I'm pleased to hear the rain. One of my earliest tasks post-Christmas was to install the water-butt I bought about this time last year, which languished all year and blew about in the winds we've had since. To imagine it filling now with water is to imagine summer, and the smell of warm soil.
One of my jobs, that I worked my way through college in Los Angeles doing, was with Chicken Delight. It was on York Boulevard, just off campus. Owned by Brothers Foods. Marv Osband was the brother we saw most, and he is one of my heroes. When I first began working for them, it was run by Marv's mother and father-in-law, Dutch, who I remember as a big man, solid, and good to work for. Later, Dave Testerman became the manager; a young veteran, and another hero. He spent an entire weekend day one day wrestling neighbourhood friendships and connections into getting my VW repaired (for what I don't remember), so that I could drive up home to the San Francisco Bay area. I hope he's had a good life, with a good family.
Chicken Delight was a store-front fast-food restaurant, with deep-fry fat boilers behind a counter, and a huge walk-in refrigerated room in the back, down a yellow-ochre corridor, where our door was, to come and go, and outside which I parked my car. My main job was delivery, although we cleaned, cooked, restocked. I say "we", but I'm not seeing another driver.
The color compositor was an elderly man, probably in his late 60s, who lived in a small wooden house somewhere in the area - one story bungalow, with his bed against the wall of the one room you came into through the front door, bringing his chicken and french fries. The bed would be unmade, and he would be in an undershirt. And then one day he was up, in-suited, shaved, bright - a different man. The reason: He'd been called by his old employers, and asked to come in. He hadn't all that long been let go, because in the transition from hardprinting to off-print litho or perhaps even early computer assisted, his skill set was no longer needed. But he had been called, and his mind was at work. A lifetime of skills and experiences filled his eyes, and straightened his body. He was going back, and they were needed.
My memory of my next visit is of a man, partly dressed and on his bed, unshaved, unkempt, everything around him wrinkled, and a body devoided; a defeat. It wasn't the man and his skills they had wanted. It was to honor him with a proper goodbye.
I also remember Princess Chinneta Northernweather, to whom I apologise if I have spelled her first name wrong. She had come to Los Angeles to be in the movies, and had a baby grand piano in her - room? apartment? My memory is of natural light in the room, and a bubbling presence. She had come before the war, I think, and this was the early 1970s. She still had her aspirations. That room/house/apartment? was closer to Hollywood. We delivered remarkable distances, sometimes with cold food.