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Life Times In A Week…

Jorma Sr.'s Rolex on a young Zach's wrist...

Jorma Sr.'s Rolex on a young Zach's wrist...

So it’s starting to seem like lifetime ago, but a week ago today Phil and Myron and I were at Constitution Hall in D.C. for my son Zach’s graduation. In 1953 when the Kaukonen family was stationed in Pakistan my Dad was director of the Asia Foundation. He went to Hong Kong on some sort of business trip and bought a Rolex watch for $85.00. That was a lot of money for Dad to spend back then. He had the watch for years… wore it every day no matter what he was doing from tennis to swimming. Then one day the watch stopped running. Just needed some maintenance I guess, but Dad didn’t want to deal with it and into a drawer it went and time moved on without it.

Sometime in the early 90’s while visiting the old man, the watch surfaced and called out to me. ‘May I have it Dad?’ I asked. ‘No,’ was the emphatic reply. ‘It’s mine!’ Well, it was has so I let it go. Every now and then I would ask him again and the response was always the same.

‘No. It’s mine!’

As Dad began to feel life slipping away from him, he finally gave it to me in its dormant form. I handed it over to my pal Phil who had it restored by Rolex in New York. I got it back and it worked great. Next trip to California to visit Mom and Dad I showed it to the old man. He looked at it with a jaundiced eye. ‘Is Rolex time better than Pulsar Time’ he asked? ‘You bet it is I answered!’ Dad passed in ‘97 but the watch kept on ticking. I would wear it periodically, but unbeknownst to me at the time, it was waiting for the next generation.

That generation claimed the old Rolex last week when Jorma Sr.’s grandson Zach walked across the stage at Constitution Hall with the watch marking time to the cadence of his steps. It now lives with Zach where it should.

Well… the Ram’s Head post is already up so this will bring us up to date… more or less.

On Sunday last I beat it up to the Rockland Music Festival.

I want vintage Barton Fink

I want vintage Barton Fink

Checking into the hotel, the hallway reminded me of Barton Fink. ‘What’s in the box?’

Then to the gig.

My solo set

My solo set

Foto by Phil Jacobs

Before my set I got to sit in with my pals the New Riders… Professor Louie too.

Buddy Cage, Me and Michael Falzarano

Buddy Cage, Me and Michael Falzarano

Foto by Myron Hart

A conversation with friends… can’t be beat!

Louis Rosano and Me

Louis Rosano and Me

Louis Rosano… amp maker extraordinaire.

Jorma Kaukonen 26, 2016
Jorma Solo
Rockland/Bergen Music Festival
Tappan, New York
Sunday, June 26, 2016

1. True Religion
2. Ain’t In No Hurry
3. Hesitation Blues
4. How Long Blues
5. The Terrible Operation
6. Let us Get Together Right Down Here
7. Come Back Baby
8. I See The Light
9. Sea Child
10. Good Shepherd
11. Keep On Trucking Mama
12. Watch The North Wind Rise
13. San Francisco Baby Blues
14. Things That Might Have Been
15. I Know You Rider
16. Water Song
17. Encore: Genesis

Then on Monday a 550 mile run for home.

A Tuesday morning walk with Big Mav

A Tuesday morning walk with Big Mav

Love those morning walks with Maverick on the old roads of the Fur Peace Ranch. No place like home… that’s for sure!

Back in smoothieland...

Back in smoothieland...

I missed my smoothies while I was on the road. The commercial stuff just ain’t the same!

Tuesday ride with my pal Greg.

Tuesday ride with my pal Greg.

So, the girls furloughed me to go on a last minute ride. Here’s the route.

Highway 33 to Athens, Ohio… north on Rt. 13 to Rt. 78… past McConnelsville to Rt. 83… north to Rt. 313 and east to Seneca Lake… Rt. 147 around the lake then back to Rt. 78… Rt. 13 to Chauncey… On Rt. 33 and back to to the Fur Peace Ranch in Darwin, Ohio. 256 glorious miles…

Roadside McConnelsville

Roadside McConnelsville

Clouds at the lake

Clouds at the lake

Yachting time

Yachting time

Yeah… what a day. Yesterday I did a little wrenching…

The power plant

The power plant

This is a kit?

This is a kit?

I thought I might have to youtube for helpful instructions for my new highway pegs… but I toughed it out, stayed srong and got it done!

Sadly, last but certainly not least, Nessa and I were driving to pick Izze up last night when I heard that my old pal Rob Wasserman just passed. I am in a time of my life when these hits just keep on coming. Over the last three days we of the American School in the Philippines lost three classmates. That’s just the way it is.

As for Rob, I got to hang with him and Bob Weir back in February.

Rob, Jorma & Bob

Rob, Jorma & Bob

Foto by Vanessa Kaukonen

The River Of Time is indeed flowing and Rob now rests on the shore.

Here’s to us, and those like us. Damn few left. Now this aging father will get some help from his young daughter to clean the Harley… Our river flows…

  1. johno
    June 30th, 2016 at 10:51 | #1

    Sorry to hear about your friend Rob’s passing – time and tide waits for no man. But I just want to thank you for coming to do the Rockland show – you were the highlight of the festival. Love the pics especially the one of the sun shining thru thee trees. I can tell you just love your new bike – she is a beauty.

  2. June 30th, 2016 at 11:06 | #2

    Can so appreciate the relationship between your father and what finally becomes something worth appreciating for another generation.

    Congratulations to your son’s journey. And your own.

    A fun post! Petra Michelle

  3. Larry
    June 30th, 2016 at 11:37 | #3

    Hi Jorma. Any word on how Marty Balin is coming along? Haven’t heard any news since he had to miss the special Grammy performance and had to cancel his gig at the Ranch.

  4. Barbara Jacobs
    June 30th, 2016 at 12:22 | #4

    Very touching blog-post. Always nice to hear a story about Jorma Sr. He was a cool guy.

    Interesting photo of Zach wearing the dear old Rolex, while in his other hand is
    modern technology.

  5. marcus
    June 30th, 2016 at 14:40 | #5

    Larry :
    Hi Jorma. Any word on how Marty Balin is coming along? Haven’t heard any news since he had to miss the special Grammy performance and had to cancel his gig at the Ranch.

    Yea i been wondering the same,cant find any recent anything?…also very powerful post jorma,btw that lake looks really really familar,man brothers and sister dropping like flys,everytime i hear and read my heart sorta thumps,gone are the day peaple where watches,such a awsome gift and blessing to pass on,best regards : )

  6. Barbara Jacobs
    June 30th, 2016 at 14:48 | #6

    Yes, these days a wristwatch seems to be an old-fashioned thing to have on your person.

    Re: Marty’s health: I wish him well and hope he is recovering. I don’t know anything about his current condition and usually, if you can’t find anything about it while searching online perhaps he and his family just want to keep their life
    a bit private at this time.@marcus

  7. Barbara Jacobs
    June 30th, 2016 at 14:53 | #7

    In other news:
    “Dame Judi Dench Gets Her First Tattoo at 81″. Google it, for the story.

  8. marcus
    June 30th, 2016 at 16:50 | #8

    Barbara Jacobs :
    Yes, these days a wristwatch seems to be an old-fashioned thing to have on your person.
    Re: Marty’s health: I wish him well and hope he is recovering. I don’t know anything about his current condition and usually, if you can’t find anything about it while searching online perhaps he and his family just want to keep their life
    a bit private at this time.@marcus

    Yea,im just wishing him well myself,been gettin kinda worried about him,really do hope hes alright.

  9. Barbara Jacobs
    June 30th, 2016 at 18:14 | #9

    Yes, of course that’s your intention. Nothing wrong with that show of concern.
    @marcus

  10. rich l
    July 1st, 2016 at 09:29 | #10

    Love the photo of the shafts of light on your walk with Big Mav.

    Those moments make you stop in your tracks, and drink in such splendor. Kind of like staring at an intense rainbow, or a sunset that all the sudden explodes into a sea of reds.

    Walk on Jorma, walk on.

  11. johno
    July 1st, 2016 at 13:45 | #11

    Going upstate to my place in the country for a week – gonna slow down a bit – do some fishing, some BBQ’s and listen to some music. Packing my Tuna/Jorma cd’s for sure. We have lanterns that fly really high into the sky at night – pretty cool. Have a nice 4th of July weekend Jorma!

  12. Brett
    July 1st, 2016 at 14:33 | #12

    Jorma

    Congrats to Zack (and to you!) on his graduation.

    Hope you and the family have a Great 4th!!

    Brett

  13. marcus
    July 1st, 2016 at 14:47 | #13

    Have a wonderful weekend jorma and fam,as for me time to get the pit out,hose on,kickback,burn one and turn up some good old airplane and the dead,got some garden work to catch up on,and just relax,gonna cook for the fam and try and have a little fun,side note please everyone remember all our brothers and sisters who are vets,sacrifised there lives for the cause they belived in,salute to you all,and blessings to everyone on this wonderful inpsiering blog we are so grateful to have,best regards friends : )

  14. Dan
    July 1st, 2016 at 16:47 | #14

    BTW that smoothie looks yummy, can you share the recipe ? Healthy alternative to hot dogs this weekend

  15. Art
    July 1st, 2016 at 22:44 | #15

    I always think about Barton Fink when I see a hotel hallway like that. For another total Barton Fink experience, check out the Hotel Shangri-La in Santa Monica.

  16. John R.
    July 2nd, 2016 at 08:31 | #16

    Great pix and a wonderful post. Thanks.

  17. mikie
    July 2nd, 2016 at 09:13 | #17

    KUDOS to our friend Rob McNurlin for his participation in a fundraiser last night for West Virginia flood victims. There is a lot of need over there and anyone can donate to the Red Cross flood relief fund. If you’re local, http://www.wvflood.com will set you up with volunteer or donation sites. Thanks! m

  18. rich l
    July 2nd, 2016 at 11:37 | #18

    First off, in a salute to Satchel Paige and reference to the Rolex, “What time would it be, if you didn’t know what time it was?”

    Secondly, I wanted to share this story of one of our founding fathers great escapes. Something to ponder as we barbecue and set off fireworks on the fourth.

    Saved by the Fog
    Evacuation of Long Island
    Summer 1776

    “We are expecting the final attack at any moment. Our men are surrounded and outnumbered almost four to one.” Just returning from headquarters to the trenches, Major Benjamin Tallmadge spoke softly to his fellow officers so as not to be overheard by the soldiers around them. “We are low on powder-as always-and the British fleet is even now preparing to sail up the East River to cut off any chance of retreat.”

    It was August 27, 1776, only six weeks after the Continental Congress voted to accept the Declaration of Independence, and things were not looking good for the Continental army. To fight would mean defeat. And surrender was out of the question.

    “What are we going to do, then?” a lieutenant asked.

    “Firmly rely on the protection of Divine Providence,” was General George Washinton’s reply. “God has not brought us this far to desert us.” Little did the officers know they were about to see the most amazing episode of divine intervention in the Revolutuinary War.

    The Americans waited all afternoon-and no attack came. The night passed quietly. They waited all the next day as well. Why had the British not attacked? They clearly outnumbered the Americans. Perhaps they were waiting for the winds to change so their war ships could join the battle.

    While General Washington waited, he was inspired with a daring plan. By night they would secretly evacuate the entire army-8,000 men-across the East River. It was a desperate move. The East River was a mile wide. And wouldn’t the British see them in the moonlight or hear the splashing of their oars-not to mention the sounds that 8,000 men would make, no matter how quiet they tried to be?

    Was it a coincidence that just the day before, a regiment of Massachusetts fishermen had come over to reinforce Washington’s army? They were joined by equally skilled mariners from Salem. Together they would gather the necessary row boats, and then all night long they would make the dangerous two-mile round trip, rowing expertly and soundlessly, back and forth, their boats loaded with men, supplies, cannons, carts, cattle and horses.

    But as the next day dawned, the retreat was far from complete. At least three more hours were needed. Major Tallmadge’s unit was among those who remained. They watched-silent-but anxious-knowing that without the cover of night they would be exposed to certain discovery and fierce attack.

    Major Tallmadge described the scene: “At this time, a very dense fog began to rise out of the ground and off the river, and it seemed to settle in a peculiar manner over both encampments. I recollect this providential occurrence perfectly well, and so very dense was the atmosphere that i could scarcely discern a man at a six yard distance… We tarried until the sun had risen, but the fog remained as dense as ever.”

    Against all odds, the fog remained until the last boat, with General Washington in it, had left the shore. As the fog lifted, the British were shocked to find the American trenches empty. they ran to the shore and started firing on the last four boats, which were now out of range of their guns. By the time the British were able to move their cannons into position, the Americans had completely escaped.

    From President George Washington’s inaugural address: “No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the people of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.”

    What a radical idea was proposed in the Declaration of Independence – that all men are created equal. No doubt, there is plenty of darkness in our American heritage – but there is also a whole lotta light. Amen and amen.

  19. chinaski
    July 3rd, 2016 at 11:35 | #19

    Wow, how does one follow up after the wonderful Rolex story, concern for Marty and then a patriotic note as food for thought? Hmm…
    I was having my morning coffee and reading the Sunday 7/3 Washington Post online when I came across this article about working musicians and health care. Quite a reality check to the hype of a musician’s life being all glamour, fame and fortune. I thought it was very much worthwhile posting the link to the article in here as most of us can relate all too well to the situation:
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/2016/06/30/7e4e1d64-3242-11e6-95c0-2a6873031302_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-cards_hp-card-arts%3Ahomepage%2Fcard#comments

  20. Mark K
    July 3rd, 2016 at 16:31 | #20

    “FUGIT INREPARABILE TEMPUS”
    “MOMENTO MORI”, BUT JUST NOT YET

  21. Hogan
    July 3rd, 2016 at 18:21 | #21

    Hey Jorma,

    Nice to see family traditions, still trying to keep them alive with my girls. I remember when they walked across that stage I couldn’t have been more proud, cried like a baby. I heard all about the show on Sunday and the pictures were great. Really sorry I missed it but I was there in spirit…lol..
    Looking forward to coming up for the electric tour and seeing everyone.
    Keep on juicing and I hope Vanessa is doing OK.
    Have a safe and Happy Fourth of July.

    Hogan
    :-)

  22. John B
    July 4th, 2016 at 13:03 | #22

    Beautifully written Jorma.

  23. rich l
    July 6th, 2016 at 09:25 | #23

    I just looked up Rob Wasserman. They showed a picture of him with the rock and roll animal, Lou Reed. I wasn’t familiar with the name, but I instantly recalled seeing him at, I believe, the Arie Crown Theatre in Chicago with Reed. I recall I had never seen a bass guitar quite like Wasserman’s. What a show!

    That picture of Wasserman, Weir and Jorma certainly drips with nostalgia. Oh to be a fly on the wall listening in to that git together.

  24. Phillip Zisook
    July 7th, 2016 at 22:17 | #24

    Wonderful essay!