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The Measure Of A Man

December 20th, 2016 Jorma 32 comments

This week was bittersweet on many levels, but it has been a blessing too! I was able to honor two good friends… one living and one gone. My dear friend Walt passed unexpectedly last week, but I’ll get to that fine gentleman in a moment. On Sunday evening Vanessa and Izze and I joined the Hurlbut family and friends to celebrate the 95th birthday of their Dad… Ray.

Ray Hurlbut 95, Jorma Kaukonen 75

Ray Hurlbut 95, Jorma Kaukonen 75

Ray is my buddy John’s Dad. One of the oldest living WWII Vets in the state of Ohio, Ray served in the Navy as a radio operator on a bomber in the Pacific and other venues. The Hurlbut family and the Kaukonen family have become very close over the years. Our daughter Izze carries the name Lucy on her passport. Lucy was Ray’s wife… John’s mom.

Liam, Ray, Nessa and Izze show team effort with candle duty

Liam, Ray, Nessa and Izze show team effort with candle duty

‘How are you doing?’ I might ask… and Ray is just as likely to answer, ‘Still cheating Death, Jorma. Still cheating Death’ That’s a dark witticism… but Ray is not dark at all. To have a friend such as him is such a blessing.

Ray at 24 in 1944

Ray at 24 in 1944

And a hearty thanks to Kevin Morgan for his great poster!

That was Sunday with Ray and the Hurlbuts.

Today Vanessa and I drove to Cincinnati for our dear friend Walt Sample’s funeral. Walt was called Home suddenly for reasons that may elude those of us left behind. Was his work done? Was it simply the way it was? This is not for me to say. I do know that Walt touched many lives from many worlds… different sorts of people with humanity in common. Today at the funeral home Walt bound us together with his spirit and I shall hold this feeling close to my heart as long as I live.

You made a difference Walt… and you continue to do so!

We love you brother!

We love you brother!

Honor, love, respect… These are the measure of a man! Ray has them… and Walt will always have them. I can only aspire to follow in the footsteps of such truly good men!

Categories: Diary, Thoughts Tags:

I’ll Be Seeing You Walt…

December 15th, 2016 Jorma 32 comments
Walt Sample & Toby

Walt Sample & Toby

It is ten degrees this frosty morning (Thursday, December 15, 2016) here at the Fur Peace Ranch in Southeast Ohio. Maverick and I just came in from a chilly but necessary walk across the parking lot and down the old road to the A Frame. The remains of the Super Moon were falling slowly into the tree line. From our vantage point on the road we could see the lights twinkling from Donnie’s farm over there by SR 681. My heart was heavy with the loss of our dear friend Walt Sample late last night. December 14th, 2016, was just shy of becoming December 15th when Walt’s son called to give us the news.

There is never a good time for bad news and I realize that on this planet we call home, millions die each day. That said, each of us humans navigates the world with our own universe and the circles of these universes may or may not intersect. There may be magic in these meetings. I have been fortunate in my life to have had a number of these meetings but one of the most memorable was with Walt Sample. He came to us at the Fur Peace Ranch a number of years ago… I can’t really remember when. It was immediately apparent to me that we were born to be friends and I wasn’t the only one who felt that way.

He was a man of infinite spirit with a love of all things good in this world and the rare ability to find good in most things. He had talents in many fields. In his art whether it be music or painting, the purist of truths always shone through utterly free of artifice. One must check out Big Mule Music and you will get some small idea of what I’m talking about.

Walt & Jorma at the Source Of The Sacred Soil

Walt & Jorma at the Source Of The Sacred Soil

In late August, one of our dear friends, Rob McNurlin, was down on The Crossroads in Mississippi and brought some dirt back from said crossroads. We called it Devil Dirt… and there was something dangerous about it. Walt thought we should strike back on the good vibe and came up with the idea of Sacred Soil from the Fur Peace Ranch. We had been doing some excavating so we had a huge pile of dirt. Walt loaded up the sifter, we made labels and le voila, Fur Peace Ranch Sacred Soil! I say ‘we,’ but it was all Walt, sitting in garage next to the Harleys giving substance to yet another dream. The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well here in Southeast Ohio and every little bit counts.

Walt and another kind of mule

Walt and another kind of mule

A renaissance man…father… husband… brother to all who were authentic. He didn’t suffer fools handily… he disdained poseurs… but he treated all with respect.

He passed suddenly, without warning and he although it is not for me to say how any man perceives his own passing, I would imagine that Walt would have wanted it this way. His great heart, having done its duty, retired the field. He had many different relationships with all he knew. I did not write with him. We thought about it… talked about it… but never got around to it. We were, however, friends!

All of us who knew Walt will miss him in our own way, but none of us will ever forget him. For me that ever-present smile, hearty handshake and the sly look that said he had something really cool to show me will live in my heart always.

At this point in my life, unexpected phone calls as often as not do not bring good news. Simply put, as the book of life is opened some of us do not make the next page and that’s just the way it is.

So in closing this sad but yet celebratory little note as I looked at the Super Moon last night and early this morning I was immediately reminded that by some strange coincidence yesterday morning I was listening to Jimmy Durante singing I’ll Be Seeing You by Sammy Fain and Irving Kahal.

I’ll be seeing you
In all the old familiar places
That this heart of mine embraces
All day and through
In that small cafe
The park across the way
The children’s carousel
The chestnut trees
The wishing well
I’ll be seeing you
In every lovely summer’s day
In everything that’s night and day
I’ll always think of you that way
I’ll find you in the morning sun
And when the night is new
I’ll be looking at the moon
But I’ll be seeing you
I’ll be seeing you

I’ll be seeing you my friend… in my heart always… In the meantime

Fair wind and following seas brother. My the spirit wind always be at your back!

Big indeed!

Big indeed!

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

Nineteen Years At The Fur Peace Ranch, And A Super Moon!

November 14th, 2016 Jorma 54 comments
The Super Moon, Nov. 13, 2016 from my back porch in Darwin, Ohio

The Super Moon, Nov. 13, 2016 from my back porch in Darwin, Ohio

Frosty mornings… the chill came late to us here in Southeast Ohio. Temperatures were down to the low 20’s in the morning. It was our first hard frost… and this late in the season, it’s hard to imagine there will be an Indian Summer. Still and all, it’s just weather and we know what that means… change, like it or not.This weekend my dear friend Barry Mitterhoff returned to the Fur Peace Ranch as did my old buddy, Jack Casady. It’s been a while since we have been graced by Barry’s presence, but it was as comfortable as putting on an old pair of shoes. Also on board for the weekend was my good pal Tom Feldmann. Tom has been with me now for a couple of years. He found his way to us through Roy Book Binder an Stefan Grossman. I am so pleased that he is now a member of the family. He is not only a great guitar player, a writer and generally speaking a serious artist… he’s also a great guy! We definitely had the A team here this weekend… not that all our teams are not A teams.

It’s been a bit since Jack and I did a show together and more than a bit since Barry joined us. What an artistically gratifying evening!

Hot Tuna 28, 2016
The Acoustic Trio
Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady
And Barry Mitterhoff
The Fur Peace Station
Darwin, Ohio
Saturday, November 12, 2016

First Set:
1. Dime For Beer
2. How Long Blues
3. Hesitation Blues
4. Barbeque King
I See The Light
5. Ain’t In No Hurry
6. I See The Light
7. Candy Man
8. Sleep Song
9. Sea Child
10. The Terrible Operation
11. Keep Your Lamps Trimmed & Burning
Second Set:
1. Been So Long
2. Brother Can You Spare A Dime
3. That’ll Never Happen No More
4. Come Back Baby
5. Prohibition Blues
6. In My Dreams
7. Vicksburg Stomp
8. Death Don’t Have No Mercy
9. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down & Out
Good Shepherd
10. Bar Room Crystal Ball
11. Water Song
12. Encore: Embryonic Journey

Thanks to Pete for the set list corrections. I’ll have to talk to Myron about this… :)

Together... again

Together... again

Foto by Lee Cantor

Sunday the open mike for ‘The Kids,’ was awesome. In the space of the last three days we lost Leonard Cohen, Robert Vaughn and Leon Russell. At my age mortality has become a companion, and in an odd way a friend. As a friend, mortality reminds me to make the most of every day, every moment, every friend, my family… most beloved they are… and the musical notes I am still privileged to be able to share with the world. Each day is indeed precious in a way that would nave escaped me as a young man.

In any case, Vanessa got together with Phil Rosen and the two of them honored Leonard Cohen with a touching rendition of Dance Me To The End Of Love!

Phil and Vanessa... Dance Me To The End Of Love

Phil and Vanessa... Dance Me To The End Of Love

Then this morning as the weekend was officially over, Tom’s and my class got together for a picture…

The eagles have gathered

The eagles have gathered

Foto by Carol Doherty

It will be another 20 some years until the next Super Moon… as for moments with friends and family, each stands alone… yet hangs together like cut glass tears on a chandelier… precious and fragile.

“The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.”

Omar Khayyám

Nor would I have it otherwise…

Honor Vererans Day… And A Thought For Tomorrow!

November 12th, 2016 Jorma 96 comments
Hallowed ground indeed...

Hallowed ground indeed...

Yesterday was Veterans Day… My Father and his two brothers Tarmo and Pentti all served in WWII. Of course the world continues to turn and our line of warriors remains unbroken to this day. I did not serve… that was not my path. Would I do things differently today? This is a pointless question.

The Jorma of today honors our veterans… past and present, living and dead. They have done things and gone places that will forever be foreign to me. They have offered and given their lives for our country. To the men and women who have served, do serve and will serve… I thank you.

On another and yet quite current subject… the Presidential Election and our collective futures as a country and as humans:

From A Cherokee Parable

An old Cherokee chief was teaching his grandson about life…

“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.
“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.

“One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt, and ego.

“The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.

“This same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather,
“Which wolf will win?”

The old chief simply replied,
“The one you feed.”

Categories: Diary, Thoughts Tags:

Perspective…

November 11th, 2016 Jorma 22 comments
This... and steam trains...

This... and steam trains...

Just a really short note as we here at The Fur Peace Ranch get ready for our last weekend and concert here in Southeast Ohio. We are winding up our 19th year and are so blessed to have been able to make it this far and to share the music, the art of life as we see it… and the fellowship with our friends. We give praise for this!

Now some may have noted that we had a Presidential Election this week. Some are happy… some are sad. I’m not going to entertain a discussion about how you or I voted. This is America. I don’t care how you voted and how I cast my ballot is none of your business.

This about this… There will be another election in four years… we have them every four years.

This morning I read that Leonard Cohen passed last night. I realize there will come a time when we must all answer the call… that is a constant, a given. Still we take for granted that the things we love will last forever.

Nothing lasts forever. I found out yesterday that Premier Video, the last brick and mortar video shop in this area is closing this weekend. We live in an area where the internet is not yet fast enough to realistically download movies. Plus, Premier had a huge catalog of very old movies. I would hang out with my daughter… talk movies, new and old, with the folks behind the counter and return to my home in the country with wonders to behold.

indeed… nothing lasts forever. Sometimes what masquerades for progress is merely saying goodbye to a comfortable place.

Oh well…

As for Presidential Elections… there will be another one in four years.

There will never be another Leonard Cohen… or a Premier Video!

Categories: Diary, Fur Peace Ranch, Thoughts Tags:

Only The Strong Survive…Return From Disney World

October 17th, 2016 Jorma 52 comments
In laws, nephews and kids

In laws, nephews and kids

So Izze by virtue of her hard work and skipping a grade earned her trip to Disney World… and off we went.
Our daughter Izze has worked so hard in school. At 10 years of age she is already halfway through 6th grade and is at the top of her class. That’s a far cry from where I was when I was in school. Anyway, this kid has worked her tail off and the complaining factor was really low! She definitely deserved a reward and when asked what she would like to do, ‘Go to Disney World!’ was the answer. Now I have to say, that wouldn’t have been my first choice, but then it wasn’t my choice to make. OK Sweetie… we’re going to Disney World.

Izze made all the arrangements herself (with Mom in the shadows over her shoulder, of course) We would stay in the resort at Animal Kingdom and our itinerary would include, Animal Kingdom, The Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Disney Springs. We got Vanessa’s sister Ginger and her son Montana on board for the trip and we got ready for a Family Vacation!

We flew to Orlando on Thursday last, checked into the Lodge at Animal Kingdom and headed over to the park.

The tree of life had a whole Avatar vibe going for it. Here's the kiddo...

The tree of life had a whole Avatar vibe going for it. Here's the kiddo...

Some great animals in what seemed to be a very animal friendly habitat.

White Rhinos have the right of way!

White Rhinos have the right of way!

Return from Serengeti

Return from Serengeti

We caught the rides we wanted and got into Tiffin in time for an absolutely delicious dinner. Back at the hotel it probably seemed later than it was and the whole gang hit the sack.

The kids at the castle

The kids at the castle

I'm at Disney World... where next...

I'm at Disney World... where next...

On Friday back on the bus and off to the Magic Kingdom. I have to say, I really enjoyed the whole thing more than I thought I would. Actually, I enjoyed it a lot… and there’s nothing like to sight of pure joy on kid’s face! Well, I got to ride Space Mountain too!

After Space Mountain... kind of blue

After Space Mountain... kind of blue

After a full day at Magic, we got back to our room in time to turn on the TV and see Vanessa and Izze’s face right there in the front row of the Grammy Music Legends Special on PBS. Wow… nice timing. Now I had my DVR set to record the thing at home, but it was nice to catch some of it down in Disney World.

Now I never got in the game for awards… it just never occurred to me. It has always been the love of the music that has sustained me through good times and bad! That said, to get a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Grammies… is, well… quite the honor indeed. We are in good company, and for Vanessa and Izze and myself to be able to sit in the front row at a Grammy event… well, priceless!

Grace, me and Izze... front row at the Nokia

Grace, me and Izze... front row at the Nokia

Saturday was our last full day at Disney World and we made the most of it. At Epcot I pulled 2 and a half G’s on a mission to Mars directed by Gary Sinise. Mission accomplished. Nice work team.

Spaceship earth

Spaceship earth

The tech involved in the rides at Disney is unbelievable… it’s a class act, and a complete blast!

Spaceport... next stop Mars

Spaceport... next stop Mars

Ready for the Mars rocket

Ready for the Mars rocket

Selfie at Disney Springs

Selfie at Disney Springs

After recovering from the Mars Mission, we went to Disney Springs for a little shopping and another delicious dinner. Then back to the lodge at Animal Kingdom and a night dip in the pool then to bed for an early trip to the airport yesterday morning and a long but trouble free trip home.

I didn’t know what to expect, I just knew that Izze really wanted to go… but I loved it too! Now we’re back in our own little animal kingdom. Gotta go to the kennel to pick Maverick up.

Good trip, but always great to be home. This weekend at the FPR is Rev. Gary Davis weekend with Tom Feldmann and myself, Woody Mann and Roy Book Binder.

Life certainly has been full and good of late!

The Weekend That Was

October 10th, 2016 Jorma 68 comments

When I got back from the last little run, Fall was making its presence felt here in Southeast Ohio. Every time we sit down to eat I get to listen to Dad’s old radio and have Mom and Dad’s travel poster from the 30’s watch over me.

Mom and Dad's old poster... Dad's radio... nice memories at breakfast

Mom and Dad's old poster... Dad's radio... nice memories at breakfast

Pumpkins as of yet uncarved… it’s coming though!

Boo

Boo

Last Friday Vanessa and Izze and Ginger And Montana and I went up to the Ridges, where they had October hayrides around the grounds of the old insane asylum.

Some say it's haunted...

Some say it's haunted...

Such an interesting history… This asylum was still in use in the 70’s and it was built right after the Civil War.

Amazing

Amazing

We were riding around in an Amish horse drawn wagon… perfect in itself.

Vultures atop the ol power plant

Vultures atop the ol power plant

Whoah big fella!

Whoah big fella!

The girls stopped to take a look at the old cemetery.

We've all got to end up somewhere...

We've all got to end up somewhere...

Wait for the wagon... we'll all take a ride!

Wait for the wagon... we'll all take a ride!

Noble steed

Noble steed

Good times in the country

Good times in the country

Then as Saturday rolled around, my dear friends Marty And Jerry celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary and renewed their vows.

Dancing to Unchained Melody

Dancing to Unchained Melody

This is good stuff… you don’t hear about a lot of 50th anniversaries these days. Love these guys!

Then in the evening, Loudon Wainright III came to the Fur Peace Station and, as always, gave a marvelous performance!

Just before the concert...

Just before the concert...

Loudon Sat down at Joe Berman’s old 1913 Chickering.

Loudon at the baby grand...

Loudon at the baby grand...

Loudon was marvelous, as always.

On Sunday, Vanessa and Izze and I sent to the Carpenter Inn to help celebrate Children’s Roshashana.

Izze contemplates a career as a baby sitter at the Inn.

Izze contemplates a career as a baby sitter at the Inn.

Carol and I played music for the service… my pleasure.

At home Izze sat down at the Yamaha and played ‘A Part Of Your World.’ Brought tears to my eyes!

I love this! Mom's Zubeida Aga painting looks on.

I love this! Mom's Zubeida Aga painting looks on.

Wonderful as Fall moves on!

Fall in the country.

Fall in the country.

Categories: Diary, Fur Peace Ranch, Thoughts Tags:

Six Days On The River Of Time

October 4th, 2016 Jorma 9 comments
A beautiful Fall Day at the Ranch

A beautiful Fall Day at the Ranch

Last Wednesday as Myron and I were getting our gear together for the West Coast trip, we paused to get some delicious Pho at the Beatrice Love Kitchen here at the Ranch.

Right here in Meigs County

Right here in Meigs County

This is what I’m talking about… every ingredient local… our Chef… peerless!

Members of the Clean Plate Club

Members of the Clean Plate Club

Then we loaded up and headed to the Airport in Columbus en route to San Francisco.

In S.F., I was hungry again. A man’s gotta eat, right? so after checking into the Kabuki Hotel I wandered up Buchanan St. to Pai and Ray’s amazing Thai Restaurant, Jitlada. If you like Thai food… this is an absolutely must place when in San Francisco.

Jitlada...

Jitlada...

It’s always dinner with friends at Jitlada.

Then on Friday… down to Santa Cruz for a gig at the Rio Theater.

A great little venue

A great little venue

Foto by Phil Jacobs

Hot Tuna 25, 2016
The Acoustic Duo
The Rio Theater
Santa Cruz, California
September 30, 2016

First Set:
1. Dime For Beer
2. Heart Temporary
3. Hesitation Blues
4. Been So Long
5. Barbeque King
6. Sleep Song
7. Sea Child
8. Let Us Get Together Right Down Here
9. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down & Out
10. Come Back Baby
11. Candy Man
12. Things That Might Have Been
13. San Francisco Bay Blues
14. Good Shepherd
15. How Long Blues
16. That’ll Never Happen No More
17. I Know You Rider
18. Encore: Death Don’t Have No Mercy

Behind the curtain at the Rio

Behind the curtain at the Rio

Before we knew it… we were driving over to Golden Gate Park for Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. It was such and honor to be included in this great festival again, and it occurred to us, that probably no one on that amazing bill had played Golden Gate Park longer than Jack and myself!

Tuna's dressing tent

Tuna's dressing tent

IN S.F., the weather can go a lot of different directions. The Saturday we were there could not have been more perfect.

Da Boyz

Da Boyz

Any time it’s warm in S.F. I consider it to be unseasonably warm… and it was thus!

An honor to be here!

An honor to be here!

Come on people, smile on your brother...

Come on people, smile on your brother...

Always good to have toys..

Always good to have toys..

We ran into lots of friends that day!

My very old pal, Bill Kirchen

My very old pal, Bill Kirchen

Always great to see Bill Kirchen. A great guitar player, and a noble soul!

I also got to say ‘Hey” to Jimmy Dale Gilmore, who played a great set with the Flatlanders! He’ll be at the Fur Peace Ranch next year.

Hot Tuna 26, 2016
The Electric Trio
Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady
And Justin Guip
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass
The Arrow Stage
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, California
Saturday, October 1, 2016

1. Serpent Of Dreams
2. Hesitation Blues
3. Can’t Get Satisfied
4. Ode To Billy Dean
5. Good Shepherd
6. Bowlegged Woman
7. Come Back Baby
8. Hit Single #1

Jorma and Jimmy Dale Gilmore

Jorma and Jimmy Dale Gilmore

What a fabulous day in the park. On Sunday, Jack and I played the Great American Music Hall… yet one more time.

Hot Tuna 27, 2016
The Acoustic Duo
Jorma Kaukonen And Jack Casady
The Great American Music Hall
San Francisco, California
Sunday, October 2, 2016
First Set:
1. True Religion
2. Nobody Knows You When You’re Down & Out
3. Things That Might Have Been
4. Hesitation Blues
5. Barbeque King
6. Sea Child
7. Sleep Song
8. Candy Man
9. I See The Light
10. I Know You Rider
Second Set:
1. Dime For Beer
2. The Terrible Operation
3. Brother Can You Spare A Dime
4. In My Dreams
5. River Of Time
6. Watch The North Wind Rise
7. Living In The Moment
8. Let Us Get Together Right Down Here
9. Good Shepherd
10. Keep Your Lamps Trimmed & Burning

A grand night indeed…

Sunday, before the show, Jack and I met with a very old friend. In 1964, as an almost penniless student, my first wife Margareta and myself found ourselves in San Francisco looking for some food. On Polk street we wandered into a restaurant called the Mandarin run by a wonderful woman named Cecilia Chiang. She welcomed us as if we were old friends… and indeed, over the years we did become old friends. You need to click this link and read her story.

Over the years as the 60’s thing evolved, we remained fast friends… As her business grew she continued to welcome us long hair freaks into her establishment in a time when this was not done. She gave us respect when the ‘respectable’ society of the time did not.

At 97 years old she is one of the most amazing human beings I have ever met.

Jack, Madame Chiang and myself

Jack, Madame Chiang and myself

I love this great woman… it is such an honor to count her as a friend over all these years!

Well… that’s it for now. I’m in New York today and tomorrow I will be guesting with the amazing Tedeschi/Trucks Band.

My life is a surplus of honors.

Sacred Moments In The Fall Of Life

September 26th, 2016 Jorma 31 comments
We'll start with this... but that's not where it started...

We'll start with this... but that's not where it started...

It is Fall again… It is early Fall here in Meigs County, Ohio… for some of us in our lives, it is already late Fall. I was talking to my friend Jerry’s Mom, Shirley. Shirley is almost 89 and she said to me, ‘Jorma, I wouldn’t mind a second go round but I guess that’s not the way it is.’ Yeah, you start thinking about how time just slips through your fingers… Like water… like a will ‘o’ the wisp…You see it, you feel it, you live it… and then it is gone. It is so hard to realize how precious life is when you’re young, and yeah, I get it… it’s just one of those things you take for granted. I sure did. Now, it’s every gosh darned day. If not now… never…

This was our Pick And Putt (motorcycles, not golf) weekend at the Fur Peace Ranch. Our fifteenth year. At 75 I’m still able to ride with a modicum of vigor, and yes, sanity. I rode my first motorcycle at 13 and it has been a part of my life ever since. Thursday before the camp at the FPR, some friends on two wheels met up here at the Ranch and we set out for a 200 mile ride.

The eagles gather at the Ranch...

The eagles gather at the Ranch...

We headed up north through McConnelsville and would up at Seneca Lake east of Zanesville.

Time for a burger at the boathouse

Time for a burger at the boathouse

One of the guys had a minor mechanical problem, but we were almost home, so it was all good.

Camp started on Friday with David Wolff, Steve Kimock, Bobby Vega, Myself and Tom Feldmann ably and creatively assisting me. Good times indeed!

Saturday night after the Pick And Putt Ride (another 148 miles) Steve Kimock’s band gathered like eagles. There was Steve and Bobby of course, but also John Morgan Kimock on drums, and Leslie Mendelson on vocals, piano and guitar.

Leslie on the old Chickering

Leslie on the old Chickering

When my cousin Dan Birman’s dad Joe passed away recently, Dan graciously allowed the 1913 Chickering to come live with us on stage here at the Fur Peace Station. So far, Jonathan Edwards and Leslie Mendelson who played it exclusively all night. She never touched the electronic keyboard once… except to move it out of the way.

John, Leslie and Bobby get ready to rock while Steve tunes onstage...

John, Leslie and Bobby get ready to rock while Steve tunes onstage...

The show was awesome… of course! I joined Leslie and Steve for two acoustic numbers, Nobody Knows You When You’re Down & Out, Mama Ain’t No Lie and then later on, I picked up the Firebird to join the band for two electric rockers.

Let it rock!

Let it rock!

This was a musical night that was surrounded by spiritual energy. Start to Finish!

Thanks for playing the old piano, Leslie!

Thanks for playing the old piano, Leslie!

Sunday, Leslie dropped by for lunch and Wally and I took here for a ride in the woods on the Kawasaki Mile… Lovely.

Then before we knew it, Monday came and time for a wrap up!

What a class... missing are John and Mike... they had to get home.

What a class... missing are John and Mike... they had to get home.

Like I said these moments in life… with the kids, with family… being a member of the human race…

I cherish every day!

Sunset at the homestead

Sunset at the homestead

Life is good! I’ll take all I can get…

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

Go To Any Lengths, But Go And Get Pho

September 14th, 2016 Jorma 39 comments

I just had to weigh in on the recent controversy regarding Pho. Of course these articles would come out the week we opened. The first is the controversial chef talking about his take on Pho and the second, which I really loved, is about why Pho is so important to the Vietnamese culture. I’m going to try and not put my foot in my mouth for fear that my favorite food magazine or news source decided to make me their poster boy in a negative way. Here’s why Pho is so important to me. I am a foreign service kid. My father was stationed is Southeast Asia for a good part of his career. The Asian culture was part of my life. My father’s identity as the first Secretary and Labor Attaché for the State Department in the Philippines, was in part shaped by the people in that region. He spoke the language, he and my mother adorned our home with everything from dragons to Buddha’s to beautiful artwork depicting the countryside. I went to schools there, my friends were there and I can became a man there. Fast forward to my days in San Francisco. As most of you may know, I lived a good part of my adult life in the bay area while being a part of the band, Jefferson Airplane. More stories for another time. I can tell you that the food that I ate while I lived there was mostly Asian Food. I know that Vietnamese cuisine did not really come to America until the 70’s after the fall of Saigon. That said, the regional specialties of southeast Asia have always been my delight when I could find them. Yes, I ate other things but my love of the “noodle” never wandered. I still eat at the same restaurant in Japan town that I ate at over 35 years ago. Mifuni (http://japancentersf.com/shopping/mifune-restaurant/) in the heart of japan town is where it’s at. I would never tell anyone how to eat their Pho. You don’t have to. The soup speaks for itself and that’s all I can say other than the choice to open up our own very small and very unique Pho restaurant in the heart of Appalachia is about that love. My chef, Justin Berry nailed it in my opinion. We live surrounded by farmers who care about their animals and care about their crops and we are so lucky to be able to offer most of our ingredients as local. Last but not least (I hope I have made some sort of point here) remember, it’s OK to slurp your noodles. I saw that on a sign in the Mifuni in the 70’s but I intuitively always knew that to be the case. Go check out a Pho restaurant in your own neck of the words. Hopefully, you won’t have far to go to get Pho to go.

http://www.cosmopolitan.com/food-cocktails/news/a63868/bon-appetit-pho-controversy/

Why Pho is central to Vietnamese identity.

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