Excerpt from I REMEMBER

By A. R. Graham

There is a little known story about Anne and Andy Morrison administering dinosaur-size doses of peyote to an entire community in 1969. Andy Morrison and a few ne’er-do-well, ex-prep school, dirty, scruffy, hippie-types decided that they would go on a road trip otherwise known as, “The Search for the Holy Peyote.

Equipped with a crude treasure map given to them by an equally mad hippie, they drove/sailed off to a remote part of the southwestern desert in search of the medicinal compound.

The posse drove all the way through Texas. After two days of searching in the relentless sun, the half-deranged Donner Party finally stumbled into a remote region of fields infested with the wild cacti – big, fat, ugly, dirty, strychnine-filled tubers. The motley crew crammed themselves and as much of their pay dirt as they could back into the Holy Peyote Mobile.  They sped back to Coronado, California to unload their coveted treasure so they, in turn, could get loaded.

Andy and the pirates returned a week later with two sea bags crammed full of those foul-smelling psyche-delicacies cactus. We weren’t sure who smelled worse the mescaline buttons or the posse.

Andy laid out the booty on his sister’s back lawn to dry in the sun.

The word soon got out in the community about how the most powerful cactus in the world had hit town. Everybody came by the house to take a look.

One of the more impatient members of these peyote pirates could not wait for the organic acid to dry. He took a huge bite of the gruesome, unripe, bitter-tasting button, swallowed it, and promptly threw up. The rough and tough buccaneers followed suit, but had a hard time swallowing the impossible-to-eat hallucinogenic cacti.

Anne came to the rescue. She made chocolate peyote shakes, which did little to improve the taste and smell. The frothy concoctions tasted like embalming fluid and Ajax combined.

Andy urged everyone to hold their noses and just chug it down.  We all tried it at the same time. Much gagging, vomiting, and gasping took place in the next half hour. It was the most foul-tasting concoction on earth and next to impossible to ingest. This did not deter Andy and his gang. Eventually, the pirates managed to get enough poison into their systems that they ignited into Fourth of July fireworks. It was a sight to behold.

Soon the word got out that the Grahams were celebrating their own Independence Day. What seemed like the entire youth in the town of Coronado came by to try Anne’s medicinal compound, which was most efficacious in every case.

The cacti-fest raged on continually for a week. You could walk around our little hamlet at any time in the day or night and find our local hippie population staring at each other or at inanimate objects as if they were studying some great piece of art or sculpture. Some went on trips and never returned. Unfortunately, the Donner Party was too high to go searching for these celestial souls.

Anne claims to this day that she never sampled any of her own potions, but I know she did because of the perpetual smile plastered on her face for four days.

Jim Morrison was not the only one in the family who consumed large amounts of mind-altering substances.

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