Mixsonian Larry


July 4th Bacchanalia


One day after work I stopped by and saw Jim and Michael who still lived in the cottages next to the place I lived on Old Archer Road and told them I was moving in July to Melbourne, so Michael suggested having a party out at the farm.  I thought a going away party would be nice and perhaps six or eight people might show up but Michael had bigger ideas.  Two days later Michael calls me at work and to stop by his place to pick up some brochures he made up for the party.  On my way home I stopped by Michael’s place and he gave me copies of the brochure which, with it being the Bicentennial of the United States, he titled “Bicentennial ’76 Bacchanalia”.  The brochure provided a detail map to the old Mixson house where I lived.  I don’t know how many of the brochures he had printed up, but he gave me a stack of twenty and he had at least twice that for himself.   

The weeks leading up to the party I continued to work and started packing up my things.  I didn’t have much, the kitchen stuff, books, records, clothes, my new IMSAI 8080 computer still in the box would all fit in my Chevy van but I did have some furniture, a couch, king-size bed, desk, filling cabinet, kitchen table and chairs so I decided I would rent a small U-Haul trailer and made a reservation for one.   I also handed out the party brochures Michael had giving me and a few said they would come, including my dance teacher Melody.

Washtub The washtub in my backyard 2023.
See also washtub in 1954.

Sunday came and it was a typical Florida summer day, sunny, hot and humid but was perfect for a summer party.  I got up ate a bowl of cereal for breakfast, smoked a bit of weed, and packed up a few more things until lunch which I made a sandwich.  Michael showed up about two o’clock with the keg of beer and several bags of ice which we put in the washtub I had and then placed it in the shade under the giant old oak tree that stood in the yard after which we smoked a joint and waited for people to arrive.  The party was listed to start at three and by a quarter after three no one had showed up.  Being the type of person that was always early to events, I was beginning to think that no one was coming but Michael assured me they would come and by 3:30 several people had arrived.  By 4 PM there were a dozen and by 5 pm there were at least two dozen.  Cars were parked all over the yard and up the sides of the road leading to the house. 

I was enjoying the moment when someone came up to me and says “There is a lady in a car asking for you.” , pointing the front of the house.  I wondered who it could be, so I walk to the car and I see Aunt Iva Mae, the aunt I was renting the old house from, her old house.  She wasn’t looking too happy, evidently word of the party had got to her all the way to her house in Williston.   Her car window was rolled down, so I walk up to her and in my most respectful and polite voice say, “Hello Aunt Iva Mae, how are you today.”  This seemed to disarm her somewhat and she says in her shaky voice, “I am doing well.  What is going on here?”   I tell her we were having a Fourth of July party and she says, “Oh my, its not going to go late is it?”   I assured her that no it would not go too late, that it would be over and everyone gone at sunset.   Still not looking to happy, she said okay and drove away.

The beer was flowing, joints being passed around, the music playing when someone came back from a walk with a handful of magic mushrooms they had collected.  If you aren’t familiar with magic mushrooms, scientifically psilocybin mushrooms, they have been used by native American cultures for spiritual uses for thousands of years and were made popular in recreational use in the U.S. by Timothy Leary in the 60’s.  Magic mushrooms in Florida commonly grow on cow patties and my house, being in the middle of a hundred acres of cow pasture, there were plenty of cow patties, so it didn’t take long for someone to find some.  I had done magic mushrooms a couple times before, made into tea or mixed with Campbell’s Mushroom soup and had pleasant experiences with them.  The mushrooms by themselves are quite terrible tasting and not being made into tea or having soup, I accepted a couple small ones and washed them down with a good swig of beer.   

The party was going well, I and everyone were in a good mood while a few more people showed up including my dance teacher Melody.  Elizabeth, since she was living at my house at the time, was also there, but we kept our distance from each other.  While a few of my friends came, most of the people were Michael’s friends who I didn’t know so I spent most of my attention on Melody.  The party was winding down and people starting to leave when I looked at my watch and saw that it was eight PM.  Melody said she was leaving and I suggested that I go with her and we go watch the fireworks which were going to be at the University at 9:15 when it got dark.  Melody said she would like that.   There were a handful of others still there including Michael, so I went to Michael and told him I was going to see the fireworks and said the people could stay a while but should leave soon and asked if he could move my stereo system back into the house before he left.   He said he would and so I left in my Chevy van following Melody who was driving her own car. 

It is a half hour drive from the old farm house to the University and Melody and I arrived just as the fireworks were starting so we parked our cars, got out and watched the firework display.  When it was over, Melody asked if I would like to come over to her place and I readily agreed and so we ended up at her place and before long we were in bed together.

I awoke with the sunlight coming in through the window the following morning with Melody still asleep beside me.  As I stirred, she woke up and I told her I had to get going for I had to go pick up the U-Hall trailer for my move.  I don’t remember much more about the morning, I was still a bit in a daze, but she laid in bed as she watched me get dressed, and leave.   I had the preceding week told her I was moving to Melbourne, but I felt bad that after making love with her the first time, then walking out of her life, or so I thought at the time.

Bob Dylan
A Simple Twist of Fate

He woke up, the room was bare
He didn't see her anywhere
He told himself he didn't care
Pushed the window open wide
Felt an emptiness inside
To which he just could not relate
Brought on by a simple twist of fate

Updated: 02-08-2023