Driving hours on end, we finally arrived in Maryland and found our way to the shows. Unfortunately, arriving too late to participate in ‘Shakedown Street” sales. We did, however, make it in time for the show and found Shannon, Davey, Flea, and Queen Jane just in time to go into the concert with them. As you would expect, it was a magnificent show!
An Ocean of People
There was truly nothing like a Grateful Dead concert to welcome us back to the States. An ocean of people sharing one groove together are all led by their love and devotion to the music. Waves flowed and moved in synchronicity, as ‘Jerry and the boys’ took this ocean of people on a magical journey through infinite variations of improvisation. This music is familiar to all as the incantations of the common verse tie their souls into a spiraling dance, exploding and then reforming as one, melting together as the ocean moves in unity.
During a short rest period, the magical musicians decide the direction and prepare for the next leg of the journey. Slowly, methodically, the dance begins again. The show continues like this, building and building to a peak. Sometimes the peak can take several days to achieve if multiple dates are booked together, but no one is in a hurry to get there as the story is in the journey, not the destination. You can Click Here to see this show!
The Party Continues
Much too soon, though it can be hours later, the show is over and everyone exits the concert arena. The party continues in the parking lot as people don’t want to leave each other and return to the world outside. With music blaring from van speakers, dancing and singing together, sharing their stories and experiences until finally the parking is cleared in what seems a cruelly forced separation from friends and family.
There will be another show. If not here tomorrow, then at the next city on the tour that never seems to end. “What a long, strange trip it’s been.” This is the Grateful Dead family. It’s not just a show, this is a lifestyle.
Stories in the Basement
With Tie-Dye Ron in tow, we settled in for a few days taking up a brief residency in the basement den of Shannon and Davy’s, promising Ron we would get him back to Arkansas. He is fun and full of great stories. It was Ron who told us that if we could tell a good story we would be welcomed anywhere, he was right.
We were all mesmerized by his stories. Ron spoke of a mountain in Arkansas where one could pull crystals from the ground as big as a baby’s arm, and of hot springs that could heal people of all sorts of ailments. Davy would grill up a mess of barbeque chicken as we listened to Ron’s stories of his precariously adventurous life.
Oh My! Aren’t We Lucky!
Donna decided we should cook up a big pot of her marvelous spaghetti for everybody. Shannon had many of the ingredients but was lacking oregano. Donna sent me out to get our well-stocked milk crate of spices in the back of our van. Upon my return, she looked through the multiple spices and was surprised to find a fairly large bag of… marijuana!
Miraculously, we had passed through the US border with a large bag of ‘the kind’! The contraband dog was on its way over to sniff it out but was sent back! We had packed it up in the kitchen with everything else and had no idea it was still with us. We thought we were clean, and then so did they! Rolling one up, we celebrated our good fortune. Okay, sure, more than one.
On the Road Again
It was certainly nice to be at Shannon and Davy’s but we had promised Ron to get him back home to Arkansas. Davy insisted we install CB radio into the van so we could talk to the truckers. We also found a replacement sound system for music. Donna already had her ‘handle’ from years before, “The Flying Lady” and knew some of the lingoes.
We packed up the van and after a round of farewells, left our “home 20” and proceeded to “double nickel”. On the road again.