Wednesday, September 23, 2009

My friend Anton

I had three friends and two cousins that stayed friends with me through most of my life. My friend, Anton has been my friend since he was 11 and I 14 when I met him at a church party. He is also the only best friend(of my non-relatives) that is still alive or who still knows who I am after all these years. I'm now 61.

I can remember a church party that was a pool party and it was one of the first times I questioned the hypocricy of church goers in general. A child was drowning in the pool and people were sitting in their best clothes eating at tables all around the child while the child drowned. So I got up at age 14 and saved the child. I only ruined my tie by getting it wet. I was pretty upset with all the church partygoers. However, because of my age I just sort of gave everyone a dirty look as they clapped after I saved the child's life. I think it was about this time that I met Anton.

If I was 14 then Anton would have been 11 years old. I didn't think to much about it at the time because this was a long way from where I lived and he was attending a different church of my denomination. (He lived in Palos Verdes, Ca. and I in Glendale)
So flash forward 7 years.

Now Anton was 18 and I was 21. We were both at a church Conclave in Mt. Shasta. His parents had already gone back the then 10 to 12 hour drive back to the Los Angeles Couty area. So, I was sitting near the Boys dorm in the 2000 acre church retreat area in the mountains and he came and asked me for a ride back to Los Angeles. I didn't know what to make of him as he was wearing his hair pretty long and wore bell bottom pants and a belt with harmonicas all around it. And I knew he had his own band that was very successful for a high school band.(Almost all of the band members became successful musicians eventually including Anton).

Since I had just broken up with my girlfriend and was distraught from that and because my parents had just moved from Los Angeles to San Diego I realized I could use the company on the long drive back to Los Angeles. Also, during that retreat I had sort of protected Anton from being beat up by other boys 17 to 25 years of age at the church retreat as Anton had a lot of attitude like most people who become successful do.

So, Anton and I headed home in August 1969 in my almost new 1968 Chevrolet Camaro. He was pretty impressed with my car. As we drove home (I was supposed to start work 24 hours from that day) he and I decided to climb Half Dome in Yosemite because as we drove we both realized that we were both dedicated climbers and mountaineers. Though I was fired from my job for being 24 hours late Anton and I became lifelong friends through climbing Half Dome in Yosemite together. (using the summer chain not a vertical assent). The route we took is about 10 miles each way and barely able to accomplish in one 12 to 15 hour hike for most healthy people (unless you are strong enough to jog it). If you climb up to Vernal Falls by trail and then take the trail to California-Nevada Falls then the trail to the rounded side of Half Dome goes up from there. However, don't attempt the chain if you get vertigo with thousands of feet exposure. I almost lost my second wife there in 1985 before we flew to Nepal because she got dizzy from the exposure and I barely got her back down off of Half Dome.

Though Anton and I shared many many near death experiences from mountain climbing, rock climbing and almost freezing to death, for example in a white out on Mt. Shasta, still some of the best adventures of my life I shared with Anton and other friends throughout the years.

Since Anton always from the time I was 21 usually had a band of some sort, I met a lot of people while he was rehearsing or playing in his bands. The first band concert I went to to hear he and his band play(his first band was called Bulls Eye electric) was at a high school in Altadena. During the concert there was a girl who made it a point to kiss every guy in the band during breaks. I found this very strange at the time.

But over the years even as we both stopped climbing mountains so much as we grew older we have still made it a point to ski on Mt. Shasta (either mountaineering skis or downhill skiing) at least once every year. Another place we have always loved is swimming or kayaking on Castle Lake or swimming in Lake Siskiyou or its tributaries that feed into it. (Mt. Shasta city park, Castle Lake and Lake Siskiyou and all the tributaries are recognized as the beginnings of the Sacramento River. So, it is safe to say that the Sacramento River starts flowing out of Mt. Shasta and the surrounding areas.

Also, if Anton is playing a concert near where I live he comes and stays with my family and I on his way passing through even now.

If you are interested in his music he is at:

No comments: