Home > Diary, Fur Peace Ranch, Thoughts > Indeed… Here I am

Indeed… Here I am

December 23rd, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

When I was young, this was never the happiest time of the year. I’m wasn’t an abused kid and I’m not putting any blame on my parents. It was a long time ago and they did the best they could. That said, their relationship was a volatile one, especially in the years following WW II. My mother being a non observant Jew, we sort of celebrated Hannukah when my grandparents were around. Christmas wasn’t as well… omnipresent as it is today but it was there… and expectations were always high. Yeah, it was more about the presents than Christ and the presents almost never lived up to their expectations. Yeah… short of that Daisy Red Ryder BB gun, you could pretty darn well expect to be let down.

I mean look, my birthday is the 23rd of December… I’m getting cheated out of presents anyway because people kept doubling up. ‘Yeah, this is for your birthday, AND Christmas.’ Inconsiderate to say the least. And then there was the toys themselves. No matter how cool you thought they were going to be, they never worked the way you envisioned they would. Yeah… tragic. I may have to go back into therapy just thinking about it.

The other day I was driving down Court Street with a friend of mine after a meeting, and the Xmas decorations were, well beautiful. There were kids on the street… Morgan horses pulling hayrides… Yeah… good stuff. The holidays are for kids and now that there are kids in my life… I am able to enjoy them as I never could when I was there age.

Better late than never.

Good friends at my birthday dinner at the Fur Peace Ranch

Good friends at my birthday dinner at the Fur Peace Ranch

I knew a couple of folks were getting together for lunch at the Fur Peace Ranch today, but I didn’t realize how cool it was going to be. It was John Hurlbut’s Dad’s birthday too. Ray, at 92 is one of the oldest living WW II vets still living here in Ohio. Always good to see Ray. John’s sis, his brother in law, his niece and her husband, friends from Columbus and my good bud Jerry Sullivan who escaped Buchtel for an afternoon with us.

The culinary motif was Italian, and it was as good as any I’ve ever had. The fellowship outstanding and the kids, Izze and Liam had a great time too. Liam is Kevin Morgan’s son, so it was extra special to see Kevin out and smiling.

Sunset after lunch

Sunset after lunch

What a beautiful day… Scrooge was gone, and the holiday spirit was here. Yep, I feel pretty darn good about the whole thing. As for my birthday… check this out:

1958 Warren Smith on drums, Jack Casady on guitar, and me guitar and vocals

1958 Warren Smith on drums, Jack Casady on guitar, and me guitar and vocals

Just a flash across the years…

Izze and Dad at the 75th Anniversary Wizard Of Oz Monopoly Set

Izze and Dad at the 75th Anniversary Wizard Of Oz Monopoly Set

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

Well, it didn’t start out bad and it just keeps getting better. My expectations are more than filled this holiday season, and I hope yours are too! Many thanks to the hundreds of people who wished me happy birthday on our collective Facebook Pages. it means a lot to me.

May nothing but the best surround all you out there. May your dreams come true in the New Year… and my no one go hungry tonight.


Categories: Diary, Fur Peace Ranch, Thoughts Tags:
  1. John R.
    December 23rd, 2013 at 21:14 | #1

    Wow. thank you.

  2. Larry Petrillo
    December 23rd, 2013 at 21:43 | #2

    Jorma – Happy Birthday!!! and many more…..

  3. December 23rd, 2013 at 21:53 | #3

    Happy Birthday!

  4. Rich G
    December 23rd, 2013 at 21:56 | #4

    Glad you had a great day! You deserve it. Your thoughts on holidays are not too far off from many I suppose. I was fortunate and was spoiled no doubt being an only child. Not until I had 3 boys of my own now grown into fine young men, that I truly appreciated what I was given and so many have gone without. Cherish every day with your family as they are what is most important in our lives.
    Happiest of days and a Merry Cristmas to you and yours.
    As always a friend from afar,

  5. December 23rd, 2013 at 22:00 | #5

    Jorma happy birthday. Thanks for a great post, it puts things into perspective for the holidays. All the best to you and your family.

  6. Mindy Bregoli
    December 23rd, 2013 at 22:16 | #6

    Happy Birthday Jorma ~ I am glad life is treating you so well. May your light shine on and on.. your writing paints a picture of beauty and peace. Remembering you today.. Thanks for the music, Mindy VT

  7. Doug Dugan
    December 23rd, 2013 at 23:01 | #7

    Happy Birthday Jorma. I wish you many more. Thanks for bringing so much joy to our lives for so long.

  8. Cyndy Consentino
    December 23rd, 2013 at 23:02 | #8

    Dear Jorma,
    Happy, Happy Birthday!!
    Glad to hear that your day was special! You deserve it for all the joy you
    have brought to us all these years!

    The best to you and yours!
    With warmest wishes

  9. chuck kutchera
    December 23rd, 2013 at 23:18 | #9

    Happy Birthday Jorma

  10. RDOwens
    December 23rd, 2013 at 23:44 | #10

    Happy birthday, Jorma! God bless.

  11. Joey Hudoklin
    December 23rd, 2013 at 23:49 | #11

    Jorma, I wish for you the happiest of Birthdays.
    The day you were born is a blessing.
    Thank you for the wonderful pictures.
    I’m going back to practicing.
    “Barroom Crystal Ball”. Open G-3rd fret capo.

  12. Mark Harris
    December 24th, 2013 at 00:21 | #12

    Happy Birthday and thank you for your creative spirit and everything you’ve given us for so many years! As a child in Los Angeles in the 1950s, my best friend Ralph (and twin brother, Stewie) were born on Christmas Day itself. Needless to say, this was considered by all the neighborhood children, and especially Ralph and Stewie, as a great injustice, at least as far as presents were concerned. I remember being thankful I was born on St. Patrick’s Day, and only had to compete with corned beef and cabbage for my family’s attention. Best wishes!

  13. Chaz
    December 24th, 2013 at 00:43 | #13

    Oh please offer copies of that vintage photo in your online shop! Earliest Hot Tuna. Happy Birthday Jorma!

  14. Bob Kelly
    December 24th, 2013 at 01:32 | #14

    Happy Birthday Jorma,,good wishes to you, and yours,,, be well,,

  15. Jeff Black
    December 24th, 2013 at 02:06 | #15

    A very big and wonderful belated Happy Birthday to you Jorma!!!!!! Great pic of you and Jack from the 50’s. Keep on truckin’ both of you. Have seen Tuna much, and look forward to many more times. The best to you, Jack and the band. Merry Christmas and a grand new year!

  16. pat
    December 24th, 2013 at 04:38 | #16

    love to you from france
    happy birthday
    happy just to think of you
    happy with all this beautiful music through the years
    quah ?

  17. R. J. King
    December 24th, 2013 at 04:42 | #17

    Best wishes to you as you begin another lap around the sun!
    Many thanks to you and Vanessa and the whole crew for creating the Fur Peace Ranch and the blessing of the community that is the resulting ripple.
    Growing up in SW Ohio, olives were a rarity reserved for the most special occasions. At home at the holiday dinner table, I always felt rich when I placed a pitted olive on each fingertip and thumb. I was certain that queens and princesses did that each time they sat down to a meal.
    Our holiday trees were cut on our place by my dad. Some of my fondest memories of the season are of his obsession with making certain the tree was standing absolutely straight. One year, he lassoed the top of the tree and threw the rope over a walnut beam in the living room to achieve the desired effect.
    The funniest time was when he went down to the basement for a hammer and some nails. He then nailed the tree to the floor.
    Mom, my brothers and I were all laughing so hard we had to go to the kitchen. He also cooked game; his pheasant w/ oyster dressing was unforgettable. What I liked best about this time of year was no school, sledding and playing in the snow with my brothers and our friends, and sitting by the fireplace.
    May you and your family enjoy peaceful moments during this season; and may you always have just enough.

    December 24th, 2013 at 06:32 | #18


    happy birthday enjoy your family time
    that is the best this time of year and
    all year as well
    i have seen you many times n you bring joy to many with the music you play and create
    you have a great and kinf spirit
    ill see you in jan and early feb mcbes belly yo n other
    no cal shows
    looking forward to seeing tuna again
    lets get some electric tuna out to the west coast

    MARK M

    December 24th, 2013 at 06:33 | #19


    happy birthday enjoy your family time
    that is the best this time of year and
    all year as well
    i have seen you many times n you bring joy to many with the music you play and create
    you have a great and kind spirit
    ill see you in jan and early feb mcbes belly yo n other
    no cal shows
    looking forward to seeing tuna again
    lets get some electric tuna out to the west coast

    MARK M

  20. tom y
    December 24th, 2013 at 07:22 | #20

    happt birthday Jorma thanks for all the good times 45 years blessing to all at the fur peace ranch hope to visit next fall

  21. December 24th, 2013 at 07:38 | #21

    Happy Birthday Jorma…May You Stay Forever Young! Peace

  22. mutt
    December 24th, 2013 at 08:36 | #22

    Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday Cap. Looks as if you have been blessed in all ways by the Great Oz – a brain, a heart, courage and a home. Give my love to all. I’m off to see the wizard in the island. Cya in Jan. Happy New Year.

    Love and Prayers Fur All


  23. Bill Fisher
    December 24th, 2013 at 09:18 | #23


    Your posts continue to be a source of wisdom and inspiration. I really believe that if you had not been blessed with the musical gifts that you have, you most certainly could have been a writer. Your musings on Christmases past and present are spot on.

    Happy holidays (all of them!) and a very happy birthday. And best to the whole Kaukonen clan. Hope to see you at FPR.


  24. Steve
    December 24th, 2013 at 09:58 | #24

    Happy Birthday Jorma!!! I always make sure I wish some of my friends and family Happy Jorma’s Birthday. Either I get “Right and same to you” or blank stares it’s great!! Killer early daze picture of you and Jack!! Will that be included in the box set book along with the early Triumphs recording that us fans have been clamoring for? 😉 Well this fan at least….Just realized it is also Eddie Vedder’s birthday as well………There ya are!!!

  25. Frank Filipo
    December 24th, 2013 at 10:03 | #25


    Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas. And a huge THANK YOU for the “Christmas in August” gift that I treasure every year at FPR with you, Vanessa, Hurl, and all of the fine folks there.

    Peace, love, and music to all!!!

  26. johno
    December 24th, 2013 at 10:58 | #26

    Thanks for that picture of you and Jack… priceless. Glad you had a nice birthday Captain.

  27. December 24th, 2013 at 12:04 | #27

    yesterday I wished you a happy birthday and today I’m wishing you a happy holidays. didn’t want to roll it all into one. I would just like to say and I think I’ve said it before, I still remember that day in high school when I never had heard of Hot Tuna and a buddy said to me, hey you need to check out Hot Tuna they are playing a the Capitol tonight.. The rest is history. Thank you for all the years of great music and at this point all we can do is say “onward”

  28. December 24th, 2013 at 12:33 | #28

    Glad you had a nice birthday Jorma …Happy holidays …You are a huge part of my life .Thanks for entertaining me for as long as i can even remember (im 53) .Peace

  29. December 24th, 2013 at 12:44 | #29

    @Mitch Spector
    mitch: didn’t know you were that old … Just kidding.. Peace Man

  30. Joanne
    December 24th, 2013 at 18:59 | #30

    Wishing you a Happy Birthday,Happy Holidays and a Healthy, Happy New Year!

  31. David
    December 24th, 2013 at 20:52 | #31

    Happy Birthday, Captain.

    Here’s a little something I threw together last year that perhaps you will enoy.

    The Day Before Christmas

    Twas the day before Christmas
    And I was running around
    Doing some errands for Mom
    In a Texas Hill Country town

    When what did appear in the front of the store?
    A very kind couple, with three bags of groceries (or was it four)?

    The man looked me over, saw my hat and he said:
    “Does that say “Fur Peace Ranch” on the top of your head?”

    “Yes, sir, it does” I replied, not knowing where this was going
    But I was sure I was going to hear a wonderful story

    “I love Jorma and we saw him in Austin not long ago,
    He and Jack put on such a great show.
    I’ve wanted to see them since the days of my youth
    It’s been a few years since then, you know that’s the truth!”

    So to Jorma my hero, I dedicate this attempt at a lyric
    Because he has inspired so many with his life and his music.

  32. chuck newman
    December 24th, 2013 at 21:17 | #32

    Happy Birthday Jorma. Those hayrides have a way of being a big hit with us older folks too. I think somebody once said something like “Go ride the hayride”.

  33. chuck newman
    December 24th, 2013 at 21:29 | #33

    Jorma I didn’t get going early enough to get tickets for the shows with Marty but if you’ll throw open a window that night maybe I could stand in the driveway and catch a little of what I know will be a great show. New vids of Marty and company at the benefit for Slick Aguilar are up on the Tube. Looking good and sounding great.

  34. sean Murray
    December 25th, 2013 at 12:15 | #34

    Happy birthday and happy holidays Jorma. Peace and love to you and your family. See you in February in Seattle. :))

  35. Jim T.
    December 25th, 2013 at 14:25 | #35

    Happy Birthday fellow Capricorn Jorma ! I know the feeling of being cheated out of presents as my birthday is the 31st, still close enough!

  36. December 25th, 2013 at 18:59 | #36

    My birthday is 12/19/1949. Went to U.of Miami in 1971 which is where I saw you and The Airplane perform. Always loved that Jorma tone from the 345 through the wah wah….so expressive and human sounding. I don’t think anyone has ever been able to duplicate or capture that sound. I’m a big fan of you and Jack and Barry and hope to see you live one day. In 2011 the Tenor Guitar Foundation inducted Rabon Delmore into the tenor guitar Hall of Fame, and have the CD where you recorded several of their songs. Rabon played a four string Martin tenor guitar tuned CGDA. I know Barry plays tenor guitar with you on a few songs. Music has made me very happy over the years even though I have never made any money from it. I have played on and off in bands since 1960, when I was ten. It’s always been a lot of fun. Happy Birthday to both of us. I hope to see you perform sometime in 2014.

  37. Mark Nathanson
    December 25th, 2013 at 19:01 | #37

    Thanks for sharing Jorma. You have been a blessing to me on many ocassions. Years ago we met after a concert you played at Finny Hall at Oberlin College. Afterward, you and I got stupid partying. We discovered that we had very similar emotional backgrounds both being born around the same time. I would like to think that was preparing us for these days. The Gospel music that you often played in those days really Heldrich my path to the point that I’m at now. These days I’m a conselor to wayward youth. Thanks for being around the ride. Many blessings to you and yours.

  38. Tim from Philly
    December 25th, 2013 at 20:43 | #38

    Happy bday Jorma. Happy bday Ray. And wow Jack in 1958 looks a whole lot like Jack in 2013!

  39. chuck newman
    December 25th, 2013 at 22:17 | #39

    Driving home tonight on Christmas night from Mom’s after a great meal and great times. Snowy roads in Wisconsin were bringing me down a little when all of a sudden my satellite radio starts playing “Holiday Marmalade”. Everything was back to being great. Thanks Jorma for laying down such a great groove for everyone at this time of year.

  40. johno
    December 26th, 2013 at 14:31 | #40

    @chuck newman
    I just happened to put that tune on cd last night. You heard it on the radio – really cool.

  41. HOGAN
    December 26th, 2013 at 17:50 | #41

    Dear Jorma,

    My youngest daughter shares your birthday and she just turned 23 after reading your post I started to think about it and I asked her if she ever felt cheated out of her birthday because it was so close to Christmas and her reply was yeah sometimes it did I usually got more for Christmas or sometimes more on my birthday, as a parent I really did try to not let that happen but I guess with having other sibblings and money being tight at this time of year it did.
    Well it’s never to late to right a wrong.


  42. December 27th, 2013 at 14:13 | #42

    Always nice to see your smiling face also Jorma. Looking forward to New Years Eve at Morganshire, we are always more than graced by your presence, and I know you have an early start with the tour bus leaving the next morning. Janet and I made it a point to slim down on presents for the kids (and each other) this year, and lo and behold come Christmas morning there was more than ever. But family get togethers always trump any gifts we may receive, and at times like these we realize (again) it’s friends and family that make the season special. So thank you for being a pillar of strength for us to lean upon when the storms rage fierce and the waters run deep, indeed. Bless the I, forward march, Kevin =i=

  43. denise kaminsky
    December 28th, 2013 at 15:31 | #43

    Happy Holidays to you and your family…hope to catch you all in Orlando in Jan. stay cool…Peace -denise

  44. John Foote
    December 31st, 2013 at 09:33 | #44

    Glad you had a Happy B-Day! Great insights on Christmas and the Holidays, and great pic from ’58! Hope 2014 brings all good things to you and the Family.