My mothers name was Bertha and her father was Franklin Tower. My dad was named Dick a son of an MD and he was the eldest of his four MD siblings. They all called him Big Dick. He became an OB/GYN, a spreader of old wives tails. So growing up in Palo Alto CA we had lots of cool musicians get launched from there and a few bands could trace their roots to that town. We had a big old family all stuck together on a chunk of land in the foothills. It was a compound known, at one time, as Boronda Farm. Then Reagan got elected and Palo Alto became shallow alto. This thing that is known as silicon valley emerged. Orchards disappeared freeways enlarged. Northern California however, is still very beautiful in places.
My eldest graduates this year from UCSD. My young uns ( boy 11, girl 8 ) are at home with myself and their Mom whom I met in a Grateful Dead Parking lot 19 years ago. Now I am living in a cul de sac in Sparks NV. We are all going to jump in my 42 year old converted school bus and drive down to our spread in Guatemala next week. Something to do... Gonna wake up in the morning, Gonna pack my bags and beat it on down the line.
I drove my son to daycare this morning. He's two and a couple months. He was born on the 30th of December. Everyone kept sayin' "he coulda been a new years baby," but we were happy to be able to write him off on our taxes for the whole year of 2005. He sat back behind me in his toddler seat patiently eating a banana while I searched for something to listen to. We just moved and all our CDs and everything is scattered. Everything. Jack is sitting there. Blond hair. Getting darker. Getting older. Blue eyes. Beautiful.
he gazes at his mother's voice
his head turned, his eyes reach out
I hold his weight
We drive a red Ford Escape. It's got this six disc changer thats kind of cool. You put all the discs in the dash in one slot and they all go in there and it doesn't take up much room at all. I've always loved this CD player. At first my mom had this car and didn't know how to use it. I loaded it up for her and put workingman's dead in the mix just to plant a seed. She had never heard it, old hippie my ass...
Both our cars came from my mother. Actually our other car was given to us by my step dad. He had used it as a commuter, but he retired and figured he didn't need it any more. He turned out kinda cool in the end. He's hiking the Appalachian right now. You gotta respect that. He's in his sixties. I'm gonna be like that....
So there we sat in the back parking lot of the North Wilkesboro Baptist Church, the lot is immediately adjacent to the house we are renting, two cars...the other a Buick something or other I can't remember...and I am rummaging for a CD...it reminds me of the days of rummaging around my house for pills. Emptying out baskets on the counter. Drawers on the floor. Backpacks on the bed. Manic. Desperate. Addicted....ahhhhh Fairly's CD case.
My friend Fairly went down to some music festival in Florida. He only has enough money to make it down there and get in. His plan is to make morning bloody marys and go tent to tent in the morning and advertise afternoon margaritas at his truck afternoons. I don't know if he plans on seeing any shows. He is also selling cookies and brownies. Fairly is two years older than me. He's a picture of where I was headed I guess. I don't know, it's strange. I love him, he's my brother. I don't think there is anything wrong with him, but his real family does. He is like my own Neal Cassidy. Cassidy with long brown hair. Cassidy from Mississippi. Cassidy with high cheek bones, and dark skin. Everybody says we look like brothers. Its the high cheekbones. So anyway, Fairly has been leaving things in my possession ever since we all lived in Mobile. He always says that I am the only person he can trust, and that he wants to make sure he doesn't loose some things. This morning I thanked God Fairly ran off to some place and left these CD cases in my car. It kind of irritated me at first. Sometimes I get reminded you know.
I unzipped the case a little bit and one of the discs fell out. May 31st 1992. I was a junior in high school. Rabun County High School. Man...Lets see, May...I was probably playing soccer about this time of year. Disc three, alright. Lets give 'er a whirl...
I was sleepy. It took me a second to maneuver the buttons. Jack kept us up all night. Jack's kept us up all week. This is his first week of full time day care. Until now he has been with us all day everyday, and we have been at home with him. Last year we lived way out in the country. I guess it was about 45 minutes or so to all the stores and whatnot.
We had eight acres. It was pretty awesome. Three creeks came together behind this log cabin on the corner of the property behind our house. I built this great sand box and everything. The area was kind of economically depressed though. We wouldn't have been able to afford that much land otherwise. The thing is, it didn't matter where we lived. I worked out at sea and my company flew me to work and back. The other reason we moved up here from Alabama was for me to be able to commute to Appalachian State and work on my masters degree and get off the damn ships for good and not be gone for half my son's life.
Half of my relationship with Marjie has taken place on inmarsat email. That ain't all bad. We got engaged over an army phone while I was in Kuwait. I was in Durban S.A. working in the shipyard on this old steamer when I got the text about her being pregnant. We had a hell of a phone bill that trip. I was in the south Atlantic when I found out that Marjie had breast cancer. That was my last trip. I haven't sailed since. I've pretty much been home with Jack. Home and at doctor's offices.
***Walk me out in the morning dew my honey,***
***Walk me out in the morning dew today,***
***I can't walk you out in the morning dew my honey,***
***I can't walk you out in the morning dew today,***
I pulled our red car out of the old neglected lot. Look both ways. Turn right. Jack starts to hum with the music. He recognizes the song....even though we don't have this show, he has never heard this version before. He has been raised on a steady diet of Grateful Dead...JGB...Widespread....Govt. Mule...Some Phish, notsomuch, we're from the south. He really loves bluegrass. Whenever he hears Shady grove he goes to dancing. The thing is, it dawned on me that he isn't like other kids. Music is a big part of his life. Music...and oh what music.
I went to far. Make the block....naw fuck it. Drive through town....
***I thought I heard a baby cry this morning,***
***I thought I heard a baby cry today.***
***You didn't hear no baby cry this morning,***
***You didn't hear no baby cry today.***
Everybody seems to be looking for me to do something. My mom tried to make me go to law school. I got in to the University of Alabama, but I couldn't go. She said she would pay. This was s a few years ago. Anyway, the thing was that everyone was worried about me and shit. Who knows. I had just gotten divorced and was broke and working off my debt. I was sailing and living on people's couches down in Mobile. My sister lived down there and she paid my bills while I was out on the ship. Otherwise I just stayed drunk. Eventually I got back on my feet. Bought a house. Met a girl. Got married. Every time I did something, everyone freaked out. Now here I am looking at my son sitting in his seat in our car. Singing. Happy. His daddy singing along. Feet kicking. Shoes lighting up. Big smile. My sister has two kids. The have this big house and a boat and all this shit, but every time my mom comes over all she does is vent to us about how my nephew is acting up at school, or he shit himself again, or they are upset that he might be on too much medication. I don't know, I'm looking back at my son and I don't see anything wrong yet everyone asserts that I'm crazy. Oh well, guess I'm crazy.
Still I'm un-employed. What if somebody wants a pre-employment drug screen? Oh my God! I am a bad father.....wait a minute....I fake drug tests all the time...have since college....calm down...drive the car...take a drink of water.
***Where have all the people gone my honey,***
***Where have all the people gone today,***
***There's no need for you to be worrying about all those people,***
***You never see those people anyway.***
To tell you the truth, my paradigm is changing. I've been humbled. For one thing, I need to decide what to do with my life. There's time, but not much. I'm on it. Fortunately we have never been in a better position to qualify for scholarships and grants and stuff like that. Until now we were slipping between the cracks. I made good money sure, but my benefits were for shit and we had a kid and owned property and a car and then we needed tires and you know how it goes. Now we ain't got shit. Nothing to loose. We are selling off everything of value. Cutting cost and applying for every benefit we can get. My paradigm on that situation has changed. What would you do? I can't sail. I absolutely would. Thirty days is all it would take to re-up my benefits, but Marjie can only pick Jack up one or two times a day. I can't leave for thirty days anymore. Hell, if I could leave for thirty I would do 120 for sure.
Medicaid is better than my union benefits ever were anyway. Why not just be a socialist? Take advantage for the next couple of years...student loans and grants...cheap rent and free health care food stamps.....
***I thought I heard a young man mourn this morning,***
***I thought I heard a young man morn today,***
***I thought I heard a young man morn this morning,***
***I can't walk you out in the morning dew today.***
Jack sings along in his own language. I can still feel the cold of the morning.
I have spent the past three days fogging and cleaning our house. It is totally infested with ants and mice. It is also totally ridden with dander and shit. Ugh...it has been a rental for a long time. It's a cool place. Like I said, cheap rent, but at a cost. I just want it to be healthy. I have vacuumed out the ducts. I think mice were living in there. The wood floor hasn't been finished or waxed in a while, and it has that dry porous thing where it tends to absorb odors, and these odors go way back and tell many tales. Marjie met a dude one night while she was waiting on our burgers who told her, "oh yea, I know that house." I can only imagine. We know that nobody lived here for a few months before we moved in. The landlords were pretty particular because they lived next door. Cool. I don't think we could have gotten another place.
Our landlord is cool. He is 96 years old. His name is Blair Gwen. He is the only person to have shot under his age over 400 times or something like that. Anyway, they said he was in sports illustrated. He talks to me all the time.
So anyway, there we are. It's kinda scary, but not really. No more so than having all those boats and whatnot and worrying about loosing it. I mean, here I am singing along with my son, and he is digging this song with his daddy. What could be better than that. How much money is that worth? How much? Money $$$$ Fucking Money. Sometimes I think I should take that Thoreau approach. I've flirted with it for years. Ive never been closer. Civil disobedience. I'm happy, my family is happy, and everyone seems to resent us for some reason. I guess there is something we should be sad about before people will like being around us again. I think they would like it if we proved them right. I think they want us to be whatever it is they say about us. Who knows what they call us. It probably isn't Dead-Heads. Is that what we are? I duuno. don't care anymore....I just love the music, and so does my son, and we all share it together, as a family....
***Walk me out in the morning dew my honey,***
***Walk me out in the morning dew today,***
***I'll walk you out in the morning dew my honey,***
***I guess it doesn't really matter anyway,***
***I guess it doesn't matter anyway,***
***I guess it doesn't matter anyway,***
***GUESS IT DOESN'T MATTER....ANY...WAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYY.***
I live in the Flint, Michigan area--working for GM--building the trucks that drive America. Anyway, it's just my three kids and I. Kara, who is 14, and the boss--ha ha. Then the boys--Robert,13 and Craig, 12. I wouldn't want it any other way. My kids find it funny that their father is a Deadhead and they laugh at my tour stories.
They don't care much for the Dead, but they don't complain when I play the music. Never understood how so many mothers were able to raise kids single handed, now I know. We don't have anyone in the area for support and we've learned to trust each other. I love my life and my kids--the best part is they encourage their father to hit shows. Just saw Gov't Mule and Leon Russell--many more shows to do. Peace out.
Had two brother boy cats called (oh how creative-am almost embarrassed to write this) China Cat Sunflower and Cassidy Garcia DuPree. LOL! Were born in Atlanta, and Cassidy (r.i.p.) died a very dramatic death almost 2 years ago. He is buried in my garden, under the magnolia tree. China has not been the same ever since, but his love for my daughter keeps him mostly peaceful, though can still catch him looking for his brother.
Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone, you will still exist, but you have ceased to live.
My nephew's middle name is August.
my brothers dog is iko. i love that name cuz i can sing it too my baby girl!
My son is named Cassady, we were always going to name him that, but someone in our family gave us a book of Irish names and with this spelling, it translates to 'clever' in gaelic.
That's how we avoided the 'hairy eyeball' from our families......lol.
~I was concealed
Now I am stirring
And I will lay my love around you...~
Names Deadheads Give Their Animals wouldn't be a bad topic... Back in the day I lost track of all the dogs named Iko, but the funniest moment I ever had in this regard was walking through some parking lot (Park City, I think, but all the years combine) and hearing some dude calling his dog: "Barlow! Barlow!"
I forget whether I ever had the nerve to tell Barlow this story...
iknowurider_ ok this sounds awful, I know! But my dogs name is cassidy! :) And my daughter's name is samantha (sam) would have been sam either way! I have to go start a big fire, but I'll be back to post about my happy family!