"He was, in fact, an odd mixture of small shrewdness and simple credulity. His appetite for the marvellous, and his powers of digesting it, were equally extraordinary; and both had been increased by his residence in this spellbound region."
(Washington Irving (1783–1859).
Why Barking Pumpkin as a record label name can never ellude human understanding.
Imagine times as they were then ... this is far back in the beginning early '60s now when bicycles weighing fifty pounds still roamed the streets and the weirdos were beginning to be drawn to certain pinpoints in the smaller reaches of the Pomona Valley and nestled in the tiniest area of this greater sprawling geography was precious village, a place of town and gown, trees and degrees, designed to replicate a New England town and with the inhabitants often exhibiting pretentious behaviors, both assumed and acquired.
We are in our rightful place, at the "coffee house" (the one where starving artists would sweep off the remainders of graduate student's evening coffee service, sometimes held still hot and steaming in fancier samovar styled urns, depending of course on which visiting dignitary had been impressing the graduates). And there are starched linen table cloths, the brightest of all whites ... and I am there feeling rightfully that I am at the center of my universe, because I likely have just had a conversation with Frank or some other and it may have been about music or some other lofty intellectual, poetic, sociological, or scientific consideration or a book or an idea ... and I am pondering the surrounding environment and trying to come to peace with it all, and being humbled by the mere consideration of the large expanse of human knowledge and the importance of teaching, as there are likely great professors at the school seeking to impart what they might know and have distilled as truth to the next batch coming up. So I may have been elsewhere in the day prior to this moment I am writing of, but I am sitting there with Frank.
When who walks in ... (how DID he find this place, a stranger himself to our small town) ... moving awkwardly and so totally unaware he is awkward in any way but who seems to me to be totally out of the scene and yet adhering himself to it ... and the thought Ichabod forms in my mind from the story I had read, from an olde booke
written far back in time that still seemed current and should rightly strike fear into the hearts and minds of any real teacher or even anyone who doesn't want to be like that, I thought about the tale that contained Ichabod [not the televised and movified cartoon versions, nor any that might ever follow, but the original story] although I thought somewhat meanly that some elements of this personage before me could easily be regarded as cartoonish ... a "nebbish
" I began to find other words to describe this character in front of me, walking stiffly about staring at this and that, and I suspected from the way he stood, or turned his head, and the manner in which he leaned here and casually rested there that he was not really comprehending any of it at all ... he could not comprehend any of it at all ... even the importance of being exactly where we were and why we were drinking a cup of coffee ... and I didn't even like the way he'd throw his head all the way back to sip down from his styrofoam cup those final dregs of liquid littered with small bits of coffee ground ... that character who walked in ...
So you see, there should be ways to keep people like that away ... keep them away from MY UNIVERSE ... THIS IS MY COFFEE HOUSE! borrowed though it is ... I can frighten them by throwing a pumpkin at them, or have a guard dog snap, and ideally even some cross between both ...
Although I will admit this person did give my sister a 45 rpm of a record he'd had something to do with, and I had played it on the big portable record player ... ("Oh I looked at the sea, and it seemed to say [hiccup, pause] You took my baby from me away .... " (echo, reversed meaning in next verse) "Come join me, baby in my endless sleep (fade out). Endless sleep. Endless sleep" (the record kind of skipped and clicked here as the needle picked up a dust ball and slid into the grooveless blank). And so she may have known him a bit better than I, at least well enough to have him give her a record he said he had something to do with a few years prior ... still, my sister didn't seem to like him very much, either ... and there he was ...
in MY UNIVERSE in OUR COFFEE HOUSE!!!
guard pumpkin arf! guard pumpkin arf! make him and people like him stay away ... now and forever more ... And I was likely thinking in a swirl, how on earth could I ever write about this, my own village (it was already so much larger than Ichabod's), or the inhabitants and the visitors to my own precious village ... and how THEY (let's say, the ones who owned the silver samovar and the table cloths) might in their foolish way be seeing US as living in our very own castles of indolence ... when THEY to me seemed to be lifelong permanent residents there themselves, in their own castles of indolence, and they didn't seem to mind being there (longing to be prestigious, always private, and very very expensive institutions of higher learning) a bit.