A Teacher’s Retirement Subsidy/Tending Bud for Others
The phone rang in the distance. Greg slowly got up from a squatting position while backing out from beneath a canopy of Sour Diesel. It took a minute to stand, his legs feeling his age, the pain burning in his “correcting arm.” Twenty-five years of teaching burned in his memory with each strained movement.
“Hello,” he answered the phone.
“Hey, Greg, can I come by?” Jake asked without asking why. It was understood what he wanted, a tray of starts, babies. He wouldn’t be visiting Greg otherwise, unless it was to house sit, then Jake would have called him. That’s how it worked. Jake, would call and say, “Hey, Greg, can you come up and talk?” At that, Greg would go to Jake’s house for instructions.
At times Greg thought it was funny how much the younger growers wouldn’t discuss anything, like they were under a microscope or something. Hell, it was said that every third house in some Humboldt towns were grow houses. Dime a dozen, he thought. Why would anyone care?
Greg’s retirement now included tending bud for others, house-sitting, trimming – doing anything to subsidize his meager fixed income. The irony was as thick as the canopy he crawled out of. Years of pain accompanying the work he did now, triggering memories of past pain, his past lives – from being a carefree kid, surfer, playing guitar in garage bands, to working hard as a serious college student, leading to years in the classroom, loving what he did, while at the same time, acquiring a lifetime of pain and anxiety.
Space was tight in these indoor grows. He’d only helped with one so far that was comfortable to work in. Most growers measured space by the pound, and this one was no exception.
The buds were nearly exploding with resin, shining from under the lights. It wouldn’t be long now before the “ladies” were harvested, but he wouldn’t be enjoying the cream of this crop. Depending on how tight the season had been, he’d end up with a fist full of much needed cash, and the perk of a bag of “pop-corn” buds.
His mind traveled back to the first time he took a drag off a joint. The So Cal surf culture he loved combined with playing guitar in garage bands made the perfect back drop for his love of the bud.
He remembered every milestone with a stony session with friends directly after. His mom understood, one hand on his bedroom door knob, leaning in to say, “Some idiot just shot and killed John Lennon. Go on over to your friend’s house and do what you do.”
You couldn’t really call it bud in the 70s, though. One, ten dollar “four-finger” ounce contained a dry, brown substance – more likely from Mexico. What we’d call “shake” in Humboldt. Floor droppings, the stuff others make into hash. In 1974 he remembered seeing an 80 gram slab of hash, with an ornate brand mark of, “Abar Kabul” on top. Who knew?
In the 80s he smoked Thai-Stick rolled in a “pinner.” Kona Gold started showing up from Hawaii. The four-finger, ten dollar Mexican bag became the sixty dollar Sinsemilla bag, and improved and got stronger until one ounce was more than two hundred dollars.
These days he ended up with whatever the grower he was working for at the time could spare. He figured he’d have to grow his own to enjoy the big, sellable bud he tended. That stuff went south, or east – depending on the reach of the grower. His retirement had to include working on the stuff in order to be able to afford to enjoy it.