Chicken, Steak & Hut Dawgs

This is the story of Shirley and Spike, as much as I know and can recall. A very odd couple from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It was 1967 or so and my band was playing at at the Blue Moon, a Mafia-run club in Lowell, Mass. We had long hair but were far from being hippies. In my view, the Beatles had come along and blown the whole haircut thing out of the water. Musicians were first to let their hair grow out. They wouldn't get fired. But the hair thing caught on. To this day I see men with the weirdest hairstyles I could never have imagined and still think, "The Beatles did this."

One night at the club, a Shelby Cobra pulled up outside, and our drummer, a hot-rod-hot-car fanatic who couldn't afford the price of any motor vehicle, about went nuts at the sight of the thing. The guy with the Cobra had come to hear our band and lived in Portsmouth NH, not too far up the road. Well the guy was rich and a musician too, had a band that practiced in a separate building on his property. His name was Spike. Spike had a wife - named Shirley - who never went on Spike's outings except to eat in restaurants. She had some surplus pounds on her but nothing to resemble today's obese Americans. I don't think she cared much for the sports car. Spike liked to hang out with "the guys" whoever that may have been. He kept a keg of beer in the kitchen to keep "the guys" supplied with libations. Spike was easily likable, an affable fellow you could say. I don't think Shirley cared much for Spike's lifestyle but after all he was the one with the money. She seemed to have no female friends and was resigned to life with Spike as it was. If she complained, it was never when the guys were around. She spoke in a New England accent that placed her upbringing exactly where she was, about two-thirds of the way between Boston and Kittery Maine. "Kit-tree."

Spike, presumably having traveled some, had no discernible accent or dialect. Accents are an odd thing. Having grown up in central Connecticut, halfway between New York and Boston, the two familiar accents cancelled each other out. In those days I could tell a person from Lowell MA from a resident of Lawrence, not far away. Bob Kasabian, husband of Manson girl Linda Kasabian, was from Lawrence MA. We hired him off the beach at Salisbury, as a "roadie." Bob had a distinct dialect to go with his very odd use of English. The patrician tones of JFK and RFK are not something you'd generally hear in eastern MA.

Spike enjoyed spending money as long as you didn't ask for some (a generally unwritten rule with most rich people). One night he took us all out to eat. Us and Shirley. Conversation with Shirley wasn't much.

But in a seemingly almost angry tone she informed me, "I only like three kinds of meat - chicken, steak and hut dawgs." "Dawgs" is not an entirely accurate way of quoting her pronunciation, between dawgs and dahgs, but it will have to do. Food talk was her principle means of asserting herself.

When I got to California, no one had an accent except Europeans and Brits. The other (my fellow) Americans had all left their hometowns, where most everyone had local accents.

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