• August 8, 2013
    http://www.dead.net/features/greatest-stories-ever-told/greatest-stories-ever-told-days-between
    Greatest Stories Ever Told - "Days Between"

    By David Dodd

    Here’s the plan—each week, I will blog about a different song, focusing, usually, on the lyrics, but also on some other aspects of the song, including its overall impact—a truly subjective thing. Therefore, the best part, I would hope, would not be anything in particular that I might have to say, but rather, the conversation that may happen via the comments over the course of time—and since all the posts will stay up, you can feel free to weigh in any time on any of the songs! With Grateful Dead lyrics, there’s always a new and different take on what they bring up for each listener, it seems. (I’ll consider requests for particular songs—just private message me!)

    “Days Between”

    A generation was defined by knowing where they were, what they were doing, at the moment they learned of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. I have had a similar experience of the “generation” of Deadheads, over the years, talking with fellow Deadheads about August 9, 1995, the day we learned that Jerry Garcia had died.

    I was at work, at the Kraemer Family Library at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. The campus is situated high on a bluff overlooking the city of Colorado Springs, with a view to the west of Pike’s Peak, surely one of the most impressive views I have ever spent time with on a regular basis. When a co-worker came to ask if I had heard the news, I first spent a little time online, making sure that it was indeed true, then I had to leave my desk, leave the building, and go for a long walk. I headed for the open space on the bluff above the campus buildings, where you could go and get a long view, and walked for about an hour, I think. My eyes blurred with tears, and the view shimmered.

    “Days Between” has come to be an anthem that makes us remember Garcia in a particular way, and, in particular, the days between his birth date of August 1 and his death date of August 9. It’s a fitting song for such thoughts, with its big sweeping chords and its lyrics heavy with nostalgia and longing.

    There’s a word in German, sehnsucht, that lacks a proper emotional counterpart in English, but which means, roughly, “longing.” It carries a sense of wishing you could see something—see something again, see something at all—that something is missing from your eyes and from your presence. I find that “Days Between” belongs with a raft of songs that induce this feeling in me.

    “Days Between,” a late song in the Robert Hunter / Jerry Garcia songbook, was perhaps their last collaboration on a big, significant song, one that ranks with “Dark Star” and “Terrapin Station” as ambitious and intentionally grand. (I was talking the other day with a friend, about Garcia’s playing and songwriting, and the thought came up that Garcia, like few others, was unafraid of grandeur, and could successfully pull it off. Same with Hunter.)

    It was first performed on February 22, 1993, at the Oakland Coliseum Arena, the middle show of a three-night run. The night before, they had premiered three other new songs: “Eternity,” “Lazy River Road,” and “Liberty.” Its final performance was on June 24, 1995, at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC. During its relatively short time in the live repertoire, they played it 41 times, always in the second set, and fairly frequently rising out of the Drums.

    It appeared like the ghostly ships it describes, as if gradually from a fog and only slowly revealing itself as something very big, towering above everything around. It’s hard to say it any better than Phil Lesh did in his autobiography, Searching for the Sound:

    “Achingly nostalgic, ‘Days Between’ evokes the past. The music climbs laboriously out of shadows, growing and peaking with each verse, only to fall back each time in hopeless resignation. When Jerry sings the line ‘when all we ever wanted / was to learn and love and grow’ or ‘gave the best we had to give / how much we’ll never know,’ I am immediately transported decades back in time, to a beautiful spring morning with Jerry, Hunter, Barbara Meier, and Alan Trist—all of us goofing on the sheer exhilaration of being alive. I don’t know whether to weep with joy at the beauty of the vision or with sadness at the impassable chasm of time between the golden past and the often painful present.”

    Each verse in the song contains fourteen lines, and each evokes a different season of the year, although not in sequence. The first verse contains the lines “Summer flies and August dies / the world grows dark and mean.” I can’t hear that line without thinking about August West, in Wharf Rat, and, by extension, Garcia himself. “The singing man is at his song / the holy on their knees.” Who is the singing man, if not Garcia, when it comes to Hunter and his words?

    There is something wave-like in the repetition Hunter employs with several key phrases: “There were days, and there were days, and there were days between…” like the waves upon the sand. And “when phantom ships with phantom sails set to sea on phantom tides.”

    This is a song in which Hunter leaves wide open the individual assignment of meaning, as with many of his lyrics. But there is something so tender in his evocation of the past—of each of our pasts—that I really hesitate to say anything that could possibly put any of that into my own personal box of meaning. So I am going to err, possibly, on the side of not writing enough about this song, in hopes that I might not say too much.

    I still miss Jerry. Where were you on August 9, 1995?

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By David Dodd

Here’s the plan—each week, I will blog about a different song, focusing, usually, on the lyrics, but also on some other aspects of the song, including its overall impact—a truly subjective thing. Therefore, the best part, I would hope, would not be anything in particular that I might have to say, but rather, the conversation that may happen via the comments over the course of time—and since all the posts will stay up, you can feel free to weigh in any time on any of the songs! With Grateful Dead lyrics, there’s always a new and different take on what they bring up for each listener, it seems. (I’ll consider requests for particular songs—just private message me!)

“Days Between”

A generation was defined by knowing where they were, what they were doing, at the moment they learned of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. I have had a similar experience of the “generation” of Deadheads, over the years, talking with fellow Deadheads about August 9, 1995, the day we learned that Jerry Garcia had died.

I was at work, at the Kraemer Family Library at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. The campus is situated high on a bluff overlooking the city of Colorado Springs, with a view to the west of Pike’s Peak, surely one of the most impressive views I have ever spent time with on a regular basis. When a co-worker came to ask if I had heard the news, I first spent a little time online, making sure that it was indeed true, then I had to leave my desk, leave the building, and go for a long walk. I headed for the open space on the bluff above the campus buildings, where you could go and get a long view, and walked for about an hour, I think. My eyes blurred with tears, and the view shimmered.

“Days Between” has come to be an anthem that makes us remember Garcia in a particular way, and, in particular, the days between his birth date of August 1 and his death date of August 9. It’s a fitting song for such thoughts, with its big sweeping chords and its lyrics heavy with nostalgia and longing.

There’s a word in German, sehnsucht, that lacks a proper emotional counterpart in English, but which means, roughly, “longing.” It carries a sense of wishing you could see something—see something again, see something at all—that something is missing from your eyes and from your presence. I find that “Days Between” belongs with a raft of songs that induce this feeling in me.

“Days Between,” a late song in the Robert Hunter / Jerry Garcia songbook, was perhaps their last collaboration on a big, significant song, one that ranks with “Dark Star” and “Terrapin Station” as ambitious and intentionally grand. (I was talking the other day with a friend, about Garcia’s playing and songwriting, and the thought came up that Garcia, like few others, was unafraid of grandeur, and could successfully pull it off. Same with Hunter.)

It was first performed on February 22, 1993, at the Oakland Coliseum Arena, the middle show of a three-night run. The night before, they had premiered three other new songs: “Eternity,” “Lazy River Road,” and “Liberty.” Its final performance was on June 24, 1995, at RFK Stadium in Washington, DC. During its relatively short time in the live repertoire, they played it 41 times, always in the second set, and fairly frequently rising out of the Drums.

It appeared like the ghostly ships it describes, as if gradually from a fog and only slowly revealing itself as something very big, towering above everything around. It’s hard to say it any better than Phil Lesh did in his autobiography, Searching for the Sound:

“Achingly nostalgic, ‘Days Between’ evokes the past. The music climbs laboriously out of shadows, growing and peaking with each verse, only to fall back each time in hopeless resignation. When Jerry sings the line ‘when all we ever wanted / was to learn and love and grow’ or ‘gave the best we had to give / how much we’ll never know,’ I am immediately transported decades back in time, to a beautiful spring morning with Jerry, Hunter, Barbara Meier, and Alan Trist—all of us goofing on the sheer exhilaration of being alive. I don’t know whether to weep with joy at the beauty of the vision or with sadness at the impassable chasm of time between the golden past and the often painful present.”

Each verse in the song contains fourteen lines, and each evokes a different season of the year, although not in sequence. The first verse contains the lines “Summer flies and August dies / the world grows dark and mean.” I can’t hear that line without thinking about August West, in Wharf Rat, and, by extension, Garcia himself. “The singing man is at his song / the holy on their knees.” Who is the singing man, if not Garcia, when it comes to Hunter and his words?

There is something wave-like in the repetition Hunter employs with several key phrases: “There were days, and there were days, and there were days between…” like the waves upon the sand. And “when phantom ships with phantom sails set to sea on phantom tides.”

This is a song in which Hunter leaves wide open the individual assignment of meaning, as with many of his lyrics. But there is something so tender in his evocation of the past—of each of our pasts—that I really hesitate to say anything that could possibly put any of that into my own personal box of meaning. So I am going to err, possibly, on the side of not writing enough about this song, in hopes that I might not say too much.

I still miss Jerry. Where were you on August 9, 1995?

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A generation was defined by knowing where they were, what they were doing, at the moment they learned of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. I have had a similar experience of the “generation” of Deadheads, over the years, talking with fellow Deadheads about August 9, 1995, the day we learned that Jerry Garcia had died.

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Where was I on August 9, 1995? I was driving in my car when the horrible news came over the radio - on that (long ago) oasis of good music in the desert of what was radio in NYC, 102.7 WNEW. Does anyone else remember Scott Muni playing Terrapin Station every Friday at 3:00 in the afternoon? The 3rd verse ALWAYS brings me back to my coming of age and illustrates how I and many of my Deadhead friends feel about those innocent times. I still miss Jerry, too. And my old friend "Chet".
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I was at work, and the news was broken to me by a jerk I worked with who hated the Grateful Dead. He informed me by saying, "Hey, did you hear that fat, over-rated guitar player you like so much died? Have a nice day." Of course I didn't believe him. Within minutes after turning the radio on, I knew he was correct. It's funny though, the night before, I woke up around 3:30 in the morning with a deep sense of dread. My buddies I toured with said they also woke up around the same time, with the same feeling. That still makes me think to this day. I think the Grateful Dead/Audience connection throught the years was deeper than most people think. Miss ya Jer.
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because I was supposed to be meeting with a friend in the PR world about one of his clients. When I started the car, they were playing Grateful Dead music, which I correctly took as a very bad sign. I decided to go ahead to the meeting, which was down on the Peninsula, but when I got there, my friend was nowhere to be found--because his wife was giving birth to their kid. So then I figured I wasn't going to get any work done that day anyway, and found myself on Dennis McNally and Susana Millman's doorstep. Dennis was fielding endless phone calls; the rest of us hung out in a shell-shocked state for quite a while.
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I remember at the time having mixed feelings that the Grateful Dead experience had gotten to the point where Hunter was explicitly commenting on it, as if to wrap it up. While Jerry was there to sing it. It's like the elegiac flip side to An American Adventure, which tickled me beyond words the first time I heard Hunter read it, and still does.
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,,,and the fact that we can celebrate the few days between his birth and death and call it The Days Between, seriously blows my mind.
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I was barely 13 when Jerry passed on so I don't really remember where I was...I liked the Grateful Dead at the time but I wasn't on the bus yet. ‘when all we ever wanted / was to learn and love and grow’ or ‘gave the best we had to give / how much we’ll never know So, I just want to say Thank You for the music you left behind and thank you to all the people that made that happen.
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Sounds like the book "The Death Ship" by B. Traven.I also see the cover of Robert Hunters first album "Tales of the Great Rum Runners",a Rick Griffin painting of course. Also the image of "Ship of Fools" is invoked. I even see "Days Between" as July 9th to August 9th. Amazing song. Today August 9th would have been my brothers 65th birthday. Rick turned me on the Dead in 1968. As for August 9th 1995 I was driving to the job site in the Burro Mountains to build a section of Continental Divide Trail . I heard "Uncle Johns Band" from the T or C radio station. At the end of the song I heard the DJ say through the static "Dead at 53". Turned the truck around, headed to town called a friend, yes true. Back out to the Burros. Got the truck stuck for a couple hours. Turning the radio dial I could pick up Grateful Dead being broadcast on a half dozen or more radio stations from El Paso on the east to Tucson on the west. Got up to the trail did some work. Told stories of old to my fellow workers. That night visited a friend who played a vinyl copy of Garcia, including the masterful side B. I also listened to "Old and in the Way" and Live-Dead,feedback. My brother once said many heavy duty events happened on August 9th. Nagasaki, Nixon resigned. As for the time and space of the Grateful Dead, they began in May 1965. They played together for just over 30 years. "30 years upon my head".July 9th 1995 the Grateful Dead play their last concert. One month later Garcia dies. And without a doubt the Dead were masters of time and space. As Jerry said at Pigpens funeral, "It was a good rap".
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I was at my home in Boulder when word came through on TV. I had just come home from the hospital and was recuperating after a major operation. My parents were with me. I was shocked of course, but still too weak to get very upset. My folks knew that Jerry was important to me but they couldn't really fathom what it meant, or how I would react. I suppose they were impressed that his death was big enough news to be on television. I remember knowing instinctively that there would be spontaneous gatherings on the streets or in the parks, and feeling sad that I was unable to go out and be with our people.
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I WAS AT WORK. A DAY I WILL NEVER FORGET!!! UNCLE JERRY GONE, THE MUSIC ALMOST STOPPED.
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That Jerry passed this life and into another dimension? I was driving down Ridge Avenue from Roxborough down to Center City. Pierre Robert of WMMR announced that Jerry had died. It sounded like he was crying, he then proceeded to play the Dead until his shift ended at 2:00 pm. A sad day indeed. I remember a few Philly heads holding a candlight vigil on Indepence Square that night. Also that night I discovered the most beautiful jam Jerry ever did, 2/18/71 the transition between Dark Star and the very first Wharf Rat. By the way the Days Between from 3/17/93 is my favorite.
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It's not my story (I was simply at home, working out some tape trades via snail mail through Relix magazine - remember those days? - when my girlfriend and now wife of 16 years called me with the news) but over the years I've heard SO many stories of how individuals found out. My favorite is the guy, and I don't remember who it was or what show I probably met him at lol, who was laying in a stream somewhere in the forests of Colorado under a beautiful sun with the radio on. And that's when he heard the news. He said it was the most gentle way possible he could have found out, being out in nature like that. And he just lay there for hours. Do listen to that 6/24/95 Days Between. Beautiful. My first show. The last time they played Days. Also caught 6/25, of course, and that was a goodie by '95 standards, and 6/30 (the Rain show) which is better than I thought it was originally. But that first show, even though it was rather poor, was still just sooooooo awesome.
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...even before I really knew the lyrics. It has such a sweet, mellow sound to it. And you could hear both Jerry's and Hunter's hearts in it. I was at work when I got the news. One person in my cube farm just got off the phone with a friend of his, and said, "Well, that's it. Jerry Garcia's dead." Everyone else in the office went "Who?" "who?" "WHO?" I did a "prairie dog" and just said, "Please, tell me you're kidding. That is a BAD joke." He insisted it's no joke. At lunch time, I got into my car to get my lunch, and instantly heard "Bertha" - on a station that only played Truckin', Sugar Mag, and Touch. I knew then that my coworker was not joking. Actually, though, I have a disagreement with the "official time of death" being 5:00 am. That may be when the nurse found him, but Jerry died at 3:30 that morning. When I found out the news later in the day, that explained why I woke from a sound sleep and felt I had to go look to the west. I felt him go. (And my wife, who's a Dead Head who rarely dreamt about the band, had a Bobby dream at the same time.) Requiem in Pacem, Jerry Garcia. (And pardon my Latin.) You may be gone from this plane, but you will never be forgotten.
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We had taken the kids to Sesame Place. Early that morning I had a dream that I was at a Dead show (not uncommon for me!) I woke up, not realizing where I was for a moment, looked at the clock, it was 7:30AM. It was later reported that Jerry passed away at 4:30AM Pacific time. Driving back home on the Jersey Turnpike, WNEW played Dead song after song, I though "uh-oh, don't have a good feeling about this" Sure enough the DJ came on with the sad news, right at the moment we passed Giants Stadium, where I had seen my last show (where Jerry threw his hands up and walked off stage during "The Other One"). I miss hearing him play live, I listen to the songs every day, thank you Jerry for all the great music.
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Thank you David Dodd. I think this is your most moving piece yet. I was staying with my 84 year old grandmother in Miami, Florida, helping her during her recovery from cancer surgery. It was (this sounds stupid) one of the greatest experiences of my life. I got to know her better than I ever had when other family was around. Anyway, she heard about it on the radio and she is the one who told me, in her soft Georgia accent,. "Chris, I'm so sorry, that man you care about so much, Jerry Garcia - he passed away today." Here she was sick and in pain, telling me she was sorry about Jerry's death. Its funny, I remember being upset at other deaths - Joey Ramone, George Harrison - I remember how I felt, for example, but I have no memory of exactly where I was or what I was doing. The only two dates I remember exactly in this way are 8/9/95 and 9/11/01 - that never occurred to me until now.
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Like many, I was in the car. I was working on a road construction crew in Wisconsin that summer and we started early and ended early many days because of the high heat that year. I was on the east side of Madison when the radio told me the news. I still remember the spot and when I drive that road I remember that day. I was saddened, but not surprised. We attended the 7/8 show and were startled by his appearance and performance. This is the show that confirmed the presence of a cursed shirt in my wardrobe. I bought a sweet tie-dye at the World Theater lot before Brent's last show; wore it a month later at the Clapton/SRV show at Alpine Valley (SRV died); and did not wear it for a couple years. Then I put it back in the rotation, but never to a concert-- until 7/8/95. We were on our way to Chicago and at about Cumberland Ave. exit I realized I had worn the 'Death Shirt.' We, of course, laughed it off. Alas, I have not worn it again. Nothing really to it, of course, but I can't bring myself to wear it again.
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I posted this to Blair's blog last year or the year before. I was in grad school at the time driving into the lab and I turned on the local NPR station and they were playing--of all songs--Jerry's version of "Cigarettes & Coffee" from the movie soundtrack to Smoke. In a split second I knew then and there--it must have been the dirge in that song. Was a strange feeling but I just knew he was gone. The shock didn't hit me until I received a call from a friend who asked if I had heard. Up to that point, I hadn't received an official word via radio or other media. But just the same, I had already known in my mind but hadn't yet let it sink in as reality. The phone call changed all that...Very sad, but the music continues to live on through memory, recordings, and new interpretations by the remaining GD other great musicians.
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on that fateful day. Like others I was saddened but not really shocked. I was always hoping against hope that Jerry would pull off another miracle and be stronger than ever-I was always looking for hopeful signs. My last show was Boston Garden-10/01/94 where a frail looking Jerry pulled off a strong performance for the ages. I was looking forward to the scheduled Boston run for Fall 95, which, was not to be. "Days Between" was the last truly great composition in my eyes and the version on "So Many Roads" contains a sublime solo whichs compactly presents the build and soar that only Jerry could do in a few short moments. Even though it was an early practice it hinted at what the song could become. Its evocative powers were truly amazing. All these years later I am still listening to the body of work left behind and the new body of work being created-the Warren Haynes performances with various symphonic orchestras across the country this summer were very creative and welcome additions to the legacy.
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I was on a train on my way up to London to go to work. I noticed in someone's Daily Telegraph a picture of Jerry and I felt that this was not going to be good news. The Telegraph is the paper of the retired colonel, and would only comment on anything vaguely modern if it was something it could have a moan about. Rock musicians were only ever mentioned if they were busted for drugs, had a messy divorce, or died. So when I saw the picture, I feared for the worst, and when I got into work I immediately went to find out what was happening. A very sad day indeed. As for 'Days Between', this song is a beauty. A lot of excellent things have been written about it, and I can't really add to them. Even at a time when the band was going through a lot of troubles, it could still bring out something outstanding. 'Days Between' and 'So Many Roads' were among the band's best songs; 'Eternity' and 'Lazy River' were also very good.
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Thanks to all who have been sharing your stories. Some of the feelings are still tender, I can tell, and all of the experiences shared are downright touching. I hope more will chime in...
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that mean something important to each of us. My favorite lines from this song are "walked halfway around the world/on promise of the glow". Mr. Hunter is pure lyrical genius. That "glow" held all the promise of change that was so desperately needed in a "bomb shelter/ Ozzie and Harriet world" that existed at the time. Had it not been for the "glow", would we even have this group/music/era? I have never fully understood why the "glow" has not been given its rightful place in the history of the human race since its mass production/ ingestion some 47 yrs. ago. What a shame, but at the same time, what a testament to the "type A, over-caffeinated, alcohol-soaked, work-until-you-drop, just pull up your boot straps and go get'em" society that is our reality now. God bless Owsley/Scully/Sand/the GOGD and the intrepid others for slowing this shit machine down and making us question everything. We all owe so very much to the makers. "Did it matter, does it now?" as to my or anybody else's whereabouts when Jer was relieved of his world-weariness. No. I do hope, however, that the folks at Serenity Knolles were sincere when they said that he died with a smile on his face, because that is exactly how I picture Jerry when I think about his death and that puts a smile on my face, each and every time. No better final statement could be made. Nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile :))))))))))))))))))
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Black Muddy River, roll on forever, I don't care how deep or wide, roll on forever. When it seems like the night will last forever. and there's nothing left to do but count the stars. When the strings of my heart start to sever, and stones fall from my eyes instead of tears. I will walk alone by the black muddy river, SING me a song of my own, sing me a song of my own.....
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8/9/1995 - Getting ready for work, saw the tragic news unfold on TV as I was brushing my teeth. Blew off going to work, as I wouldn't have accomplished anything there. 8/13/1995 - Same thing, different guy. Mickey Mantle died. That four day period is my "Days Between." The death of my childhood signified by the passing of Mickey, and the death of my adolescence/early adulthood marked by Jerry's departure. I was 40 years old, and figured it was time to consider being a full-fledged adult. 18 years later, I'm still considering it...
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this has got to be my favorite Garcia/Hunter tune of all time, sure there are many other great ones that had come before, too many to mention, but this one is my favorite. As David mentions "The singing man is at his song, the holy on their knees" this is a sure nod to Jerry and the hordes of heads that followed him, the way Jerry sings, "there were days, there were days, there were days between, the highs and lows of life and the everyday living where nothing really happened that day, but yesterday was a hallmark day and last week or last month we had a great day, the rest is blurred memories of everyday. Haunting, brilliant, bittersweet, beautiful. This tune to this day makes my wife cry, and I too have shed a tear or two when I hear this wonderful song. That day of days, I was at work, driving a delivery, just another one of those days between, then I heard it on the radio, early in the am, and was shocked, in disbelief and refused to believe it, then another announcement confirming the previous and I instantly pulled over off the road, came to a screeching halt and just sat there, engine running, in drive, not knowing how to feel. The rest of the day was lost at work, several people told horrible jokes about Jerry, others were not surprised, I was devastated and left early. It was like my favorite uncle or grandfather had passed without any forewarning. We all knew that Jerry was on borrowed time, but I had so much faith in his power to heal that I really never gave it a second thought, I mean look at how much he healed all of us... I miss Jerry and that whole time, the music, the lot, the entire vibe, with all the wonderful and loving people. A piece of my soul died with Jerry that day, I loved him more that words can tell.
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I was up a mobile scaffold, installing ceiling tile in the new sanctuary of a new Catholic school or church or something (I think precious blood was in the name of it, bleeding heart, something sanguine)that was being built in Lexington, KY. I just hired on to a contracting crew, and had just settled in to an apartment from 7 years living in a van and doing migrant agricultural work. Tree Planting, corn detassling, Christmas tree harvesting, apple picking, etc). I was still experiencing culture shock from transitioning from the migrant scene (outlaws, hippies, cowboys, bikers and pirates) to what turned out to be a somewhat bigoted, racist, etc construction crew. THe news came over the local generic rock and dumb shouty dj station. The coworkers that noticed laughed and made derisive remarks. I felt very lonely up in that scaffold. The fiberglass dust were adequate cover for my tears. As an old friend of mine who's in recovery finds occasion to say periodically... he died trying to sober up. My father called me up to give his condolences. I was 27. Now my wife and I take our nine year old and our 17 year old to see Furthur.I live in Boulder County Colorado now, and never allow myself to collect fiberglass dust in my eyes or be surrounded by shouty dj rock stations.
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That recollection made me remember some of the nastiness that emerged from the media when Jerry passed. I particularly remember a Boston area newspaperman who seemed to delight in trashing the memory of Jerry Garcia. Of course that particular person left one of the local dailies in apparent disgrace following rumours of plagiarism. The guy is still around, though, on a national news/commentary morning show. But, overall, the news media handled the story with sympathy, grace and appreciation of Jerry's contribution, vision and work while noting that there were demons that plagued him. Of course, the larger view acknowledges that many of the greats were plagued by demons and it is nothing new for creative people-writers, musicians, etc.
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I am listening to this right now at work, tears rolling down my face, thinking about the many people in my life who have gone on beyond the horizon.
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I have reach and I am now older than the age that Jerry passed. It seems so long ago, 18 years, yet I am still transported back in time 30-some years when I listen to shows I attended in my youth. I was in Nantucket, working for the University of Florida’s Preservation Institute. The pay-phone rang in one of the dorms, an old flame, my first love called to see how I was doing. She had called my parents, who have had the same phone # forever, found out where I was and called. Not knowing that I didn’t know, she was very kind, but not having spoken in years, I knew something was up. When she told me, I was numb for a bit, no true sadness until much later. I had stopped touring in 91’, and was removed from the engrossment of the scene. I had finished Grad School in that 4-years and had collected a few tapes; The Dean Dome in 93’ was pretty good and I had just picked up Dick’s Pick Vol. 2 for the road trip to Nantucket. We had quite the listening party that night, some people who never heard of the Dead were very moved. Alone, looking at the stars late that night was when I cried.
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11 years 4 months
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This was one of those things that will stick with me. On this date I was finishing up my AIT (Advanced Individual Training) at Ft. Sill Oklahoma. Being 19 years old and surrounded by a bunch of guys who were being encouraged to be aggressive all the time, it was easy to fall into that mentality. Sitting down to dinner a friend of mine who was reading the paper stopped eating, put his head in his hands and just sat there. Cautiously, I reached over and took the paper, more than a little afraid of what I would see (this was only a few months after the Oklahoma City bombings, so I was more than a little worried). As I scanned through the paper I found the blurb mentioning Jerry's passing. I moved over and placed my arm over his shoulders and just sat there. Before long a few of the other guys noticed and reacted in different ways. Some offered sympathy while others offered jeers. Soon our Drill Sergeant came over to see what was wrong. Our DS was an Alabama native, and proud redneck, so I braced for the worst while he looked at the paper. His comment is something I will never forget, "Workingman's Dead was one of my favorite albums growing up. I'm sorry." He then walked away. After that, everyone gave my friend and I some space. We sat and dealt with it for a few minutes and then resumed the life of a soldier, as we had to do. In recent years "The Days Between" have taken on a different meaning. Summer coming to an end. School getting ready to start. Transitions. On the 9th I always remember where I was and what it means to lead. That Drill Sergeant earned my respect that day. It wasn't because I feared him, and he was one tough SOB; rather because he knew you treat everyone with respect. And that, to me, is one of the key qualities of a true leader. Kind of a silver lining to one of the most significant passings of my life.
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11 years 5 months
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I was 46 years old back then, and had the summer off from work as I recuperated from spinal surgery. A friend called me and asked had I heard the news. When she told me, I flashed on American Pie..the day the music died. I felt like I lost a big brother, a friend I had "known" since 1968 without ever actually meeting. I was mad at him, even though I knew he died in a rehab. I got over my anger, and tried to imagine what pain he was trying to numb with the drugs. I had taken my (now deceased) wife to her first show in 1980, at Glens Falls civic Center in upstate New York. I took my 16 year old daughter to her first and only show the last time the band played The Knick, in ALbany. I still laugh at what I told her...I said you're sitting with your dad, so if someone passes you a joint, make your own decision. Then I said but for gods sake, if anyone offers you anything to drink or eat, DON'T TAKE IT!! I miss Jerry, I remember all the good music, all the wild and weird shows, and his 1000 watt smile.
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Wow - I was driving in a car with a co-worker to lunch. She was talking and I heard the blurb on the radio. I froze. I heard her voice but had no idea what she was saying. She was not on the same plane, she knew who Jerry was but, she didn't get it. All I wanted to do was hug and be hugged. We went to a cafe and there was a friend who knew Jerry in a small way. I had to convey this to her -- a small release to these unreal words -- Jerry died. When I returned to work a coworker who knew and kind of understood my feelings came with his sympathies. There were messages on my machine offering condolences. Yes -- I had lost family. It was surreal. Great friendships richly adorned our little group -- all was not lost. Jerry lives on in so many ways altho we miss his presence in this world -- there are days between -- our next meeting.
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11 years 2 months
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I disagree with what you wrote in "Annotated Lyrics" about the order of the seasons in the verses of "Days Between." To me, the first verse, when "Summer flies and August dies, the world grows dark and mean," is the fall, when the days are getting shorter and the world is growing dark. But that verse could also be winter. The next verse is spring, a "Springtime wet with sighs." Next comes summer. It's a verse about growth, to learn and love and grow, and about adventure, when we "stood upon a mountain top, walked barefoot through the snow," because in summer there is snow on mountain tops. The final verse is about winter, although it looks back on summer with longing: "Hearts of Summer held in trust, Still tender young and green, Left on shelves collecting dust, Not knowing what they mean." But it could be about fall, which would put the verses in the order of the seasons.
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11 years 5 months
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of the time Hunter did a poetry reading at the Great American and read "An American Adventure." Which, blue endive and all, is sort of the upbeat-er flip side to "Days Between."
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10 years 2 months
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Well all we have left are phantom ships with phantom sails sailing on phantom tides these days - the song is truly prophetic. I am just honored and Grateful to have been a witness - they were truly a beast alive and a site to behold.
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11 years 4 months
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Your story really has touched me...the juxtaposition of the aggressiveness and toughness with the quiet understanding of your DS is extremely powerful. Thanks for sharing.
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8 years 6 months
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I heard the sad, bad news on the radio. I got PISSED-OFF!!! You junky MOTHER FUCKER! Being just 6 years clean and sober at the time, I could be a judgmental asshole. Then I just broke down, had to go to the tool shed and cry my eyes out. Spent a lot of time over the next few weeks at the polo fields in GG Park watching the memorial grow. I still listen to the old shows now and then. I still miss Garcia like crazy. Some late nights when I just can't quite go home yet I drive up and down The Great Highway blasting WinterLand 12/29/77 - back when everything was "just exactly perfect."
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5 years 3 months
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I was working in a house in Memphis. The 50'ish homeowner had her tv on....Breaking News....Jerry's gone....I collapsed onto her couch in tears...I couldn't focus on the tv, I was blank...heartbroken....bewildered about my sudden grief, she asked...she cried....she too knew the candyman...we hugged and cried for quite some time...we still keep in touch....My heart started aching and tears filled my eyes as I wrote this.... I still so miss Jerry

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  • Gmhotrod87
    8 months ago
    Sitting on a customers couch
    I was working in a house in Memphis. The 50'ish homeowner had her tv on....Breaking News....Jerry's gone....I collapsed onto her couch in tears...I couldn't focus on the tv, I was blank...heartbroken....bewildered about my sudden grief, she asked...she cried....she too knew the candyman...we hugged and cried for quite some time...we still keep in touch....My heart started aching and tears filled my eyes as I wrote this.... I still so miss Jerry
  • JimmieJi
    2 years 8 months ago
    At work as a gardener at SF State
    I heard the sad, bad news on the radio. I got PISSED-OFF!!! You junky MOTHER FUCKER! Being just 6 years clean and sober at the time, I could be a judgmental asshole. Then I just broke down, had to go to the tool shed and cry my eyes out. Spent a lot of time over the next few weeks at the polo fields in GG Park watching the memorial grow. I still listen to the old shows now and then. I still miss Garcia like crazy. Some late nights when I just can't quite go home yet I drive up and down The Great Highway blasting WinterLand 12/29/77 - back when everything was "just exactly perfect."
  • mkav
    2 years 8 months ago
    McB28
    Your story really has touched me...the juxtaposition of the aggressiveness and toughness with the quiet understanding of your DS is extremely powerful. Thanks for sharing.
  • Default Avatar
    pwfurther
    2 years 8 months ago
    Days Between
    Well all we have left are phantom ships with phantom sails sailing on phantom tides these days - the song is truly prophetic. I am just honored and Grateful to have been a witness - they were truly a beast alive and a site to behold.
  • marye
    4 years 11 months ago
    this reminds me
    of the time Hunter did a poetry reading at the Great American and read "An American Adventure." Which, blue endive and all, is sort of the upbeat-er flip side to "Days Between."