Monday, August 10, 2015

Grain Belt Beer and Pot

I thought I had written about this before, but I searched my blog and I cannot find any reference to this story.

In the early fall of 1971, I found myself sitting in a huge old barn just off of Interstate 80 in Davenport, Iowa. I wasn't sitting there alone. It was a beautiful autumn evening and there were a group of us hippies in that barn. One was strumming a guitar, another was drumming on some boards, and a visitor also with a guitar had joined in.
Very cheap beer.
The reason we were in that barn was to tear it down and sell the barn boards, which were a big fad back then. The barn was impressive, probably eighty years old and built by hand. We had been there for over a week, taking each board off of the giant hand hewn beams, one at a time. The barn was about fifteen miles from our hippie farmhouse, so we were camping out in it most of that week. Before our little hoedown, it had been determined that we needed beer. So I, along with another guy, walked about a quarter mile to the gas station at the end of the I-80 interchange where we could buy some Grain Belt Beer. Now my memory of this evening is a little sketchy, it was forty four years ago. What I do remember is a small group of black guys at that gas station, and one of them was talking on the pay phone. It seems that the vehicle they had been riding in had broken down out on Interstate 80, and they were now stuck in Davenport. We struck up a conversation with the guy who had been on the phone and invited him and his buddies back to the barn for some beer and pot, which explains why my memory of it all is very fragmented. The one bit of memory that I do have of that evening is that the vehicle the black guys had been riding in was a tour bus, and the guy who had been on the phone when we were at the gas station was Curtis Mayfield. I know what you're thinking, "Alan was so stoned, he probably hallucinated the whole thing."  I did not hallucinate this, and I did get to hear Curtis Mayfield in a barn, in Davenport, Iowa, accompanied by my hippie friends. 

 In case you never heard Curtis Mayfield.

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