Andy Hall, friend, hunter and Woody Creature
Special to The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Andy Hall, another unique Woody Creature, has gone to his reward.
Andy was a fixture on the patio of the Woody Creek Tavern, where, with the other regulars, he would spend warm summer afternoons exchanging nuggets of wisdom, conventional and unconventional, analyzing current events, enjoying a smoke, and watching the tourists while they kept an eye on him.
Andy enjoyed hunting, and fighting with his horse, Country Joe, an animal that would not for one moment hesitate to put Andy on the ground, a job of work for man or beast. They would climb the steep slopes up to Andy’s hunting camp above Woody Creek in weather foul and fair, and a journey without a wreck would bring a sardonic sort of joy to both. Joe wasn’t gun-shy and didn’t mind packing down dead animals, but he wasn’t too crazy about Andy. Andy was devoted to the horse in his own way, and he made sure it was well fed and built it a shelter with the same care he put into his own home.
“Home” was a trailer with infinite additions in the Woody Creek trailer park. Some called it “the bat cave,” others characterized it in less-flattering terms. Walking through the front door of Andy’s home could mean a greeting from something freshly killed and hanging in the mudroom, or an expletive from deeper in the sanctum. Either way, one felt equally welcome.
Andy was a Navy man, and, after an honorable discharge in the ’60s, he spent time in the California counterculture from San Francisco to L.A., building saloons, collecting esoterica with which to decorate them, and hobnobbing with the underground comic artists of the time. He could spend hours recounting stories of R. Crumb, Skip Williamson and others. During that period he would scour decaying movie sets, studio back lots, and, indeed, the world, collecting strange and exotic objects for his employers to fill their bars and homes with. This was, undoubtedly, where he developed his penchant for collecting the things with which he filled his own house, and every square inch of his yard – something his neighbors couldn’t help but notice. While it is occasionally said of people that “their trash is other people’s treasure,” the opposite was true of Andy Hall. He could never fully understand why his yard sales weren’t more successful, and this would vex him.
Andy’s long friendship with Woody Creek neighbor Hunter Thompson was a source of great pride. He was skilled in many areas and was a valuable right-hand man for Hunter in home improvement projects at Owl Farm, and for darker endeavors that occurred in the night.
At 66 years old, Andy Hall was one tough sumbitch but he knew the game was up on Christmas Eve. Whether he went “gentle into that good night” only the hospital staff can say, but he seldom went gently anywhere else.
Andy put the color in “local color.” Nothing about Andy Hall reminded people of Aspen, and if that were his epitaph it would suit him fine. Andy will be dearly missed by his friends in Woody Creek.
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