Peace brothers and sisters,
I went to an annual festival at a local quarry/lake this past weekend (early July) with some friends and not once did I hear any rap music! This event used to be called the “Hippy Fest” and the headliners this year were “Cheech and Chong”. That pretty well tells you what the general atmosphere was like LOL. The event now has to be called the “Freedom Fest” because I guess “Hippy” fest is a licensed trademark or something. Sheesh!
By coincidence ABATE Region 8 sponsored the “Freedom Rally” that very same weekend, but this was a completely different thing that I had purchased an advance ticket for months ago. I plan on going to Region 8’s “Rally” next year. I heard it was a blast!
Of the thousands of people there at the Hippy, er uh, “Freedom” Fest, I seemed to be one of the few older ones (I’m 65). This didn’t bother me at all, in fact I was pleasantly surprised that so many younger people were sporting long hair, tie died clothing, and at least appeared to have the general attitude of peace and love (of course most of ‘em were stoned).
I think the main reason so few folks my age who might have actually been hippies in the old days attended this festival is that by the time most of us reach sixty, the attraction of sleeping on the ground in a tent in the woods and showering with a garden hose is long past. Regarding that; I’m pretty sure the advancing age of many of our members might have had something to do with what has become of our “June Jam” as well. At the Quarry, I slept relatively comfortably in my old Chevy Blazer and jumped in the lake a few times to wash off, and that was roughing it enough.
I’m sure another reason oldsters didn’t go is the fact that most of us old-timers who hear about a “Hippy Fest” just assume that it’s going to be a crass attempt to commercialize a lifestyle that was at its heart so anti-commercial, and of course they’d be right because commercial it was. The gate fee was eighty bucks, vendors were super-expensive, and like I said, there were literally thousands and thousands of people there, so somebody made a pile of money.
At Woodstock if ya didn’t bring food, it could be free (oatmeal from the “Hog Farm” tent). I think my ticket only cost me $18, and it ended up in the mud because nobody was at the gate by late Friday afternoon when I got there. (In fact I don’t remember seeing anything that even looked like a gate).
But the kids I saw attending this event really did seem to have the right attitudes. I didn’t bring a guitar with me, but the folks camped next to us had a few and I brought some harmonicas, so it was a gas sitting around a blazing campfire singin’ and playin’ music into the wee hours. I was pleasantly surprised once again when I discovered that these youngsters even knew and could play a lot of the stuff I knew (who woulda thunk they’d be familiar with John Prine?)
The next day while I was back at the campsite waking up (about noon), something really weird happened in the concert area to a close friend and old school biker buddy of mine named Jody who had the misfortune to be standing in the wrong place at precisely the wrong time.
He had a pretty good buzz on when three sky divers parachuted out of the blue for everyone’s entertainment. Jody was just standing there amongst the crowd watching them gently float to the ground, but while he was standing there watching two of ‘em in the distance, the other skydiver landed not so gently right on top of poor old Jody’s head! He got sorta banged up but not too badly (a few cuts and bruises). I bet if he ever parties heartily at an event like this again he’ll keep his eyes all over the sky LOL!
All weekend long I kept expecting to see naked people freely running around, or at least swimming in the lake, but alas, that wasn’t to be (I’m proud to be a dirty old man). Naked is fun, and once ya get used to it the sense of freedom is spectacular!! But heck, ya don’t even see naked people at biker events any more unless they’re up on stage to win some bucks in a contest. Speaking for myself, I’d gladly be naked all the time... but nobody wants to see a naked old fat guy (and I guess I wouldn’t want to either no matter how much fun he was having).
Moving on... as I’m now continuing to write this is mid July, both of my sons are visiting me for a week or more!! Jason got here a few days ago and Ben will be here later today with his daughters. For those of you who hadn’t heard me brag about them before, both of my sons are Air Force Master Sergeants (Jason is now a Senior Master Sgt.) on their last legs of successful careers in the military. Jason lives in Louisiana and recently returned from a tour “over there” in the desert at Al Udeid, Qatar (pronounced “Cutter”) and Ben is now stationed in S.Carolina having done a few tours in Iraq and Korea. I’m just glad they’re both home safe here in Newton Falls, Ohio in the good old U.S. of A. I hope that soon ALL of our sons and daughters will be home once the crazy people of this world stop acting like assholes (like that’s ever gonna happen!) I’m not a very religious man, but may God bless them all and keep them from harm.
Anyway, Jason spent the last few days taking his old man shopping. Whenever he comes home, he drags me out of the house and makes me shake the dust from my wallet to buy the things I’ve been avoiding purchasing. It’s sorta like, “Okay Dad, ya know you need a new lounge chair, so let’s go get it!” or, “That car of yours sucks! Let’s get on Craig’s list and see what’s out there!” For years now I’ve refused to ever buy another new car... car payments are never gonna happen to Bummer again! And as soon as you pay the suckers off, they start needing things, so ya might as well buy a used one for cash. A few hundred bucks for repairs is only like ONE car payment! Since I ended up buying a not-so-badly used Dodge Durango and a new comfortable lounge chair for the living room, maybe now he’ll let me relax and catch my breath.
He also brought a surprise gift for me called an Amazon “Fire Stick” and he hooked it up since I’ve become so technologically challenged in my twilight years. This thing allows me to watch all KINDS of movies and TV shows “streaming” from the internet (whatever that means). The devise only costs $40, and that’s it... no monthly fees, ever! He added me onto his “Netflix” account so even that is free. Maybe I’ll be able to figure out how to make even MORE use of it down the road... he says it can even go to websites if you tinker with it (look out!), but from even the little bit I’ve been able to understand so far, it’s great! I liked it so much I bought another one for my bedroom TV!
Now it’s toward the end of July and I just returned from taking Jason to the airport for his flight back to Louisiana. Ben left the other day for N. Carolina and I’m missing both of them already. Most of you out there have sons and/or daughters that have left the nest (mine left long ago) and no matter what kind of kids they were, I’m sure you miss yours too. I don’t even like to look at old photo albums of ‘em because when they were little boys they were just so damned cute it makes me feel, well... enough of that. I’m just grateful that both of mine are now far enough along in their military careers that chances are they’ll stay safely here in the U.S. until they retire in a few short years.
Best wishes for you and your kids wherever they are and whatever they’re doing whether they’re in the military or not. When all is said and done, our children are probably the most important things we can accomplish in this life, and no matter who you are, or who THEY are... well, they always seem to deserve better parents.
Okay, and that’s enough sappy shit for this month. I’ll be yappin’ at ya next issue.