Rediscovered: Floyd Salas Meets Donald Sidney-Fryer

Left: Floyd Salas. Right: Donald Sidney-Fryer.

(Background: gold statue by Floyd titled “The Boxer.”)

I’ve had the idea that Floyd Salas and Donald Sidney-Fryer, “a pair of similar opposites” (to use a term Leo Grin came up with) really ought to meet — even if such a meeting might cause the Cosmic Spheres to shake, and reality as we know it to end.

Hey, you never know.

I guess I’ve had this vague plan cooking for a decade or more, and tried to pull it off a couple of times earlier, but the timing went against me.

However, on Saturday October 28, 2017, I checked Another Deed Done off my list. Got them together for the first time. Since Floyd is now 86 and DSF 83, I don’t know how many more meetings lurk in the future. But I got them in the same room at least once.

The impulse: in many ways, they are almost the same guy. Both lived in the Haight in the late 1960s, deep in the Hippie culture. Both are poets — though Floyd is a modernist and DSF a traditionalist given to sonnets as a preferred form. Both are loud stand-out characters. Both are about the same height, both exercise nuts — Floyd courtesy his regime as a boxer and DSF as a Marine who kept the running and calisthenics and weight-lifting going, to this day.

As soon as they started talking DSF went into one of his routines about the origins of some word in French or Russian or whatever, and after a minute or so Floyd looked over at me and said, “Is this guy for real?”

“Yes, Floyd,” I replied. “That’s him.”

Looked like it was going to be a rocky start, maybe going nowhere, but soon enough they began to talk about how many miles they run, respective weights. . . . Floyd popped himself in the abs to show how hard they are, then poked DSF’s abs on invitation. Floyd asked something about DSF’s calf muscles and DSF jumped out of his chair and began to yank down his pants — “No, man!” Floyd yelled, “Just pull up the pants leg!”


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