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On Becoming 72… And Home

December 23rd, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments
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So here it is, December 23, 2012… and I, Jorma Ludwik Kaukonen have turned 72 years old. Holey moley! When I got up today, Vanessa said, ‘Go hang out with your friends until 1500… then I need you to baby sit. ‘Cool,’ said I. ‘Count me in.’ So off I went to hang with some of my buds in the woods. A little four wheelin’. A little noise makin’ good times all around. It snowed over the last two days… see above. Today the temperature was in the low fifties… perfect to be outdoors.

I got back at three. Vanessa went to town and Izze and I watched Brave again. A cinematic marvel, for sure. By 1900, Ness was back and the roast that had been cooking all day was ready to eat. Home made horseradish sauce, sweet cornbread, new potatoes and carrots and a dandy dessert. Ginger came over with her son Montana and their Brazilian exchange student Marcos. My buddy Ted came over too.

We prayed together… each in our own way, enjoyed delicious food and fellowship and now Izze is watching ‘The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.’ Obviously there are pluses and minuses in the getting older process. The alternatives would seem to be unacceptable so whatever adjustments I have to make are OK with me. Each moment is so precious… so enduring in the heart. I treasure my place in the world more than I can express.

I have so many people to be grateful to and for. Let me just mention one who, without knowing, has helped to steer the course of my existence… that would be the Rev. Gary Davis. Here is a picture of the Rev. in concert in London that a friend sent me today.

Thank you for your mentorship!

Thank you for your mentorship!

The year is winding down, and my age is winding up. I thank all my family comrades in arms and the myriad friends I have made worldwide for helping to give meaning and substance to my life!


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  1. carlo pagliano
    December 23rd, 2012 at 22:26 | #1


  2. Tom Englehart
    December 23rd, 2012 at 22:37 | #2

    Your music sustains me…and many others. Love from Anchorage, Alaska (from a transplanted Ohioan who knows Pomeroy!). Love you and Jack.

  3. December 23rd, 2012 at 22:47 | #3

    Happy B-day, we love you!!

  4. December 23rd, 2012 at 23:02 | #4

    Happy b-day Jorma and thanks for all the great music .

  5. Cyndy Consentino
    December 23rd, 2012 at 23:06 | #5

    Dear Jorma,

    Happy, Happy Birthday, and many more to someone who has
    brought so much beautiful music and wonderful memories into my life!

    I wish you and your family much happiness and many more wonderful birthdays in
    the coming years!

    Be well ,

  6. December 23rd, 2012 at 23:08 | #6

    A happy birthday fr you on Facebook from much earlier today – I had the feeling the day was going to be just right for you and the family and it’s really good to know that “just right” was how it went, We’re all pretty grateful for you sharing the world with us too!


  7. John Norris
    December 23rd, 2012 at 23:11 | #7

    Hello Jorma,
    All.the best…Thanks for a lifetime of meaningful tunes.

  8. Robert
    December 24th, 2012 at 00:04 | #8

    Don’t trust anyone over 80 Jorma and happy birthday! And many more.

  9. Carla
    December 24th, 2012 at 00:38 | #9

    …and many more.

  10. Bob Kelly
    December 24th, 2012 at 01:10 | #10

    Happy Birthday Jorma,, thanks for all these great years of music and so much more,, be well, stay safe,, and Live in the Moment..

  11. Richard Cowles
    December 24th, 2012 at 04:44 | #11

    Thanks for the pics and glad the birthday was a good day.Outdoors in the fifties this time of year is a gift for sure,and homeade horseradish sauce with a slow cooked roast…well that sounds just too good.Great shot of the rev in london.Thanks for posting.Take care.

  12. Jud
    December 24th, 2012 at 07:34 | #12

    Happy Erev Xmas! Thanks for the Brave recommendation, been wondering about that….

  13. Brett Richardson
    December 24th, 2012 at 08:34 | #13

    Happy Birthday Jorma,

    And thank you for turning me on to the Reverend Gary Davis many years ago.

  14. tom
    December 24th, 2012 at 08:59 | #14

    happy birthday captain many more

  15. buzz
    December 24th, 2012 at 09:18 | #15

    A belated Happy Birthday Jorma ,see you at the David Lindley show !

  16. HOGAN
    December 24th, 2012 at 09:39 | #16


    Happy Birthday….


  17. Richard
    December 24th, 2012 at 09:47 | #17

    Happy Bday Jorma…I love it that ours are just a day apart..Mine is the 22 and have turned 55…That means I have been a fan for some 38 years now..Wow does time sure fly by.Feels like yesterday I was coming out of the Paladium at sunrise after an all night Tuna show..Like you said the alternative is not good..Have a great New Year too.

  18. Joe
    December 24th, 2012 at 11:39 | #18

    Happy Birthday, Jorma ! Your various reflections on your Life’s journey is always a must – read for this 63.5 year old ! Thank you. Long may you Run !

  19. Craig K.
    December 24th, 2012 at 11:55 | #19

    Always good to wake up on the right side of the dirt! You have touched alot of lives in alot of ways, and most of it for the better. What more could anyone ask from their trip trough the River of Time. May G_d smile on the days that remain.

  20. Drew Kelley
    December 24th, 2012 at 13:46 | #20

    Happy birthday Jorma. Also have a great holiday. PS…how can I come 4 wheelin with you guys? 🙂

  21. Tom in St. Louis
    December 24th, 2012 at 13:54 | #21

    “The alternatives would seem to be unacceptable…”

    Hey, that’s what I say!
    Happy Birthday to the Captain, and many more to come.
    -Tom & Patrice

  22. Dreadbagel
    December 24th, 2012 at 17:41 | #22

    !יום הולדת שמח

  23. Barbara Jacobs
    December 24th, 2012 at 18:39 | #23

    Dreadbagel: You made the extra effort and so: My thanks to you!

    For those of you who have some time, tonight and tomorrow:
    Please sign up at your nearest homeless shelter.
    Serve donated food and lend an ear to those less fortunate.
    It’s my belief that everyone has a story that’s worth listening to.

    Happy Holidays and New Year to you all!

  24. Kevin Walshe
    December 24th, 2012 at 20:59 | #24

    Thanks for all the great music which I have enjoyed since I first heard you in 1975. Thanks for the guitar lessons through DVD and your website that have enabled me to play credible versions of some of your tunes. And thanks for the sense of fellowship that I get whenever I visit your blog. Happy birthday.

  25. joe in dC
    December 24th, 2012 at 21:10 | #25

    Happy bday Jorma
    Thanks for all you do
    many more…………..

  26. December 24th, 2012 at 22:16 | #26

    I like the picture of the rev – I feel the same way about you. Together with family at the holidays – yep you can’t beat it. Ingrid sends her best to Izz.

  27. December 25th, 2012 at 00:01 | #27

    Happy Birthday Mr. Kaukonen. It’s good to read that you treasure every moment. I hope everyone reads that and contemplates it for a moment or two. I know I’m guilty of forgetting to do that sometimes.

  28. December 25th, 2012 at 05:32 | #28

    Happy Birthday Jorma!!!
    Many of us are still buzzing from your visit here,
    I haven’t gotten “Good Shepherd” out of my head for at least 10 days, and I was also thrilled to hear you play Barbecue King, which I thought you had forgotten long ago.
    My friend Libi has not been able to get “Hesitation Blues” out of her head for the last 10 days…

    It took me almost a week to locate the Jimmie Strother “Blood Stained Bander” recording – it seems to be out of print in most places I tried to buy a copy, but thanks to the music blogging community, I managed to find it, along with other recordings from that era. Thank you for pointing me to the source.
    Happy holidays and happy new year to you and Vanessa.

  29. Steve Singer
    December 25th, 2012 at 09:55 | #29

    Happy Birthday Jorma. I turned 60 this year so we are both dragons. Been a fan since I first saw JA in 1968 & been playing Tuna tunes since I started playing bass in 1975. Thanks for all the music & your wonderful philosophy on life.

  30. Kate Sullivan
    December 25th, 2012 at 10:18 | #30

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY JORMA. You’ve been “paying it forward” for a long time. Like many others, at this time of year I get to revisit Alistair Sims in the 1951 version of “A Christmas Carol”. When life gets a little too rushed a dose of Scrooge puts everything in perspective. All the best to you and yours in 2013. Hugs to all.

  31. eaglesteve
    December 25th, 2012 at 12:11 | #31

    I listened to Eat Starch Mom on the way home from Mass today. Go figure.
    Merry Christmas to all.

  32. johno
    December 25th, 2012 at 14:13 | #32

    Merry Christmas to all. With all that’s going on in world, pull the ones you love a little closer this year and squeeze tighter. Peace

  33. Barbara Jacobs
    December 25th, 2012 at 19:22 | #33
  34. Joey hudoklin
    December 25th, 2012 at 21:04 | #34

    Thank you Jorma. Happy Birthday! Learning to accept the pluses & minuses of life has possibly been the greatest learning experience for me. Thank you for putting in print. I was able to perform some of your songs for my friend on X mas eve. It’s always fun to open others up to the magic of your music. Love, Joey

  35. December 26th, 2012 at 13:09 | #35

    Happy Birthday! Looking forward to playing in San Diego!

  36. Bill Fisher
    December 26th, 2012 at 14:00 | #36


    Happy birthday from a guy who turned 65 in September. Your comment about your birthday is one I might save and review periodically! You’ve created a wonderful life for yourself, and with your performances, recordings, teaching and FPR, which I finally got to experience firsthand last summer, you’ve enriched the lives of us all. Happy Birthday man!

  37. Paul Z
    December 28th, 2012 at 14:42 | #37

    72 years young!! Every best wishes. Keep on trukin’. See you down the road. Hugs Paul and Chris

  38. Ron Sullivan
    February 8th, 2014 at 10:45 | #38

    Happy belated 72nd birthday, Jorma, you have been a consistent inspiration in my life, for many years, and it echoes into my ‘greater creative community’, too! In my daily gratitude lists I write on my Facebook page, I often mention you as one of my personal heroes, and a truly inspirational cat! Stay well, sir, may you be with us for many more years yet!

  39. February 8th, 2014 at 14:23 | #39

    73rd brother… thanks for making me younger.