Sailor Man...TOOT TOOT!"

When I first came to California as a teenager from Hawaii, I was not a happy person. I was angry at my parents for plucking me out of my paradise and sending me to live with my mother's foster parents so that I could go to high school on the mainland. My dad was about to retire from the Navy and they wanted me to start school at the beginning of the year instead of mid-semester, which as a parent, I now understand (though I wouldn't do that to my own kids). But back then, it was devastating. I actually hated them for it.

At the beginning of my freshman year, I met a girl in my English class. She was your typical blue-eyed, summer blonde. Cute, freckles across the bridge of her nose, and a very sunny disposition. I actually hated her for it.

Even worse, she said she surfed. "Oh sure," I thought. "She thinks SHE'S a surfer." Her name was Charmaine and one Friday after class, she asked me if I wanted to spend the night at her house so that the next morning we could go on "dawn patrol" together. Well, the mere fact that she knew what dawn patrol was kinda gave me a clue that maybe, just maybe, she was a surfer after all. That first morning surf as the sun is coming up is heaven. To be in the line-up, waiting out there with all the other surfers for waves is what you live for. Of course, I said yes.

That night, at Char's house, she introduced me to her family; her older brother Tim, who was as hot as hot could be, and since I had a thing for haole guys, I was instantly smitten. Her older sister Stephanie, who hated surfing, surfers, Char, me, and everything else (she was just at that age). Her mom, LaVonne; a sweet, soft spoken woman. But no dad? "Don't worry," said Tim. You'll meet ol' Wespeye. EVERYONE meets ol' Wespeye.

Just as we were about to have dinner, Char's dad walks in the door with an ice chest and a big smile. "Dinner Vonnie!" She says, "Wes, I already have dinner made!" "But Vonnie, these are FRESH fish!" So he goes outside and starts cleaning his catch and throws them right on the barbeque. "THAT," says Char, "is my dad". His name is Wes, but everyone calls him Wespeye. And they all start singing "Wespeye the Sailor Man" to the tune of "Popeye." TOOT TOOT! I laughed. I actually loved them for it.

When she got a chance, in between his comedic outbursts, Char introduced me to her father. And every chance he got, he'd walk in the house and give his "Vonnie Oyl" a kiss and a squeeze. She blushed. "SO!," he said to me, "You're from HAWAYA, huh? Well, can ya hula for me?" I blushed. He had an easy laugh and a twinkle in his eye. He loved life. Ate it up with a spoon and some tartar sauce.

He took Char and I out driving that night. Neither one of us had our license since we were only 14. Wes had a '68 mustang. It was turquoise. We thought it was THE coolest car in the world. He laughed and laughed even though we sucked at driving. Instead of getting all hyped out and yelling, he'd calmly reach across from the passenger side and take the wheel when we'd veer offcourse and say, "Whoa there Girl! Let's not put this little filly on the racetrack yet!"

The next morning, he woke us up at 4:30, threw our surfboards in the back of his pickup. He'd already been up for an hour packing his breakfast and hitching up his boat. Then, he dropped us off at the beach pier and told us that he'd meet us at the Dory after we were done surfing. By that time, he'd have his limit of fish and we could head home. When we met him after, he had that great big smile and a new load of fish for his "Vonnie Oyl." Everyone at the pier and the dory knew and loved ol' Wespeye. And he loved them right back.

He was born right here in Costa Mesa in 1929. You don't hear that very much around here. People move here from other places, but not many were born here back when it was known simply as "Goat Hill". In the 30 years I've lived here, I've never seen goat. But Wes could tell you the where's, when's, and why's about his beloved Costa Mesa. His love for this coastal flatland, the ocean that hugs it, the boat that he spent his years on, were all very evident from the minute you met him.

Char called me last Thursday, in tears, to tell me that her dad had passed away that morning. It was sudden, unexpected, but peaceful. Today, at the services, she hugged me and held me tight and I returned her embrace. She whispered in my ear how happy she was that I came. I whispered back, "Anything for Wespeye." And she let out a soft little laugh and squeezed me tighter. "I can't believe you remember that." I remember everything. Especially Wespeye.

Rest sweet, rest soft
Slumber comes at star's loft
Fear no more the pain of past
Sleep dear one, sweet sleep at last

In loving memory
Wes "Wespeye" Crocker
1929 - 2004


Post a Comment

<< Home