Highland-Green Estate was a park of carburetors, illegal vapors, men named Meredith, women with cigars, S&H Green stamps– and mobile habitats that would never experience any true flight in “Free Bird”.
Neither the song “Brown Sugar” nor J. T.’s “Sugar Trade” had any place along these dusty strips of road.
Chunks of rock salt have contained more softness. Convicts held more liberty. The Highlands was where the Age of Aquarius meet the epoch of a barracuda, as flower children shyly peeked their heads in, inhaling the legal and the not so legal.
The park was the dwelling of friends that belted-out Lynyrd Skynyrd songs to the 3 a.m. moon; men who prayed to metal goddesses; knelt to them; caressed them; beckoned their majesty forth; channeling their rebel strength for an ever present battle. In the wind you could hear Athena whisper a sweet name… Haaarley. This roaring empress of the road; would never betray, never shirk, never shame Odin’s warrior code. In a distant glow, a guitar whined: rifts sliding from thin micro-frets into jerky rhythms, lighting up the night– a special fever filled the air on the desolate seraph’s hideaway.
—If I leave here tomorrow— would you still member me–?
In the Highland-Green, carburetors, illegal vapors, men named Meredith, and even the S&H Green stamps dared not enter without Kerri’s dad’s permission. This was his Valhalla. He sat on the aluminum porch steps, his long graying beard competing with his charcoal mane for the terra firma below. He nodded in our direction as she exited the Dodge. His stomach had become paunch over the years, making his aging leather vest look like slumbering bat wings. But the neighborhood still feared him…him and his past. Moving toward the trailer was like moving into a long forgotten past. As she left the car I could hear her whisper, and this bird you cannot chain…
…Lord knows he can’t change…
Lord, help me– I can not change.
R.A. Freeman lives in Southern California. She writes about the contrasting worlds of Los Angeles and the Inland Empire and the experiences of growing up in the age of Tang, TV dinners and a post Loving v. Virginia America. Renee is thankful to Professors Ed Frankel, Alistair McCartney and Donald Strauss as well as Antioch University LA for awakening the dormant writer in her.