Monday, June 29, 2015

Remembering Jerry Garcia and sleeping in a caboose…

Memories are funny things.  Ask any American who was alive at the time and they can probably tell you just where they were when they heard that President Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas or exactly what they were doing when they learned about the 9/11 Tragedy.  

But how many of you can remember the exact circumstances of where you were and what you were doing when you learned Jerry Garcia died?

That particular memory was jogged for me this morning as I was reading in the newspaper about the Grateful Dead’s Final Farewell Tour.  You know, I’ve always liked the Grateful Dead’s music, but I am by no means a Deadhead.  During the years when they were at the height of their popularity and Jerry Garcia was still around, I was busy with the everyday stuff of life:  getting married, working, having and raising kids and trying, often unsuccessfully, to act like an adult.  In other words, I was moving along in my life as many people do and I just didn’t have the time.

But I remember the day Jerry Garcia died better than many days that have far more personal significance in my life.  And that’s because the night of the day that he died, Greg, Carrie, Evan and I slept in a caboose.  Yes, the four of us spent a night in a caboose at the Caboose Motel in Avoca, New York on our way home to Massachusetts from our annual trip to Ohio AND, I must say, it was darn cool.
  We enjoyed it thoroughly.

The next morning while eating breakfast at a nearby diner, I spied the newspaper with the headlines announcing that Garcia was dead and the Dead’s song Casey Jones popped into my head – “Driving that train, high on cocaine…”  The night I had just spent in the train and Garcia’s death managed to stick together in my memory and to this day, nearly 20 years later, the association lives on in my mind.  Mention Jerry Garcia and if I close my eyes, I can see the insides of that train car, the way it felt to sleep somewhere so unusual and the way the kid looked and acted.  Carrie had just turned 11 and Evan was soon to turn 9.  They were so cute.  Those are the little mundane things that are really important to me when all is said and done – those ghosts of happy memories.

On an everyday basis, I don’t have and never have had a good capacity to retain memories.  These days, like a lot of people my age, I walk into a room and wonder what the heck I am doing there.  If I don’t always put my phone in the same place, there’s a pretty good chance I will spend a lot of time searching and searching and searching.  I don’t always remember people’s names after I’ve met them – sadly, even after I’ve met them a number of times and truly like them.

  But I bet that till the day I die, I will remember where I was on the day that Jerry Garcia died.

Here are a few pics I just remembered:


Nicki said...

The explosion of Challenger, the day John Lennon died, when President Reagan was shot, 9/11, the day my sister's boyfriend casually informed me that our neighbor and friend from back home had committed suicide. I remember these with amazing detail. Flashbulb memories I believe they are called - where memories collide with emotion and leave such an impact. After a day at work watching the horrors of 9/11 play out before our eyes, one of my strongest memories was walking the dog after putting the kids to bed and looking to the black sky, hoping and praying. Devoid of not only planes but of stars - the feeling of emptiness so heavy.

Thanks for sharing a memory and some entertaining pictures.

"...E...", from VA, Beth said...

oh flashbulb memories ... love that saying. Jerry Garcia.... what a man!! he is totally awesome. love this tunage. i think we can learn a lot from his life ... he always seemed laid back ...what that from just being high or what? (kidding, but seriously??) ( :

Rose said...

I don't know what I was doing when he died, but yes, I do remember where I was when Kennedy was assassinated and I remember 9/11 like it was yesterday.

I am not a Deadhead at all...don't know many of The Grateful Dead songs...right now all that comes to mind is A Touch of Gray.

But, did you know that he was once in a band call 'Old & in the Way?' Now they had two songs that I absolutely love--Hobo Song and Wild Horses.

And yes, it is the Wild Horses that the Rolling Stones sang...and I love it just as much as I did by the Rolling Stones!

kat from ky. said...

I always wanted my tombstone to read,"What a long, strange trip it's been!" However, times change and so do I. I am not going to have a tombstone so there ya go!

Rose said...

I just cannot believe it...There is a blogger Tom, the Backroads Traveller...and he did a post on the Caboose Motel:

Debbie said...

i have a few, 9/11 and kennedy are vivid. i remember what i was wearing on both of those days!!!

jerry garcia, a hippie and a stoner!!!

Tom said...

WOW, twenty years have passed, how time flies! Tom The Backroads Traveller