I remember my good friend Victor H. Victor and I were classmates in high school, graduating in 1977.
In the summer of 1976, Victor, Mark S and I backpacked across the Sierra Nevada. It was a 2 week, 120 mile trek. I remember how, halfway through the hike, we all started hungering for a hot, fresh meal.
All around the trail, there were these plump looking grouses (plural of grouse, anyone?) darting in and out of the scrub. After awhile, we all started seeing them with their feathers off, little dressing caps on the ends of their feet, and roasted. We started carrying rocks the size of billiard balls in our hands.
Whenever a grouse would appear, we'd chase after it, backpacks weighing us down. The grouse would run a zig-zag pattern. We'd fire the rocks just as the grouses would take their short-hop flights in the air, evading all our throws.
It got to be kind of funny. Desperate hikers chasing after these little chicken-like things. I don't know what we would have done if we actually bagged one. I guess we would have found a new use for our Swiss Army knives...
Anyhow, I didn't know it at the time, but Victor was gay. You'd have never guessed it in high school. Victor was one of the most popular guys in the school, especially with the girls. He was funny, handsome, an AAU champion swimmer, and the singer in a rock band we started.
We named the band "The Piss Aaron Band" in tribute to our favorite singer and performer, Todd Rundgren. Victor was the first person to turn me on to the wonders of Todd. I graduated high school never knowing Victor was gay.
Shortly after high school, Victor got heavy into the gay bath house scene in San Francisco. He spent more and more time in the City. We lost touch, but I heard he died in the early 80s from HIV/AIDS.
Victor has been gone for about 30 years, but he will never be forgotten.
Here's to you my friend.