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  • Writer's pictureJordan Heinrich

Bruno's and Bob Dylan

Updated: Feb 3, 2021


The first time I tasted Bruno's Wax Peppers from Lodi, CA was at Reagan Reynolds' house in Fair Oaks.


It wasn't really Reagan's house. It was Jimmy and Bettye's house. Dear sweet South-Texans, through and through.


Their grocery bill must have been the highest in town for non-Reynolds youth hangers-on.


I was one of many.


From the first tangy pop of these pale green gems I was hooked.


*****


After getting my license at 16 I made a ritual of driving my second-hand Volkswagen Jetta on Saturday afternoons to Tower Records at Birdcage. Always in search of the newest Bob Dylan tape cassette. And by new, I mean new to me, only.


I would stand in front of the tape cassette rack and pick up each one to look closer at the cover artwork, track listing, and any small clues from Bob that might be hidden for me.


I don't have very many memories fonder than those.


I would buy one at a time. Putting the tape on the counter. Feeling like I was getting a sly nod of approval from the cool clerk ringing me up. Nodding back. See you next Saturday.


I paid with a five dollar bill and got change.


Then straight into the VW tape deck. Cranked. My 16-year-old heart and mind were receiving the life lessons and codes that serve me today.


Do yourself a solid, put on Another Side of Bob Dylan, 'Ballad in Plain D'. Listen to it with a teenager's broken heart in love.


My next stop was always Reagan's house where they had a double-tape cassette player and tall speakers in the living room.


*****


One Summer Saturday two worlds collided.


I can't recall the recipe of desires.


But before making my weekly pilgrimage to Sunrise Blvd. I detoured to the neighborhood Raley's Supermarket at Hazel and Madison. Only one item required.


A jar of Bruno's Mild Wax Peppers. No bag, thank-you.


Windows down. Hand-crank sunroof open. Jockeying the stick shift. Last week's Dylan discovery blaring. On my way to meet the Tower Records Wizard once again.


The open jar of Bruno's tucked between my knees.


Hand-fishing pepper after pepper from the jar into my mouth. Bang. Boom. Slam. One after the other.


Worlds opening up!


*****

By the time I got to Tower the jar was down to 1/4.


By the time I got to Reagan's, she was gone.


I still drive a Volkswagen Jetta.



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