Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ten Years Thirty

More thoughts of Woodstock...40 years ago...two weeks before that event took place not-in-Woodstock, some friends and I went to the Atlantic City Pop Festival in the now-defunct racetrack which was not in that New Jersey seaside town. Just as Woodstock actually took place in Bethel, so did Atlantic City take place in Mays Landing, but anyway... I think there were about 6 of us in Jomo's VW bus...let's see, I think Richard Foard, Gary Durrett, Rob (Sam)Kirckhoff, John (Jomo) Williamson, his brother Mark, and I were the group. I might be wrong; it's been a long time. But this was a three-day event and we only drove up for the Saturday show. I remember seeing Creedence Clearwater Revival, Biff Rose, Tim Buckley, Lighthouse, Jefferson Airplane, Hugh Masekela and there must have been others. It was more than a twelve-hour show. My two favorite non-musical memories, you ask? How about when a couple of us were roaming around back where the bands were offloading their equipment, and I was standing beneath the descending liftgate of a truck containing sound equipment for Jefferson Airplane. Jack Casady and Jorma Kaukonen from that august band (hey, right month, too!) were riding down along with the amps and speakers and I don't know what-all else. Seeing that my head was just a foot away from being squished by the liftgate. Casady looked at me, and I'll never forget the kind words of advice he offered.

"Get the #*$ out of the way, willya?" he offered. And I honored his offer.

And then later, in the middle of the night on the way home, we stopped at some roadside diner in the wilds of South Jersey. Waiting for our cheeseburgers, we saw a little wizened man clad in what, some months before, had been a pristine white outfit. Shirt, pants, undershirt, little paper hat - all once been whiter than the tundra in February, but by August, all had accumulated a layer of grease, grime, filth, scuzz and atop it all, a patina of scum. He stuck his head out of the kitchen doorway to speak to the counter attendant. He was one of those talented guys who could speak while a Pall Mall bobbed in his lower lip in time with his uvula. The cigarette had about an inch of ash glowing off the end as he smoked and talked and talked and smoked and somewhere, our burgers were sizzlin'. Jomo said,"That's the guy who's cooking our food." We ate heartily, enjoying the extra charcoal-flavor goodness.

Good times, good times. These are the moments of one's life, the Kodak moments. I don't have any pictures of it, though.

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