Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

I Remember 9-11-2001

September 11th, 2014 Jorma 14 comments
My friend, David Weiss

My friend, David Weiss

Another year has passed, and here it is September 11, once more. My friend Jerry and I usually ride a memorial run at this time each year. This year we drove. Jer’ wasn’t feeling up to snuff. David was the first name with a face for me on that fateful morning… I use his name, but I honor them all. In some respects it seems like yesterday that the world turned that corner… and yet it is thirteen years ago. It is up to us who remember that fateful morning in the first person to take special care to carry the tell to those who were too young to remember that day…

I remember in 2003 I was on a Rt. 66 motorcycle trip back and forth across the country with Jerry. We stopped in Oklahoma City to pay our respects at the Murrah Memorial. It is a very powerful memorial indeed. Anyway, we were talking to one of the law enforcement officers stationed on site. ‘Some people say we need to forget this and get past it,’ he said… paused, and then continued. ‘We need to remember this every day!’ I couldn’t agree more.

As for the victims of 9/11/2001… may they rest in peace. They, and their families are often in my prayers.

Normally, Jerry and I ride our motorcycles as I intimated. Jer’ had some physical issues today so we did it in my truck.

We both remember, and I hope you do too.


Categories: Diary, Thoughts, trips and journeys Tags:

Catching Up… A Week’s Worth

August 25th, 2014 Jorma 9 comments
Heading out of Meigs

Heading out of Meigs

So, last Wednesday I started up to Columbus around 2000 to pick my son Zach up at the airport. ON Rt. 33 just off my home road, I noticed this great sunset and just had to take a shot. Zach came in around 2230 and we burned it back to the county so we could get some sleep and hit Burr Oak Lake on Thursday with my pal Jerry, my nephew Montana and Zach and Izze.

We got to the marina about 1000 just in time to snag a pontoon boat.

Let that girl drive...

Let that girl drive...

There was some rain coming according to the radar, our luck was holding.

Zach, surveying his fiefdom

Zach, surveying his fiefdom

Burr Oak is one of those CCC projects… used to be a reservoir… now it’s just a big, beautiful lake for all to enjoy.

Da kidz enjoying the voyage

Da kidz enjoying the voyage

Good times were abounding.

Little bit of rain... who cares?

Little bit of rain... who cares?

A great day for all. Friday, we all headed to the Fur Peace Ranch for a weekend with Tom Feldman on slide, Roy Book Binder, Livingston Taylor and myself. A great weekend of music and fellowship!

If you build it, they will come...

If you build it, they will come...

Saturday night was beautiful… very beautiful. A hot August Ohio night… with good music and lots of people. What a great show Roy and Livingston put on!

Zach and Hurl backstage at the Station

Zach and Hurl backstage at the Station

Before you know it, it was Sunday and student performance.

The campers and us in front of the Station

The campers and us in front of the Station

Tom and I did a little show for the folks Sunday night and Zach and I road our motorcycles home to Hillside Farm. This was his first night ride, so I took the lead. There was a scent in the air… it reminded me of when I was sixteen in Manila, P.I. and I would drive my Lambretta at night. Through the hot, muggy night, the smell of copra would wrap us in it’s sweet aroma. It was like a window time for me. Maybe I was the only rider who got to smell that tropical smell… who knows.

For a very brief moment, I was sixteen again. Nice… that doesn’t happen often.

Today, a half a day of camp and then Zach and I took a 70 mile ride and met the girls at the China Panda in Athens for dinner… then a ride home.

Good times… very good!

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

Bounty On The Bricks

August 10th, 2014 Jorma 5 comments

We had such a great time at Bounty On The Bricks in Athens, Ohio. Needless to say, tickets sold out quickly… we were so lucky to get in. Anyway, Vanessa wrote such a nice article I thought I’d abdicate my space and just let her do the talking:

The old Athena on Court Street spreads the news

The old Athena on Court Street spreads the news

‘Hey now, Vanessa here… every once in a blue moon or in this case a super moon, I get to hijack Jorma’s blog. Since I was a part of this amazing night we just had…..I thought I would weigh in. We live just outside of Athens, Ohio. If you’ve never been here…in the rolling foothills of southeast Ohio… owe it to yourself to take a drive and see what it’s all about. We don’t have an ocean, we don’t have the Eiffel tower, and we don’t an Arch but we have the beauty of the land and so much more and if you are paying attention it calls out to you with it’s lush hills and it’s music that’s played in all four corners of the county from the Fur Peace Ranch to pubs in Athens. This place is gentle and wild, rustic and new, peaceful though mighty, sustainable and fresh… not to mention we have a community full a great folks who really care about where they live. Jorma stumbled on our little part of the world in 1985 with his band, There Goes the Neighborhood and we ended up here in 1990.

The Athens Celtic Sessions Band

The Athens Celtic Sessions Band

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

Tonight…..we were in the heart of it all at the 2nd Annual Bounty on the Bricks. The bricks is Court Street that runs from one end of town to the other. The bounty was indeed a bounty…a feast…a garden of delights served to about 330 community members who sat at a table that stretched almost the length of Court Street. Hosted by the Athens Foundation who’s goal is to provide funding for education, health, social services, animal welfare, public affairs, recreation, the environment and arts, culture and humanities. Seems like a lot in that one sentence….but they do so much more. They are committed to engaging and maintaining a healthy and inclusive community where there are opportunities for everyone. Tonight….the money raised on tickets sales for this dining extravaganza will be shared with a 7 county wide stretch of food pantries to enhance their capacity to serve more healthy foods to those in need. Last year, 18 pantries and 196,000 people were effected by their generous donation.

Jorma at the Courthouse, pickin' not picketing

Jorma at the Courthouse, pickin' not picketing

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

The event sold out quick….I was on vacation when the tickets went on sale. When I found out about it I called them from the beach in Maine. I had to miss last years event because we had a show at the Fur Peace Ranch…..I just couldn’t miss another year. I pled my case and offered up my husband, Jorma to maybe kick off the event with a few tunes. Thank you Jorma! He got us in. I invited my sis, Ginger, one of the original designers of the Fur Peace idea and John Hurlbut….our great Ranch Manager and old friend. It seemed like everyone we knew was there in what had to be the social event of the summer. The weather was perfect, and the buzz of everyone meeting up and listening to some great music that included, Athens Celtic Session Band, Jorma (thank you, thank you again), Rye Burhans & Words of Mouth Jazz Band were electrifying. When the dinner bell rang, Jorma had just finished up his last tune. I have to say that the dinner bell got more applause than the ol’ man…..but that’s OK. We’d been waiting all week for this.

The menu... a veritable cornucopia of goodness

The menu... a veritable cornucopia of goodness

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

The food was over the top delicious and all of it came from our community of growers and farmers. Integration Acres Goat Cheese, Shagbark Mills Corn Meal Crisp, Green Edge Leaf Greens, Shade Winery Cabernet, King Farm Chicken and Pork, , Vest Farm Kale & Chard, Snowville Creamery Sweetened Whipped Cream, Avalanche Bakery Artisan Breads, Herbal Sage Teas , Jackie O’s Artisan Beer and more wine provided by Raven’s Glen and Kinkead Wineries.

Let the eating begin!

Let the eating begin!

And it did...

And it did...

I could list the menu items….but it would take up another entire blog. Let’s just say that the food was mouthwatering. The Chef…Master Chef Alfonso A. Contrisciani outdid himself! It took the hard work of the Athens Foundation Committee Members to pull this off and a whole lot of volunteers. Such a treat to have a night out away from our own busy schedule at Fur Peace and to be able to sit amongst friends and no matter where you looked there were people that cared enough to make this night happen.’

Bon appetit

Bon appetit

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

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

Arrow Of Destiny

August 8th, 2014 Jorma 16 comments
Dead aim...

Dead aim...

You know, I was just ruminating on what an ephemeral flame life is. I got an email from a friend yesterday. A mutual friend’s 24 year old daughter died in a single car crash. She left behind a six year old son… and a grieving family. I have no idea about the facts surrounding this accident, and frankly… they really don’t matter at this point. When I was 24, I thought I’d live forever… or at least until it didn’t matter any more. If you look at the picture at the top of this post, my daughter Izze has just loosed an arrow from her compound bow… I caught it in flight… an accident that makes for a great picture. The arrow was a dead bulls eye and pierced the target with the crack of a .22 rifle.

Sometimes we loose an arrow with the best of intentions and have no real idea where it is going to land… sometimes it goes where we desire. At my age, G_d gives and takes as always… sometimes the taking can be very profound. Being almost 74 is not the new anything… it is just being 74… still on the seventy side of eighty. My body feels the constraints of age as does everyone’s. My son says I have a young spirit. I hope that’s true… I think it’s true. My body, well… time waits for no man.

We save precious things for that precious moment. Sometimes the things are gone and the moment never came. Our time on earth must be treasured, but not hoarded. I was a little tired this afternoon, but I got up off my lazy butt, got Izze with her bow and arrows… went over to my sister in law’s farm, sprung my nephew with his bow and arrows and played arrow caddy for the kids for a couple of hours while they practiced.

Time well spent.

Sometimes trying to savor the moment is like trying to hold back a river with your fingers. I have really been into Karine Polwart lately and this verse from ‘The Sun’s Coming Over The Hill,’ comes to mind.

‘Now there’s some say you get what you deserve, but they’re wrong
Sometimes you get what you’re given, and then it’s all gone
And you are lucky if you are sufficiently strong
To daily decide not to die’

I am happy where I am today, which is as it should be. There is no other place I could be. I do my best to maintain balance with nature and to be there for my family. Today, I see my musical abilities in terms of being a story teller and my stories are not done yet. There is yet a tale to be told.

For me, acceptance and adaptation are the keys to the kingdom. This could change tomorrow, but today, that’s how it is.

I grieve for my friend’s daughter… her life is done before it could really begin and sad to say, there are many stories like this. I daily resolve to make the most out of every minute granted me here on earth…

Dad's hands...

Dad's hands...

Foto by Izze Kaukonen

I’m no longer the Big Dog… now I’m just the Old Dog…

Thank goodness for friends!

Categories: Diary, Thoughts Tags:

Dinner At Moe And Anitas

August 1st, 2014 Jorma 12 comments

Alright kids… listen up! In the tiny town of Rutland, Ohio you will find Moe & Anita’s Pizzeria. It’s like an Italian country inn right here in Meigs County, Ohio. Small, reservations recommended. The pizza… awesome! My ribeye steak dinner, off the charts. Garden fresh vegetables and organic meats… locally grown.

Moe & Anita’s

Sorry I didn’t take pictures. We knew it was going to be so good that we resolved to leave all electronic devices in the truck so we could enjoy the family dinner.

Well worth it.

Worth a trip to here from anywhere.

Categories: Diary, Thoughts, Venues Tags:

Just Another Country Road Home

July 8th, 2014 Jorma 11 comments

So today, Myron Hart and I drove up to Canton to Tuscarawas Street to Pat ‘Manny’ Cahill’s amp shop and the Doctor was in. My early 50’s Ampeg B-15 needed some TLC as did my 1963 Ampeg Reverborocket. Also in the lineup for treatment were my 1962 Fender Super (2×10, brown Tolex) and the Premier Amp that David Bromberg gave me on our last trip to Wilmington.

We blasted back down I-77, Myron picked up his Jeep at the Fur Peace Ranch and headed into town to meet the girls for dinner. After dinner, driving home looked like this:

Country roads indeed...

Country roads indeed...

A fitting end to a fine day…

My pot of gold is just up ahead!

My pot of gold is just up ahead!

I’m always looking for the end of the rainbow. Could this be the day?

Well… there’s always tomorrow!

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

A Family 4th, 2014

July 5th, 2014 Jorma 9 comments
Freedom ride...

Freedom ride...

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

The Fourth started with Israel Love and myself climbing on the old Harley and heading out for a morning Freedom Ride. Now going for a motorcycle ride on a beautiful summer morning may not seem like a big deal in the global scheme of things… but there are many places in this world today where a little journey like this might end with us never coming home. Here we suited up, put on our helmets and rode for a couple of hours before coming home for a snack and a dog walk. Very simple… but very profound. I take this for granted most of the time, but as we Americans celebrate our Independence Day… I give thanks for this simple pleasure… and more!

My Mother flew Old Glory every day at her house in North Shore Tahoe. When she moved down to Mill Valley in the late 80’s, the flag frequently flew at the house she shared with my Dad in Scott’s Valley. After my parents passed in ‘97 and ‘98, many of their possessions came to live in boxes in the shop behind our house here at Hillside Farm. While doing some cleaning a couple of weeks ago, I found the old flag neatly folded, resting a box with ancient family photographs. Yesterday we brought her out and, unprepared, couldn’t find a pole so we reverently hung her from one of the cross beams of our pergola.

Mom's Flag greets the dawn!

Mom's Flag greets the dawn!

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

We swam in the pool… had a delicious cook out and went to Middleport down on the Ohio River for the fireworks. There we were, family, in-laws, out-laws, nieces, nephews, wives and daughters… and a pickup truck. An all American evening… sitting by the river in a pharmacy parking lot high on a hill with the other local denizens.

The rocket's red glare...

The rocket's red glare...

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

This picture says it all for me… but one last thing.

The other day, I was driving Izze and her pal Lucy down to Hillside Farm from Athens and the girls were sitting together in the spacious back seat of my truck. These young ladies were gifts to us from women in China we shall never know… and now these young Americans began to sing together. They started with some show tunes from Annie, but then, all of a sudden they sang The Star Spangled Banner… perfectly… and followed it up with America The Beautiful… perfectly! Two daughters of the Middle Kingdom, more American than apple pie and mom celebrating the Fourth with a message from the heart!

It brought tears of pride to my eyes!

Happy Fourth Of July to my fellow Americans out there… we are blessed indeed… and if I had my way, no one in the world would go hungry tonight!

Two American Girls

Two American Girls

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

Categories: Diary, Friends, Thoughts Tags:

Father’s Day At The Beach

June 16th, 2014 Jorma 4 comments
The view from the porch

The view from the porch

So the girls were up in Saco, Maine. What a coincidence. The boys and I were on our way to Waterville, Maine for the gig at the Waterville Opera House, which is tonight. Anyway. Surprise for Dad. I got a Father’s Day call from my son Zach when he took a break from his Sunday gig at the restaurant, and then we pulled off the road in Saco where Vanessa picked me up and took me to the beach house where a gaggle of relatives… kids and all, pulled up.

Light that fire...

Light that fire...

We got the fire going and before you know it, it was smors time.

Don't burn that marshmallow

Don't burn that marshmallow

After a yummy barbeque, we settled into smors and corny jokes.

Monday morning... heading to the beach

Monday morning... heading to the beach

After a restful sleep, it was up early and down to the beach to catch low tide and look for some clams.

How perfect does it have to be?

How perfect does it have to be?

Last year when we were here, it was chilly and overcast. This morning just couldn’t have been better. No clams though…

Izze sees a clam bubble... where's the clam?

Izze sees a clam bubble... where's the clam?

Yeah, we walked for an hour or so… joined by Vanessa’s sundry family who lives up here. What a morning!

Yeah... youth at the beach

Yeah... youth at the beach

Well… it just doesn’t get much better than this. The kids are at the beach… I’m updating my blog and in a bit Vanessa is going to drive me to Waterville to rejoin the circus.

Very good times!

Categories: Diary, Thoughts Tags:

In Memoriam, June, 2014

June 12th, 2014 Jorma 19 comments

On the 8th of May this year, my Mother… Beatrice Love Kaukonen was missed for 16 years. Today, June 12, 2014, she would have been 104 years old.

In Many Houses

In many houses
all at once
I see my mother and father
and they are young as they walk in

Why should my
tears come,
to see them laughing

That they cannot
see me
is of no matter:

I was once
their dream:
they are mine.

From the Kol Hanesahama

The following I wrote sixteen years ago as Mom was ending one journey and beginning the next. I have left it exactly as I wrote it then… spelling and grammar errors… all as they were written. As for Mom and Dad, I miss them every day. They would have loved their grand kids.

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 os 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 know 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 church.

May 8, 1998 (9:03PM)

The relative 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 no where 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 ar 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 an 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: Thoughts Tags:

Founders Day 2014… Brief Recap

June 8th, 2014 Jorma 14 comments
The adventure begins

The adventure begins

So Jerry B., Mutt and I left our little corner of the state to take the back roads to Akron… no Interstates for us. Our first stop was in Zanesville at Fink Harley Davidson.

After borrowing the restroom for a moment and looking at lots of stuff none of us could afford, we continued north towards Akron.

Small marker net to Dr. Bob and Annie's grave

Small marker next to Dr. Bob and Annie's grave

The Four Absolutes

We got in on Thursday, the day before it all officially started so our first stop after the hotel was the Mt. Peace Cemetery and Dr. Bob’s grave site.

First meeting...

First meeting...

The next stop was at the Gatehouse on the Stan Hyet where Henrietta Sieberling arranged the first meeting between Bob Smith and Bill Wilson.

Then a run to Dr. Bob’s house on Ardmore before the weekend crowd.

How many steps to the porch I wonder...

How many steps to the porch I wonder...

I missed this last year… it recharges my batteries for sure.

In the lot by the Infocision Arena

In the lot by the Infocision Arena

I found, as always, the weekend to be unbelievably powerful.

Beautiful night... for a meeting... or anything

Beautiful night... for a meeting... or anything

Hard to see… but there are fifteen thousand people surrounding me!

Our friend Maria V. joined us for the Big Meeting and the Run To Dr. Bob’s Grave this morning.

0700... ready to ride

0700... ready to ride

If you don’t tear up when you hear Amazing Grace payed on the bagpipes… you’re never going to tear up.

Jerry and Maria at the service

Jerry and Maria at the service

Mutt, Hillbilly and Harley

Mutt, Hillbilly and Harley

Yep… these are some of my dearest friends and it was an honor to share the weekend with them.

A ride home in the rain today… and back to ‘reality.’ Off on the road later this week.

Categories: Diary, Friends, Thoughts, trips and journeys Tags: