Another entry on our friend, George Anderson…
I remember him introducing himself to me when I first showed up at the big communal house, the Old Stone House, up near the border with Canada. He walked up to me. He says, "Hi, I'm the Hermit of Ellenburg, up by Bell Hill. You ain't from around here, are ya?"
He got that right. And, I'd never seen such a creature as George. Then again, where he had come from and traveled to was an altogether different planet than my "Leave it to Beaver" terrain. It was thus such a privilege to be the man's friend for the next decade and some.
Back in my real dangerous days, I'd sometimes wander into places that I had no place being. I'd walk into biker bars, completely unappreciative that George had my back. He was not a big guy, but I now realize that he did have the look in his eye of a man who knew how to spot danger and he knew how to kill if required. His fellows recognized this.
One time, I waltzed into a joint out in the hills of upstate New York. It was full of Hell's Angels. I was oblivious. My head was full of mind bending chemicals. The Angels were stone drunk and gacked to the nines on speed. When I made my entrance, the place fell silent, like in an old western movie. Every eye turned to me with menace. Then George came in behind me, and everything returned to the buzzy cadence of any Sunday afternoon where bad business goes on. In a moment, very scary people were buying me and George beers.
It was only the next morning that it occurred to me, that George had likely saved my hide, just by showing up.