After a couple of minutes of heavy sobbing a troubling thought raced in Rick’s mind. He had to get back to the Park. Lloyd and Misty would be looking for him. Rick ran from behind the building and made it back to Memorial Park in under a minute. Just as he calmed down and got his bearings Rick recognized Lloyd’s bright yellow van turning onto Memorial Boulevard.
Lloyd’s van pulled up and parked on Memorial Boulevard and Rick started to wave and to yell out, ”It’s Rick. I’m over here.”
Misty stuck her head out of the window of the van, “Where’s your girlfriend?” Isn’t she here yet?”
“Well, she was here but you just missed her by a few minutes,” Rick managed to say calmly.
“Where is she now?” asked Misty.
“Headed back to Vancouver with her old man. I think she’s planning to join a rock band there,” Rick said in answer to Misty’s question.
“That’s a real bummer, man. I feel bad for you Rick,” said Lloyd in a comforting tone of voice. Lloyd like all males had felt the pain of being rejected by a woman. It feels like a hard punch to the gut that makes it hard to breathe.
“Well, hop in the van buddy. We’re going to try to ease some of that pain. You may be hurting but you won’t be lacking for female company,” said Lloyd.
‘You can ride in the back with my sister, Sasha,” Misty offered.
“Hi Sasha,” Rick said without really looking at her.
“ Don’t worry. I’m still in a bit of shock now but I’ll work my way out of this funk. I’m sure glad you guys are taking me to the rock festival. Hearing good music and being with good friends will help to cheer me up,” said Rick.
What bands do you like Rick?” asked Sasha.
This time Rick turned towards Sasha taking a good look at her. Rick could see that Sasha was a few years younger than both he and Misty, but she was cute. Sasha was a short girl with shoulder length blond hair. She was wearing a Jimi Hendrix tee shirt. The picture on her shirt was from the cover of Jimi Hendrix’s first LP. Sasha wore a red beret on her head.
“ I like what you like,” Rick answered. He was already starting to feel a bit better. It’s amazing how the potential for a new relationship can make one forget about the pain of the last break up.
“How do you know what I like?” asked Sasha with a look of surprise.
“Well, your tee shirt’s a dead give away. You have a picture of Hendrix on it,” answered Rick. In fact I just bought that record two days ago,” said Rick in a friendly sliding over a little closer to Sasha.
“You’re right,” said Sasha laughing. She did not show any sign of discomfort when Rick moved closer to her. “ I like some hard rock like Jimi Hendrix, Cream and Blue Cheer.”
“Ah, right on. I love Blue Cheer’s first album, Vincebus Eruptum. “
“I’ve only heard their single, Summertime Blues on the radio,” Sasha said adjusting her beret.
“Would you care for a Coke, Rick?” Lloyd asked.
“Yes, that would be great.”
“How about you Sasha?”
“Yeah, I’d love one.”
It was starting to get hot already and all the windows in the van were now being rolled down.
“ I know what you’re going through. My boyfriend dumped me for another chick two weeks ago,” said Sasha pulling the tab off her Coke. “But to tell you the truth today I don’t even miss him.”
It was about an hour’s drive to Lake Mariposa but the time passed quickly for Rick and Sasha. It turned out that they had many interests in common. They both loved to read, and liked art, animals and bike riding.
As the van pulled up to the festival gates Rick paid for everyone’s admission by purchasing a family pass.
“How much do I owe you Lloyd ?” asked Rick.
“Your admission’s covered Rick. You already earned it by keeping Sasha entertained the whole way. Before I knew that you were coming along I was afraid that Sasha would be bored, No chance of that now,” answered Lloyd before breaking into a loud guffaw.
“Don’t worry sir. I’ll take good care of your daughter,” said Rick with a smile.
“A gentleman yet! What more could a father ask for?” said Lloyd and they drove towards the campgrounds.
“The guy at the gate said that we could take the first open camping area that we like, Lloyd said as they passed through a wooded area. Rick always loved the smell of campgrounds. There was the sweet aroma of burning wood and people barbequing meat. The van finally stopped at a somewhat secluded area bordering the lake. The whole party agreed that this would make a great campsite.
“Well, let’s get our tents set up first before we find the area the bands will be playing at. Rick helped Lloyd unload three Army Surplus tents from the back of the van. As Lloyd, Misty and Rick were all experienced campers the tent set up took less than twenty minutes.
“Rick, could you carry a cooler to the band area for us?” asked Lloyd as he was about to close the door to his van.
As they walked to the main stage area Rick could already smell the distinct odor of marijuana. Or was it just that he noticed that Sasha was wearing patchouli on her skin?
When they arrived at the main stage area there was no doubt that it was dope that Rick had been smelling. Misty started rolling out their blankets. She brought three blankets along and they were all very colorful. One had a picture of a tiger’s head with a black background. The second one had an engraved picture of the Grateful Dead. The Third one was a print of The Beatles Abbey Road album cover.