Thanksgiving in the Desert (2010)

I will never forget that day in the desert with ole Wild Bill. A tale of giving.

On the final Thursday of November 2010, I was stuck in the deserts of southern California. I still had the Jeep and was living on BLM land south of Joshua Tree National Park. I’d made a friend over the month or so I had lived out there, he was a man in his 50s named Bill. It was the end of the month. I got paid on Fridays and had used up the rest of my funds on.. whatever. Good ole Bill was a veteran and was awaiting his monthly installment coming at the beginning of December. We began the day with nothing.

I awoke early that morning to Bill’s van pulling onto my patch of land just south of the desert mountains where they dip off into the coachella valley just before dropping off of the high land plateaus. We were “desert rats.” Before I could sit up Bill had jumped out of his van and was knocking on the Jeep. “Hey man, you got any cigerettes? I’ll make coffee!”

We went back to his camp in the van, I had a few cigerettes left and just $5 for another pack. He made the last of his coffee upon our last 3 pieces of wood while we smoked the last of my cigerettes. We joked about our wonderful Thanksgiving dinner that would likely consist of hotdogs and “Beefaroni” Ole Bleu had plenty of dog food and we watched him indulge in his Thanksgiving feast.

Soon we were out, of everything. I decided to make my way back to my desert home by foot to scour for firewood along the way. I found a stick. I was carrying my stick and sent out my annual txt message “Happy Thanksgiving from the Palm Desert” Not just a few steps and a man had seen me carrying my stick. I did not remember him or his group on our way to Bill’s camp but he shouted out, “You lookin for firewood?”

I held up my stick and smiled, “Yup”

“You gotta truck?” he asked.

“I gotta Jeep!”

“Well pull it around!” I sprinted to the Jeep and drove it to their camp. They had come here for a warm Thanksgiving but said they were just going to leave due to the high winds. It was always windy up here. The only thing that kept my home warm were the giant rocks to the north. The men began piling wood into my Jeep and literally filled the back up with over a month’s worth.

Stunned, I said, “Well shit we just ran out of weed too! hah” We were in southern California.

“You got a pipe?” Instantly I grabbed it and he loaded it full.

I got a little ballsy and held up my small container containing a tiny bit of leaf. “Yup that’s what I’m workin with”

“Let me see that” he said, he took it and began packing it full. He was reaching into a duffle bag, just a duffle bag, no inside baggy, and pulling out big buds of my favorite plant.

My jaw had dropped, I pulled it shut and then opened it again, “Well hell!! I gotta bigger container than that!”

“Go get it!” he exclaimed. I somehow made it to the Jeep and back in 1/2 of a second with my larger container. He looked up as if to say “Did you move?” I handed it to him and he began packing it full, with his fingers he shoved the weed in as tightly as he could. My blood was boiling with joy and the man handed it back “Happy Thanksgiving!” I returned the gesture and the group, after a bit of smoking, continued to pack their things.

I hopped in the Jeep and floored it to Bill’s camp. “BILL! Things are lookin up for ole Bill an Dave!! You’re not going to believe this!” He was already smiling as if he had a secret of his own. I began by opening the back of the Jeep and he stepped back like he’d never seen so much wood.

“Well alright!!” he said.

“That’s nothing” I revealed the large amount of weed I’d acquired and he stepped back and grabbed his chest.

“Holy shit!! I need my oxygen!” he had a tank he’d breath from every morning. “WOO HOO!”

“The Magic of the Desert my friend! You show it love and it loves you right back!” I said.

He squinted, “I got something for YOU!” He hops into his RV and comes out with a giant piece of plastic. Inside was a vaccum sealed chunk of fresh salmon caught strait from the Canadian Mountains, givin to him by an old man in a million dollar RV. We never saw the group of weed angels leave but they were gone. We sat that evening and watched the sun set over the Western Mountains next to the biggest fire you’d ever seen and roasted up the best salmon you’d ever tasted. We smoked the finest weed and lots of it. We were set, the desert had worked it’s magic. We’d began the day with nothing and soon had way more than we’d ever bargained for.

“Dave, you’re alright son” he said, as the moon came out and lit the entire desert almost as much as the sun had. We just smiled, packed another bowl and tore off more of that wonderfully roasted fish. Life was good again, and we were thankful.

This Thanksgiving I began my day on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, the sun’s out and it’s in the low 70s. I’ll never forget that day in the desert. The magic of the desert had blessed us. This Thanksgiving started out pretty good, I’m checked into a room now but will wander, looking for something to give. Last year I recieved, and this year I think it’s time for me to give a little, although I don’t have much, I thought I’d begin by giving you a magical story. Happy Thanksgiving.

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