Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

80th Founders Day In Akron

June 12th, 2015 Jorma 4 comments

Founders Day… 2015
80th Anniversary

Friday, June 12, 2015

Well, if my Mom were still alive today… she would have been one hundred and five years old… may her memory be a blessing. As for me, I rode up from Pomeroy yesterday on my trusty Ultra Classic. We took almost seven hours to ride two hundred miles… back roads all the way, no interstates. Beautiful. Up in Akron we checked into the hotel and I took a short nap… wakening to a flat front tire on the scoot. Serenity check for sure. I called HOG roadside assistance and they sent a trailer for the bike and we drove over to Rubber City Harley over in Cuyahoga Falls. They checked things out and found a leaky valve stem. Nice.

I missed the men’s meeting at St. Martha’s, but I was out of the shop in time for a delicious hamburger with the boys at Louie’s Bar And Grill.

This morning we got some breakfast and rode over to Dr. Bob’s House. Ardmore St. is ancient brick and I hit a pothole that sheared of my jiffy stand spring. Miraculously, my pal Hillbilly was right there when it happened and he reached into his tool bag and lo and behold, he had a spare spring. Thanks brother.

It poured rain… we got wet… it stopped, we got dry… at and made it to the JAR at Akron University for the evening meeting. Good stuff… problems posed… problems surmounted… a good lead and now to bed.

I’m doing this on an iPad so pictures will have to wait until we get home.


Categories: Diary, Thoughts Tags:

The Raccoon Lodge Hosts Us At Our Lady Of Perpetual Help

June 9th, 2015 Jorma 16 comments
Getting ready to ride out...

Getting ready to ride out...

Kind friends all gathered ’round, there’s something I would say:
That what brings us together here has blessed us all today.
Love has made a circle that holds us all inside;
Where strangers are as family, loneliness can’t hide.
You must give yourself to love if love is what you’re after;
Open up your heart to the tears and laughter,
And give yourself to love, give yourself to love.

Kate Wolf… Give Yourself To Love

Jerry, Izze, Dad and John get ready to leave the Ranch for Brooklyn

Jerry, Izze, Dad and John get ready to leave the Ranch for Brooklyn

Foto by Brett Thompson

Life is a funny old dog… and sometimes a busy one. Friday of last week, Vanessa, Izze, John Hurlbut, Jerry Sullivan, Myron Hart and I hopped into our rented van and set of for New York.

The girls en route...

The girls en route...

We had planned a surgical strike into the heart of Brooklyn where Barry Mitterhoff, Michael Falzarano and I were going to play a Marjorie Thompson fundraiser hosted by the Raccoon Lodge at Our Lady Of Perpetual Help. We were joined by some of Marjorie’s (and our) dear friends, Bob Doherty, Paul Karp and Greg Franklin who played a beautiful gaggle of songs to kick off the evening’s festivities.

Setting Bob, Paul, Greg and Barry up...

Setting Bob, Paul, Greg and Barry up...

We were all here to not only honor Marjorie’s lasting memory, but to also raise money and help publicize The Rapunzel Project. Check this out… We got a chance to meet the amazing women behind this great project and, thanks to our brothers and sister of the Raccoon Lodge, raise a nice sum of money for the cause.

Follow the yellow brick road... either way...

Follow the yellow brick road... either way...

My family rarely goes with me on the road, so to spend three days with friends and family in my world was a rare treat! Our hotel was right by the Brooklyn Bridge so I got a chance to walk across it for the first time. Imagine that… all the years coming to New York and I had never walked across the Brooklyn Bridge. Nice… very nice!

The Freedom Tower

The Freedom Tower

The girls discuss the cuisine...

The girls discuss the cuisine...

Two old birds waiting for the next big thing!

Two old birds waiting for the next big thing!

Foto by Izze Kaukonen

I have known the guys and gals of the Raccoon Lodge for quite a while… they love having a good time… and they love doing good works. People came from all over the United States for this show… bless them… but the sense I community I have always felt in Brooklyn was palpable. Saturday night we were all one.

The people came from all around... just to hear that crazy sound!

The people came from all around... just to hear that crazy sound!

Like a high school dance...

Like a high school dance...

Foto by Phil Jacobs

Here is our set list:

Jorma Kaukonen & Michael Falzarano
Featuring Barry Mitterhoff
Marjorie Thompson Memorial Fundraiser
The Rapunzel Project
Our Lady Of Perpetual Help
Brooklyn, New York
With Thanks To The Raccoon Lodge
June 6, 2015

First Set:
1. I See The Light
2. Hesitation Blues
3. Ain’t In No Hurry
4. The Other Side Of The Mountain
5. Walkin’ Blues
6. Where There’s Two There’s Trouble
7. In My Dreams
8. Candy Man
9. Barbeque King
10. I Know You Rider
Second Set:
1. Been So Long
2. Keep On Trucking Mama
3. Come Back Baby
4. Let Us Get Together Right Down Here
5. Whining Boy Blues
6. How Long Blue
7. That’ll Never Happen No More
8. Good Shepherd
9. Bar Room Crystal Ball
10. Water Song
11. Encore 1: Keep Your Lamps Trimmed & Burning
12. Encore 2: Genesis

At this point in my life, people are passing at an ever increasing rate… and that’s just how it is. We hold them in our hearts and delight in the waves that they have made in the pond of life. Perhaps the ripples will subside in time… perhaps not. We shall see. As for Marjorie, her trials are over… but her memory will abide in my heart and in the hearts of her family and all who knew her. She would have loved the fundraiser, and she would have hated being lionized. That was her!

Our deepest collective gratitude to all those who made this event possible, including you all who came to Brooklyn from the corners of the earth.

Thanks all… deepest and profoundest thanks!

Love is born in fire; it’s planted like a seed.
Love can’t give you everything, but it gives you what you need.
And love comes when you’re ready, love comes when you’re afraid;
It’ll be your greatest teacher, the best friend you have made.
So give yourself to if love is what you’re after;
Open up your hearts to the tears and laughter,
And give yourself to love, give yourself to love.
Give Yourself To Love By Kate Wolf

The road home at Sideling Hill...

The road home at Sideling Hill...

Now That’s A Sunday!

May 31st, 2015 Jorma 6 comments
The Kaukonens get ready to head on out...

The Kaukonens get ready to head on out...

Foto by Selfie

Would it rain? Wouldn’t it rain? Hard to say. The chances were in our favor according to the weather… but the sky looked debatable. Heck with it. Let’s ride. Vanessa’s new bike has been waiting patiently for her since she bought it towards the end of last year.

Loafing at the old Cool Spot!

Loafing at the old Cool Spot!

Izze suited up, got her helmet on and climbed up on the old man’s bike.

Come on Dad, let's ride!

Come on Dad, let's ride!

What started out as a little get acquainted ride wound up with over fifty miles on the odometer. Beautiful.

Mother and daughter... happy!

Mother and daughter... happy!

After the ride, when we got back to Hillside Farm, hunger was striking… where to eat. We had just heard about The Wounded Goose in Bidwell, Ohio… about 17 miles away. Off we went and had a great ‘home cooked meal, away from home.

Some of the bill of fare...

Some of the bill of fare...

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

We then took the back roads home… taking note of the cool route so we might use it for Pick And Putt this year.

Even though it was pushing five when we got back, it was still warm and the swimming pool called our name.

Dad and Izze catch some air!

Dad and Izze catch some air!

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

A perfect Sunday for sure. Now for a relaxing evening so when I got to the dentist at 0815 tomorrow morning I’ll be strong and rested…

Good times…

What a great day!


Categories: Diary, Fur Peace Ranch, Thoughts Tags:

The Ongoing Aftermath Of Life

May 28th, 2015 Jorma 10 comments
Dawn Marie Reynolds

Dawn Marie Reynolds

This past Sunday, Memorial Day Weekend, my friend’s sister Dawn Marie Mingus-Reynolds was enjoying the day with family and friends. She went for a motorcycle ride as we all love to do down here in Southeast Ohio… and something terrible happened. There was an accident that no one has yet been able to explain and Dawn was killed. Vanessa and Izze and I went to her memorial yesterday in the little church in The Plains, Ohio and paid our respects to her memory and were able to give our condolences to her family.

We live in small town America, and whether or not we hang out together, we all know each other from somewhere. We are a community of family.

At my age it is easy to become reflective… sometimes more often than I would like. Life is so ephemeral… each day must be savored, each moment treasured. Even though I didn’t know her well, it would seem that Dawn lived this way. It is a good way.

She was an R.N. at the Athens Surgical Center. A scholarship for nurses is going to be set up and I will be talking about this as time goes on.

Rest in peace sister!

Categories: Diary, Thoughts Tags:

Honor Memorial Day

May 25th, 2015 Jorma 1 comment
The honor is ever present!

The honor is ever present!

Nuff Said!

Categories: Diary, Thoughts Tags:

A Remembrance And A Benefit For Marjorie Thompson’s Causes

May 20th, 2015 Jorma 9 comments

Saturday, June 6
Notre Dame Hall, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, 529 60th Street, Brooklyn, NY
6:30 p.m. doors / 8:00 p.m. show
Marjorie Thompson leaves legacy of kindness and accomplishment. Join Jorma Kaukonen and Michael Falzarano as they perform under the moniker, Kaukarano with multi-instrumentalist Barry Mitterhoff in tribute to Marjorie. Proceeds from this benefit concert will be donated to two worthy cold cap organizations: The Rapunzel Project and Cold Caps Assistance Projects.

Take note folks… our dear friend Marjorie Thompson has been gone nigh unto eight months now… may her memory be a blessing! I could go on and on about Marjorie… she was a friend, a mentor to many, a sharing artist… music being her medium… a mensch to say the least! She faced her trials in life head on and on her own terms. She enjoyed life to the fullest and as much as she loved her music, her family was always the wind beneath her wings. The last thing she said to me was, ‘Jorma, I’ve had a good year!’

We would like to take an evening to celebrate her life and raise some money for the aforementioned projects that were dear to her heart.

Michael Falzarano and I have been friends both on and off stage since the 70’s. We have driven many a van together on the road… checked into many hotel rooms and played on many stages. Our duo incarnation took on a life of its own and became Kaukarano… We’re putting the band back together for this momentous gig at Our Lady Of Perpetual Help… to raise some money for the aforementioned good works. Michael takes a break from the New Riders Of The Purple Sage for this gig.

Barry Mitterhoff and I have been musical buds for thirteen years… He came on board after Blue Country Heart… and here he is again with us… pickin’ for Marjorie and her cause.

Opening the show with four songs will be a great bunch of guys I met at the Fur Peace Ranch with Marjorie over a decade and a half ago. Bob Doherty, Pete Stern, Paul Karp and Greg Franklin have been making music together since we all discovered each other at the Ranch. There will be a lot of love at this show… and a lot of great music.

Now her friends and family join together in song and music to carry on in her spirit. Through her example of generosity and hard work we can indeed help those suffering and improve their lives.
Thank you for your support…and for helping us keep this important mission alive in Marjorie’s honor.

Here are a couple of places tickets can be obtained:

This is going to be a lot of fun for a great cause in remembrance of a great lady and an outstanding human being.

By the bye… major kudos to the Raccoon Lodge for promoting this show. I have known you all for decades… you are always doing great things for your community. Thanks so much for spearheading this night for Marjorie’s causes. You’re the best!

Folks, we sure hope to see you all there on June 6, 2015!

Categories: Diary, Thoughts, Venues Tags:

Happiest Of Mother’s Day This May 10, 2015!

May 10th, 2015 Jorma 7 comments
Mother and daughter...

Mother and daughter...

Just a short note on this Mother’s day… There are a lot of Moms out there and we would all be nowhere without them. Vanessa, you rule! Izze and I honor you. For all the other Moms out there, this day (and all days) is for you. Enjoy what here in Southeast Ohio, is a beautiful… beautiful day!

Dads… pay attention!

Onward with love!

Categories: Diary, Thoughts Tags:

Jahrzeit For My Mother

May 8th, 2015 Jorma 19 comments
Beatrice taught 6th grade at the H.D.Cooke School in D.C. in the 50's. This mug came from one of her students... I wish I could remember who. Thanks!!!

Beatrice taught 6th grade at the H.D.Cooke School in D.C. in the 50's. This mug came from one of her students... I wish I could remember who. Thanks!!!

Jahrzeit & Mother’s Day 2015

Another year has come and gone… Mother’s Day is right around the corner and May 8, 2015 is the seventeenth anniversary of the passing of Beatrice Love Kaukonen, my Mom. Her Father, Benjamin Samuel Levine and his Mom and Dad Shmuel and Gittel came to the United States in 1905 from Ekatarinoslav on the Dneiper River in what is now the Ukrainian Republic. Typical American story… Russian Jewish tobacco farming in Ellington, Connecticut. What a life! My Grandfather Ben, got his PhD from Brown University and went on to be a noted research bacteriologist. Grandmother Vera graduated Trinity College in Hartford. More on this another time. My Mom was into all sorts of education all her life. It beat picking tobacco.

I posted the Goodbye Mom text last year, but I’m doing it again and I’ll probably do it every year till somebody does it for me. The ‘Dear Mom’ letter I just found two ago in a drawer in my Dad’s old desk which lives in my music room. It was a hard copy, I had to transcribe it. Wow.

You can make plans, but you can’t plan the outcome. Sad to say, my brother Peter, and I have not spoken for many years. I couldn’t really tell you why. It’s unfortunate, but that’s how it seems to be. It would be nice for our kids to get to know each other sometime.

And there you have it. OK… here I go celebrating Mom’s Jahrzeit.

A letter from Jerry Jr., Hillside Farm, Meigs County, Ohio to
Beatrice Love Kaukonen (6-12-10/5-8-98)
Written June 20,1998

Dear Mom:

This is a last letter to you. A real one, a hard copy, one you could touch were you still able to touch. You know your memorial is in three days and even though I have used working as an excuse not to do this until now I realize this is not simple Jerry procrastination. It hit me tonight when I was putting my broken down motorcycle on the trailer. I have been putting off saying my final good-byes to you for once I have done this I must move on and it just didn’t seem time yet.

Well Mom, I guess it’s time.

You let me join Peter and Sera for your final hours and I will always be grateful to you for that. But that was your final chapter, your final lesson to me. There was so much more in the book. You and Dad spread so many layers of perception for Peter and I to sheath ourselves in. Love of music, of books, of the countryside where I live, of the hills and hollows and streams and ponds. I cannot hear a goose honk or a duck quack without being a little boy again hiking in Rock Creek Park with you and Peter. When I walk in the woods I think how you would have liked this land, when I put my canoe in some local lake I think of you teaching me how to row and paddle… I think of you on your boat reaching for freedom in the Skerrgards outside of Stockholm.

I think of you often.

I miss the phone calls. Especially the Sunday ones after I watched Charles Osgood’s Sunday Morning. I miss sharing the blessing of my life with Vanessa with you. Lord knows I wandered aimlessly for so long but you always encouraged me to believe that it would get better. You never moralized with me or criticized my follies.

You always supported your boys in your own way. You were not always easy to get along with but your were always easy to love. You had a giant spirit and touched more people than I could possibly imagine. You had plenty of love to go around and those who were moved by your spirit will miss you as much as Peter and I.

The last year or so of your life has allowed me to discover my brother Peter. He has become a part of my life even though we live so far away from each other.

You did not go gentle into that good night and sometimes this brought consternation into the lives of those around you. Yet the lessons of your strength do not go unnoticed. The kittens that gave you so much joy after Dad died now live on the farm here at Hillside. Doody clawed the crap out of me the other day but I couldn’t even get mad about it. Mimi likes to go outside but she returns to the guest house after about and hour outside. You would have been proud of the little rascal’s adaptability.

I remember sitting with you by your bed one day some months ago. We were organizing your old letters and stuff in the sideboard by the foot of the bed. At one point you grabbed my hand and said, ‘I wish I could believe!’ I remember saying, “I do believe!’ The truth is that I really do believe. I do not know how this happened but I guess it all has to do with who we are and where we came from. I know that when the time came for you to walk that last mile alone you did so with grace as Peter and I shopped for flowers for Mother’s Day for you. When we returned, the lines that had furrowed your brow were gone and I believe that when you were called home, you went in peace. I believe you are in a better place, together with your old friends and family. I believe your are bathed in love and that your spirit shines with the purest light.

I pray you rest with a satisfied mind surrounded by the ones you love.

I will never forget you and I will love you as the only Mother I ever had.

One of your loving sons:

Jerry Jr.

May 1, 1998 (3:11PM) Eastern Daylight Savings

It is 1215 here at 30 Underhill. Mom is in the living room sleeping, Her cats are here as well as Sarah and myself. Peter has gone to Oakland to take care of some business. Mom is pulling into the stretch of her life here. I am still somewhat nonplused by it. I’m sure that more will be revealed. It is so fortunate that Peter has made it possible for both Mom and Dad to die at home. A real blessing. She has traveled far. Almost the length of this 20th century of ours. She has seen many things and now it is time for her to go home. She has prepared Peter and myself as best she could and with this last lesson she moves on.

She has fought long enough and I pray that she now goes gentle into that good night.

May 1, 1998 (3:31PM)

I heard a sound and went to her side she looked at me but I’m not sure she saw me. She looked peaceful though. May she transit soon.

May 2, 1998 (11:29AM)

I just breakfasted at Mama’s in Mill Valley. When I came back a few minutes ago, Mom’s eyes were open and her left hand was raised. I went over to hold her hand and talk to her. She looked as if she was looking at me but Peter says her cataracts are so bad that even if she were otherwise well, sight would be problematic at best. Yesterday when I took her hand the power of her grip had been restored. Today it was like the touch of a small bird’s wing. Her female cat, Mimi, was at her feet on the bed. Sarah is having breakfast and Peter is still sleeping.

I slept well in Mom’s old room and although I dreamt, I cannot recall what the dreams were. The bed kept me warm with the aid of the little quilt that Vanessa and I gave Mom a year or so ago. The classical music plays on and right now I am in a timeless place. Every moment more is revealed.

May 2, 1998 (11:42AM)

I was just getting ready to do something important like playing a game of computer solitaire when Mom called for Sarah. She wanted something, it was hard to tell what. Sarah held her hand as she struggled with the words. Sarah calls her Bea… tells her she loves her. Her soft Fijian inflected voice calms Mom and she sponges water into her mouth from a little pink sponge on a stick. Mom is now calling for help.

May 2, 1998 (11:51AM)

Sarah comes but we cannot determine what it is we can do to help her. I go over to the bed. Her eyes are looking at something… we do not know what it is. I help Sarah move Mom higher in the bed. She still tries to talk but the words are incomprehensible to us here on earth. Her breath is shallow, almost imperceptible. Sometimes apnea interrupts the flow and she is still for some moments and then the cycle begins again. Time stands still, there by her bed, and we are all transported to another place where we can witness her in the unfolding of her destiny but can really do nothing to interact. Death is indeed a personal event and we can share in it only from behind our own eyes.

She puts her hand to her face, the fingers touching her forehead. She is hovering somewhere between life and death and whatever seems to be troubling her exists in the grey area of the tunnel I believe she is in. The sound of Sarah doing the dishes and the omnipresent classical music are surreal indeed but not unpleasant. She calls for Sarah again. Sarah comes and holds her hand and tells her she loves her. On Mom’s hand is her wedding ring that she has worn for over 61 years.

The angels wait.

Peter comes and looks down at her. I stand at the head of the bed where she could not see me if she could see. I do not know if she is aware at this moment that the three of us are here or if that time is already past. Her eyes close and the furrows in her brow relax for the moment. I shall go have coffee with Peter.

The angels wait.

May 2, 1998 (1:03PM)

Another moment of waiting… interspacial peace. Her breathing is punctuated by snoring sounds. Peter gets ready to run some errands…. I will stay with Sarah and Mom. I am in an orbital holding pattern.

The angels wait.

May 2, 1998 (3:19PM)

Mom’s cat Mimi wonders where her Mom is and why she isn’t getting the love she is used to. She pesters Peter and me as we try to work with the computers in Dad’s office. Mom looked at both of us for a while and then went back to sleep where she is right now. I must call Chuck and tell him to bring rice cakes.

May 2, 1998 (6:01PM)

Peter and I played Song For Our Mother and Hospice shuffle together next to Mom. Sara listened and Mom slept. She still sleeps, the sound of occasional snores rattling through the house. It is a waiting game. She will go when she is good and ready.

May 2, 1998 (11:16PM)

It is 2016 California time. Sarah has just given Mom her evening medications. She strokes her head as Peter holds her hand and I look on from the foot of the bed. Her breathing is a little more labored… the sounds of fluid gurgling somewhere in her lungs. Her eyes open and it looks as if she would like to say something but cannot. She makes little sounds. We do not know what they mean.
Peter talks to her gently but she is not going gentle into that good night. She is so weak yet so strong. I really do not know what to think. It will be a long time processing this. I will sit next to Peter for a while and then go to bed.

May 3, 1998 (12:25PM)

Sunday morning…. I checked in on Mom before I went to the gym. She had moved onto her side and was grasping the railing. Trying to get out of the bed? Who knows? When I came back from the gym Sarah said that she had been calling Jorma’s name. It must be my Dad since she never called me that. I went to her bedside and her eyes, clouded with cataracts looked a if they were fixating on me. She raised her hand and I took it. There was a little strength in her grip this morning… very little, but strength nonetheless. Once again, the human spirit and body is so strong, it holds so dearly to this transitory plane of life on earth. Fear about the next step? Well, it certainly is a transition we all must make sometime. People get ready, there’s a train a’comin’….

It is a beautiful morning here in San Francisco. Is this a better day than any other to die?

The angels still wait…

May 3, 1998 (2:46PM)
Five minutes ago I was sitting next to Mom reading the Tibetan book of Life and Death. Her pillow supporting her left hand slipped through the bars of her hospital bed. I was adjusting it and her arm when her eyes opened and she seemed to see me for a moment. She said, ‘My dear one…my dear one, my dear one.’ Then as I held her hand she gave it a squeeze and then returned to her Samsara… her ocean of endless suffering. For a moment our lives intersected again here on earth in real time. I was just coming to the word processor when the hospice lady came to tidy Mom up for the day. Indeed it is one moment at a time and each one must be enjoyed as such.

May 5, 1998 (4:15PM)

Yesterday she took Peter’s hand and pressed it to her lips. She is further away… her skin is colder to the touch but yet she hangs on. I just played for her for half an hour or so and she snored melodically through it. She is going, going, but not gone by any stretch of the imagination. What tenacity, and yet her time here has passed. I believe that it is her time to move on to whatever adventure awaits her.

It’s got to be better than this.

May 6, 1998 (7:11AM)

Sarah woke me up for her 0400 medication. I didn’t know where I was for a while. When I finally got my sorry ass out of bed she already had her medication and you could hear the fluid gurgling in her lungs. At this moment I can detect no recognition of me in her eyes. The sound of her breathing hurts ME.

This is no way to live, but it may be a decent way to die.

May 6, 1998 (8:26PM)

Peter says that Mom is melting. It looks that way. Today he called Edie Haskell and Amanda Nealin and Michael John Haskell… Elisha’s children to inform them of Mom’s progress. Amanda wept… Apparently Mom impacted her life in a major way. Michael John was inconsolable. He spoke of her connection to his Dad’s family… His only connection. They wept, and I, touched by how important Mom was to them wept also… as did Peter.

It was quite a moment. I decided to let go and give Michael John the old Kodak camera which was my first camera but which belonged to his grandfather. I had been holding on to it but it’s just more stuff to me and he will really appreciate it.

Mom is melting… she is a wraith… not quite a ghost. Here and yet not here. Recognition is gone and she breathes…. in… out… in… out. Sometimes over a minute between breaths. She is going, going, but not yet quite gone yet.

I miss her already.

I wonder when this will all sink in. My brother and I will be orphans now. I want to go home and see Vanessa.

May 7, 1998 (11:14AM)

Just a little further down the road. A little closer to her final destination. It is Thursday today. Sunday is Mother’s Day. She may be still alive, but she will not see me. I will be back in Ohio and she will be closer to her destination beyond the stars.

She lays in her hospital bed, leaning to the right covering the cast on her right arm. Sarah has just given her the 0800 medication and some of it gurgles in her lungs. For the most part she is no longer really of this earth. She is clean… they do that daily, but her bed clothes are rumpled. A little stuffed bear rests to her left, next to her on her pillow. The little Model A roadster Donna gave me yesterday is on her night stand next to medications and flowers.

I am so fortunate I was able to at least say ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ when I got here a week ago today. She knew me and Peter then and she knows us now, wherever she is. They say she is not suffering and I pray that is the case.

I love her dearly. She is so responsible for who I am today.

She is the only Mother I ever had.

My gifts are overwhelming. My cup runneth over.

(She is moaning now. Something either real in our world or real in hers is touching her and she cries out softly and then lies quietly, each breath a gentle groan. I have told her all I could and yet I think I would have said more if I had the time. Or not.)

May 7, 1998 (5:10PM)

Amanda Nealin just called. She is Elisha Haskell’s daughter. I talked to her for the first time. She was inconsolable about Bea’s impending death. We spoke of family… it is all so important in these fragile times. Perhaps Vanessa and I will see them in Atlanta. I was going to lie down before I wrote this but a wave of emotion came over me. Sometimes it just wells up out of a complete calm and breaks over me like some huge wave coming out of the Pacific… cold and strong.

She looks so small. The signs of death are beginning to be visible. Blueness at the base of the nails, water retention in the hands and feet, and yet she seems not to suffer. I will lie down for a while.

May 7, 1998 (11:51PM)

2051 PDT

We went to give Mom her eight o’clock dose of meds. She has to be awake for this so she won’t choke. Peter couldn’t rouse her. This is the first time she could not be awakened. As I look at her there is something different. I think she is not in residence. At this moment I believe that the body still lives but the spirit has departed.

And so it goes.

I feel an emptiness that centers in my chest and moves towards my head.

May 8, 1998 (1:20AM)

2220 Pacific Time

I go to sleep now. I feel she could die any time now. Her body temperature is rising. Her
cheeks are getting hollow. Her hair is slicked back. She would have never tolerated that. Her breath comes quickly, punctuating the end of her time with us in staccato bursts. I will be up at 0400 for her meds and so for now I will say what could well be my last goodnights in this world.

May she pass with grace and soar with the angels.

She will always be in my heart.

May 8, 1998 (6:50AM)


I’m up for the morning medication. Mom is more than sleeping. She snores gently for now, her jaw slack, head leaning to the left.

We gave her medicine to her and turned her to the right. She is dead weight, her body so hot. I think how she cared for me and Peter when we were babies, held and washed us and did her best to make us feel better. I wish I could do more for her but this is the best I can do.

May 8, 1998 (10:59AM)


I spent a little time at the gym this morning but it was tough to concentrate on anything except Mom. She is not light when we turn her but she has a featherlike quality to her. Until the last day or so there was still a spiritual connection. This is gone now, but she is still Mom. Mother’s day is the day after tomorrow and Peter and I shall buy some flowers for her today. The two of us are in Dad’s old study tapping away making entries in our computers. There is a surreal quality to all this and yet I do not think it could be better.

May 8, 1998 (3:02PM)


Peter just gave Mom her 1200 medication and she is unchanged. Miriam, a rabbi from the local Jewish community is coming by this afternoon to do whatever it is that they do. I am moved.

May 8, 1998 (5:17PM)

1400 West Coast Time

Peter and I went to Mill Valley to get some flowers for Mother’s Day and when we returned Mom was dead. Rigor mortis had already set in…. She waited until Peter and I both went out and she passed from this realm. The hospice folks are coming over to
clean and dress the body and we shall sit with her tonight. Pike is on the way with my tickets and I guess we’re all making travel arrangements. I must call Vanessa.

I don’t even know what to say.

May 8, 1998 (5:30PM)

I still expect to hear her breath, to see her chest rise and fall one more time but it is really over.

The angels aren’t waiting any more. They’ve taken her home!

May 8, 1998 (7:41PM)

1641 Pacific Time

Pike came over with our tickets and while we were weeping together Miriam, the lady Rabbi came and sang songs and prayers to free Mom’s soul and send her on her way. (Rabbi Miriam Centuria}
What a voice! We were all crying, but you know they were really tears of joy. The songs centered on freeing her spirit and letting it finally go home. She has wanted to go home for so long and now I believe it is accomplished.

As she was singing the sun came out for the first time in days and the rays bathed Mom on her bed surrounded by flowers.

Truly remarkable… a miracle! It’s almost enough to make me start going to temple.

May 8, 1998 (9:03PM)

The relatives are starting to call. Amanda Nealin, Elisha’s daughter, Peter Bryson, Babe’s son. So much love passing through one family at this time. She touched so many lives. I had no idea.

I almost forgot. Peter was making bequests according to Mom’s wishes. Before we went out he read all the letters to Mom and told her that everything she wanted done was done and that her boys would be all right

And so we’re all right.

The emotion of our relatives is so moving. What an impact she made on so many,

May 8, 1998 (9:50PM)


It occurs to me, that Dad, mover and shaker on the world stage that he was, had nowhere near the impact on so many people as Mom has. My choice of mixed tenses is intentional. So many stories are coming in relating to how she impacted people’s lives in truly significant ways. I had no idea.

May 9, 1998 (10:38AM)

0738 Pacific time

The entries in this little journal are winding down. I got up this morning at 0600 and Mom was still dead. Funny how you expect things to turn out. I made some calls and sit here thinking. Peter is talking about getting his doctorate. Mom would finally have a doctor in the family. What a concept.

I am awash in a sea of generations today. There are many things I would like to hold out of this.

What a lesson.

May 9, 1998 (11:31AM)


And so we are all up doing what must be done to make our departure easy. Sera is so moved it almost overwhelms me. Peter has been a tower of strength, a rock. I could never have done this. And so it is with the difference in people. We have all dealt with this in our own way. We now wait for one or two people to come and then the hearse at noon.

And we all go back to our worlds and this interlude of life and death shall be over.

Such a moment.

May 9, 1998 (12:36PM)


But not quite yet. Peter and I played Hospice Shuffle for her one last time and tears ran down my face for the whole song, and it’s not a short one. Sera is going home for the weekend and returning Monday to take care of some things and house sit for Peter until he gets back from Utah. I went outside…. What a beautiful day today is. The smell that is
so much Northern California is in the air today. That Spring smell that has been absent with all this rain. I looked in the garage and there was a push mower. I mowed a few
blades of grass. I haven’t done that since 3312 Northampton St. when I was a kid. What a moment. Soon it will be time to let all this pass into the reservoir of memories. Life is for the living and we all go one. But what a journey into another time and place. The memory will fade until only ripples are left on the pool. But they will stay for a very long time. To be able to apprehend this, to grasp it for only a moment is such a blessing. I know there will be a withdrawal period from all this emotion and then that too shall pass.

On some days there is truth in everything and everywhere.

And with the rustle of the leafy shadows in Dad’s study we celebrate another day.

Mom died on May 8, 1998. Take note that is one year and four months to the day of Dad’s death on January 8, 1997.

Donna has just come and she kneels by Mom’s side. I go into the study to leave them alone and the tears refract the morning light like stained glass. Sera cries again and we here are one with the grief and joy. Mom leaves so much life and emotion behind her. Yet one more gift. Donna’s emotions honor us. Bea has left a mighty trail… easy to follow.

May 9, 1998 (1:28PM)


Sera sits with Mom. Donna just came with bagels and lox for us. We have all learned so much from Mom…. we agree with that. In the end we walked with giant steps. We are waiting for Jeannie, Susan Dembitz and Sara Glickstein to close this chapter. Then the hearse will come to take her away.

‘And I saw that
hearse come rolling
for to carry my Mother away….’

And now Adrianna is coming too.

Sera requested on more rendition of Song For Our Mother. She got it. I’m amazed I can sing it without blubbering. And so it goes.

May 9, 1998 (3:08PM)


The bed is empty…. only a blue plastic sheet on it now. The ladies all came. Susan recited prayers and the Kaddish. Mom’s spirit is free to go where it must and that is that. More tears, remembrances… Indeed, it could get no better. I will seek the time to grieve when I get home and I gladly await what life has in store for me. The man from the mortuary came for Mom. As we moved her from the bed to the gurney, the smell of death was apparent in its early stages. And that is part of it. We wheeled her to the hearse, her face open and upturned to the beautiful sunny day God provided for us today. She has gone home.

And that is that for now.

Requiem In Pace

May 9, 1998 (11:07PM)

2007 Pacific Time

And ending for now…. or perhaps a beginning. I will be processing this for some time to come. Mom was so much to so many, and most importantly to me. I know she loved Vanessa and was proud of the Ranch. I found she told so many people about it and glowed. In the end she died with dignity which my brother worked so hard to provide for her. The months of approaching psychosis and degrading quality of life, of swimming in Samsara perhaps more than most, lifted and in the end she went without a wrinkle on her face. She had lost the weight the edema grafted on her and she looked so much like Vera. I know she was at peace. To have been there and shared this last week with my brother and the people who she meant so much to and vice versa was a gift from God. I shall be eternally grateful. AND I was able to be sober for it, feeling each moment truly as never before. Her last gifts, her last lessons to us all. Lessons of love and compassion.

It is truly more than I could have dreamed.

I think as I sit here in the Oakland Airport that the last time I remember being here was almost fourteen years ago, fleeing Margareta. Now she is gone too and this is certainly a happier time for me and mine. I am truly blessed. A few ticket problems and delays, but how can it possibly matter. I’m sure everything will work out all right.

And so to home I go, to Vanessa and the life that is waiting to unfold. In this moment, I am walking with angels. I will try to recall this as the evening and the flight time drags on.

And so it goes.

And so we go.

Tonight I feel love!

What a wondrous journey!
May 11, 1998 (12:37PM)

Eastern Time again

The last entry in this dialogue. Yesterday was Mother’s Day. I had a momentary thought about calling Mom and sending flowers. But that is done.

Today Vanessa almost reminded me to call Mom and see how she was. And so it will go for all of us for a while.

Love makes it all worthwhile.

July 27, 1998 (11:32AM)
0830 West Coast Time

I am at the Embassy Suites with Vanessa… Peter is somewhere in the building too. The last time I was here was for Dad’s funeral a year and a half ago. My business in California is almost finished. I have already said goodbye to Mom and this interment is almost an ex post facto event. I know that Mom is in a better place and has been there for some time.

The circle shall surely be unbroken.

July 27, 1998 (3:46PM)
1246 West Coast Time

Vanessa and I have just returned from the Inglewood Cemetery. The Funeral was moving albeit brief. Mom and Dad are together resting next to Pentti and just up the road from Jacob and Ida. The sum total of a person’s life is certainly not measured by their place of rest. We are in the flight path of plane coming and going from LAX. Perhaps that is right considering how many places their beings graced. I must think more and then this set of pages will be closed.

I am surrounded by ancestors as well as walking the earth with one I love.

Categories: Diary, Thoughts Tags:

A Spring Ride With Jerry

May 7th, 2015 Jorma 2 comments
Our bikes by Ritter park in Huntington, West Virginia

Our bikes by Ritter park in Huntington, West Virginia

A beeeyoootiful Sunday… that would be last Sunday the third. I finally had 20 seconds to get together with my buddy JB and ride to Rutland for some breakfast it Millie’s. It ain’t health food, but by golly… it’s home cooking! Then we rode down Ohio 7 past the Gavin Power Plant… down past Gallipolis… a great ride with the mighty Ohio River to our left.

We crossed the Ohio just south of Proctorville and found our way down to Ritter Park where our friend Butch Frazer placed his last statue. Butch was a great guy and quite a spiritual inspiration to me.

Butch's Earth Portal

Butch's Earth Portal

Foto by Jerry Bayha

This quite a bit of stainless work by Butch. The welding techniques are awesome and artistic design is off the charts. Perhaps more on this another time… suffice it say.. it’s a moving piece. Butch wanted it to live in Ritter Park so folks could sit on it… kids could play on it… he probably wouldn’t have even minded the bits of graffiti.

In the last years of his life, Butch fought lung cancer… and wound up losing a lung to it. He spent some time with me down in my Studio at the Fur Peace Ranch recording an oral history of his life for his family. In the beginning he regaled us with harmonica tunes as he told his story. At the end, he no longer had enough breath to make a sound on the old mouth harp but the tales continued until he was done.

He may have struggled physically as he was working to complete Earth Portal… but his spirit was strong! He told be Jerry B. and myself on separate occasions, ‘There are no ripples on my pond!’ What a way to approach the end!

Earth Portal was dedicated on May 2, 1999… His work done at last, Butch passed on May 3, 1999… the next day… with no ripples on his pond!

Sleep well brother… gone, but not forgotten!

Well done brother!

Well done brother!

Butch was a funny guy… and a rider as well. He would have appreciated our stop in Lesage, West Virginia on the ride home. Yep… Hillbilly Hotdogs. Yummy… good dogs and lots of down home philosophy.

I kept it clean for the blog!

I kept it clean for the blog!

Shiny side up folks!

Categories: Diary, Friends, Fur Peace Ranch, Thoughts Tags:

A Journey Of Ancestors And Futures

May 4th, 2015 Jorma 5 comments
The land is ready to be seeded again...

The land is ready to be seeded again...

Last Saturday night we hosted R. Carlos Nakai and Will Clipman at the Fur Peace Station for an utterly enchanting evening of shared consciousness. It was such an honor to have these amazing gentlemen here in our little corner of the world. The entire audience was held spellbound as we were all taken on a journey that I find difficult to express in words. You just had to be there.

I joined these two amazing gentlemen for two songs on stage… it was more than a blessing!

Will, myself and R.C.

Will, myself and R.C.

Foto by John Hurlbut

If you all ever get a chance to share in their music… don’t miss it!

Categories: Diary, Fur Peace Ranch, Thoughts Tags: