Tico, Tino, Debbie, Sammy, Sam, Franky, Louie, and Soldier Boy are on my mind this morning. Ran into Sam in a parking lot who remembered me as Tico and Debbie’s step-brother.

Man! What a rush of memories that was!!

I was the only white youth in our neighborhood and I think God’s grace and the ability to draw kept me out of trouble.

A couple of my car and girl drawings ended up in Lowrider magazine in those days.

I remembered reading a page from “Earth Abides” by George Stewart wishing I was “Ish” when my brother Tico and some of the others burst through the door. Tico was bleeding from a bludgeoning wound to his cheek with the perfect impression of a pipe wrench at its center.

Our house was on Marseilles was positioned so we had a “U” shaped front yard where a lot of the parties took place.

I was “Ish” the ‘observer’ not ever getting involved but seeing herione, cocaine, marajuana, promiscuity, and beatings take place, only sometimes trying to stop it but mostly just going inside, hiding in my room and reading books.

Many mornings I remember going outside to cover girls, turn people over from laying in their own vomit and dragging Tico and/or Debbie inside.

The more we remembered together, the more I think Sam and I were grateful for what we were both saved from.

Sam was still in touch with some of the old ‘family’ and nothing good came of any of those days.

Those days saved me from ever being tempted to experience those distractions from the call of God on my life, though I’ve certainly had my share of others.