Tuesday, August 09, 2005

"Fare You Well..."

"It's just a box of rain
I don't know who put it there
Believe it if you need it
or leave it if you dare
But it's just a box of rain
or a ribbon for your hair
Such a long, long time to be gone
and a short time to be there"- Box Of Rain- Grateful Dead

Ten years...It's been ten years now since Jerry Garcia died. August 9th, 1995-an ugly day. I still remember the way I found out(man, does it piss me off)..I was working a job I couldn't stand, and on that morning, my boss come charging into the office, excited like a kid on Christmas morning, and I hear him say, "Is he wearing it ?", and then he comes running over to me and asks me if I'm wearing my Jerry Garcia tie. I say that I'm not, and he says, "Oh, I thought you'd be wearing it because he's dead." Just like that. That's how I found out that Jerry was dead. By a heartless person who was almost making a joke of it. Lovely. Not that there would have been a pleasant way to find out, but there were certainly better ways than that.
I miss the man. I never personally knew him, of course. But I miss him. He affected me deeply, and he still does.(Here it comes- I warned you all last week) His music, both with the Grateful Dead and the various solo projects, never fails to put a smile on my face. It makes me feel better, about myself, about life, about the possibilities out there. I sometimes feel bad that it doesn't seem that his music was able to make him as happy as it made myself and so many others, but then again, that's not for me to say.

"Tumbledown shack in Bigfoot County
Snowed so hard that the roof caved in
Delilah Jones went to meet her God
And the old man never was the same again"- Brown-Eyed Women- Grateful Dead

I miss the anticipation of shows, sitting around trying(usually in vain) to figure out what they might play. Thinking how cool it would be to hear a "U.S. Blues"(never did)-is tonight when we'll finally get a "Shakedown" ?(never did) Will Phil sing (he did-a few times) ?
After the shows, exhausted, elated, relating our favorite moments: "Jerry waved to US!"(which he did, by the way- September 15th, 1987- Madison Square Garden, as they came out for the second set- which opened with a smoking "China->Rider")
I remember one night in Saratoga, we were hanging around by the car after a show, and there was a guy that had come and sat with us and we were cooking hot dogs over the fire, and this guy was telling us this tale of how his dad was rich, and some day he would be rich as well and all this, then he pauses, looks at the fire,and says "But for now, I'll sit here and cook a weenie on a stick." And maybe it's a "had to be there" moment, but that is still one of the funniest things I have ever heard.
I only had 8 years of shows before Jerry died, and I wish it had been more, but I am so thankful for those 8 years. That band got me through some rather difficult times, and they continue to today, it's just a bummer to not be able to see them anymore. Luckily there is a wealth of live recordings out there, so that the times can be sort of revisited, but of course it is never the same.Wow, kinda maudlin, eh ? Sorry about that.
Well, I can't promise I won't be back later today with some more memories, and please, if anyone reads this, feel free to share any memories you may have, I would love to hear them. But I will leave you now with Robert Hunter's Elegy For Jerry, and a little quote from(surprise) A Grateful Dead song.

An Elegy for Jerry (by Robert Hunter)
Jerry, my friend,
you've done it again,
even in your silence
the familiar pressure
comes to bear, demanding
I pull words from the air
with only this morning
and part of the afternoon
to compose an ode worthy
of one so particular
about every turn of phrase,
demanding it hit home
in a thousand ways
before making it his own,
and this I can't do alone.
Now that the singer is gone,
where shall I go for the song?

Without your melody and taste
to lend an attitude of grace
a lyric is an orphan thing,
a hive with neither honey's taste
nor power to truly sting.

What choice have I but to dare and
call your muse who thought to rest
out of the thin blue air
that out of the field of shared time,
a line or two might chance to shine --

As ever when we called,
in hope if not in words,
the muse descends.

How should she desert us now?
Scars of battle on her brow,
bedraggled feathers on her wings,
and yet she sings, she sings!

May she bear thee to thy rest,
the ancient bower of flowers
beyond the solitude of days,
the tyranny of hours--
the wreath of shining laurel lie
upon your shaggy head
bestowing power to play the lyre
to legions of the dead

If some part of that music
is heard in deepest dream,
or on some breeze of Summer
a snatch of golden theme,
we'll know you live inside us
with love that never parts
our good old Jack O'Diamonds
become the King of Hearts.

I feel your silent laughter
at sentiments so bold
that dare to step across the line
to tell what must be told,
so I'll just say I love you,
which I never said before
and let it go at that old friend
the rest you may ignore.

"Fare you well, fare you well
I love you more than words can tell
Listen to the river sing sweet songs
To rock my soul" - Brokedown Palace- Grateful Dead


annie said...


Paticus said...

thank you fer reading it-pjb

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