Somehow you always know when a storm is brewing on the horizon;
the atmosphere eerily changes...
Just a few days previous to Kubby and I taking off, my father offered
us each one hundred dollars to not go on the trip. Yes, that was
a lot of money at that time, but there was no way we were going
to miss it. It was my father’s way of showing us he cared
and also his way of expressing being a worry wart about seeing us
leave the borders of Old Saybrook.
Often money was one of his ways of doing his best. He offered money
in any situation where he wanted to make my life better, either
from a material or a safety standpoint.
He was always generous with money, especially to get us out of
his hair, or to get us to do something he wanted—and in that
case, that was for us to stay home and be safe. A little loot would
be his last ditch effort at saying,
“Just relax safely at home.” We were not a rich family;
he just offered everything he could in that regard. I remember picking
up Kubby at his house, and we were off to Maine. I was sixteen and
driving my first car, a 1977 BMW 320i—not too shabby at all.
I do remember feeling quite lucky, but still taking it all for granted.
car was already eleven years old, but I wanted the “ultimate
driving machine” in my hands, so I picked out an old one,
because I did have a limit as to what my father would spend.
Kubby and I were very excited to be on our way, cranking tunes
on the stereo, and truly feeling on top of the world. To this day,
I wonder what was truly going through Kubby’s mind as we departed.
He had just finished a conversation with his parents about feeling
that he was not afraid to die. I remember this was the first thing
he said to me when he got in the car.
We crossed over the border into Rhode Island, and soon afterwards
saw a couple of dudes holding a sign saying something about the
Grateful Dead concert to be held at the Oxford Speedway. We could
not pull over fast enough to pick them up. As wannabe Dead-heads,
it is a requirement to accept and support other Heads, and help
them have a good time in any way possible.
So picking them up and giving them a ride to Maine would certainly
qualify. They were also a couple of regular guys ready for a good
time, and that was all that mattered to us. If I had thought about
it all, this was already an out of the ordinary experience at my
age; I did not make it a habit to pick up hitchhikers. This was
one of the things I was taught growing up, and I truly listened—except
it came to the peace, love, and happiness that the Grateful Dead
The four of us traveled to Maine, and we quickly realized that
for us, it was going to be an overwhelming event. For starters,
we were going to be in one tent amongst another one hundred and
fifty thousand or so, on the massive area of land that was temporarily
being taken over by the Dead subculture.
I do not remember the hitchhiker’s names, but they quickly
asked if they could stay with us, and then catch a ride home when
it was all over. That was not a problem at all. Kubby and I had
a tent for the two of us, so they would have to crash in my car,
but that was no big deal, they were fellow pot-smoking hippies!
So we settled into our blip of a campground among what appeared
to be chaos, but as always, there was the perfect order of a Grateful
Dead concert, and it never got too chaotic. If you were there to
party, you could; if you were there just to feel the music and the
vibe, you could do that also; and if you were there to spread some
of the free love the Grateful Dead was creating by leading that
musical crusade, all the better.
It was now the night of July 2nd, 1988, and Kubby and I were walking
around stoned, looking for something harder to take for the big
show the next day. Well, at a Dead concert, you do not have to look
far to get whatever it is you want, so we soon encountered a fellow
freak, and scored some acid and hallucinogenic mushrooms.
Although I had taken mushrooms plenty of times before, I had only
experimented with acid once or twice previously. I did kind of like
the effect of mushrooms, for they are grown in the earth, and supposedly
can have some benefits. The “Food of the Gods” one book
calls them, and at that point in life I listened to such crap. As
for acid, I knew it was produced in a lab and much more intense,
but I was willing to be part of the “trip” of a lifetime...
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