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Tahoe Pine Nuts: Seeing the Loop from the backside

McAvoy Layne
Special to the Bonanza

Fifty years ago this summer, Sneaky Legs Calhoun and I hitchhiked across America on a lark.

With nothing more than a guitar, a change of clothes and a couple sleeping bags, we drifted lazily down the California Coast, along the Gulf and up the Eastern Seaboard to Connecticut, visiting 19 states along the way.

I doubt it could be done today by two young lads with as much comfort and so little effort. People are not as trusting today, and with good reason.

Most folks who picked us up along the way were lonesome and wanted some conversation and perhaps a song or two, though we could only provide one song, and only a portion of that.

An African-American gentleman down in Alabama asked if we were going “around the Loop.”

Not knowing exactly what he meant we nodded in agreement that we were in fact going around the Loop; then he upped the ante by telling us he had “seen the Loop from the back side.”

So of course we adopted that as our life’s goal, to see the Loop from the backside, which neither of us has done to this day.

In Biloxi we dumped our belongings on the beach and took a swim in the Gulf. The warm water was so shallow that we had to run for a half-mile before we could dive in, during which time our belongings disappeared.

But as good fortune would have it, two girls our age were waving to us with a guitar from a second story balcony.

They shouted down that we could get our belongings back for a large pizza and six-pack of beer, whereupon one of them tossed a wallet down, which happened to be mine.

Their names were Penny Price and Brandy Baron, and they were the nicest two people, and the most fun, of anybody we would meet along the way.

They told us they would be dancing in Miami in another week, so we made a mental note to try to be in Miami in a week, which we somehow managed to do. And once in Miami we had our belongings stolen yet again, and this time for keepers.

Broke and downhearted, we came across a sign that advertised our dancing friends, Penny Price and Brandy Baron, and guess what? Those two angels of mercy bought us toothbrushes, a hearty meal, and got us going on our merry way the next morning.

I only wish we knew their whereabouts today. Sneaky Legs and I would treat those two angels to a day of skiing and a lobster dinner at the Lone Eagle Grille.

We met many wonderful people in that summer of ’65, but none so gracious and generous as Penny Price and Brandy Baron.

It makes me wonder now if maybe we weren’t seeing the Loop from the back side at the time, and didn’t even know it.

I’ll have to ask Sneaky Legs when I see him — he’ll remember. What the hell, it’s only been a half a century…

Learn more about McAvoy Layne at http://www.ghostoftwain.com.


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