Sunset at the Ranch...

Sunset at the Ranch...

I have lived in Southeast Ohio for nearly twenty five years now… and I have grown in, around and up in this beautiful little corner of the country. I could live here for a hundred years and to some I would still be that funny guitar player from somewhere else with a first name that ends in a vowel. This is my home and in an amazing way, thanks to Vanessa’s interactions in the community, we are a part of the fabric of life here. We have made friends… and those friends have made us friends. In my life, for whatever reason, most of the people I know are younger than I… but not all. My friend Martha Laufman passed away while I was on this last trip. We knew she was sick, and we knew she was not going to get well, but every time we saw her in town she was smiling and full of life.

Vanessa and I went to the Dairy Barn in Athens tonight to her memorial… and it was amazing. There were so many people… she was indeed loved. The conversation with many of the folks tonight was… as seems so common these days, to be about our health or indeed, the fragility of our existence. Each day is such a blessing… I treasure each moment.

This anonymous poem was next to the book we signed when we entered the barn.

The Gift

When I die, If you need me,
Put your arms around anyone
And give them what you need to give me

I want to leave you something
Something better than words or sounds.
Look for me in the people I’ve known and loved.

And if you cannot give me away
At least let me live in your eyes
And not on your mind.

Love doesn’t die, people do.
So when all that’s left of me is love,
Give me away.


None of us are islands and the bell tolls for us all. May the blessings of a life well lived surround us in its soft embrace!


  1. Comment made on December 20, 2015 by Al Karman

    Jorma…..very touching sentiment. Recently suffered tragic loss, and reading this was superb. Also caught Chicago show last night….you rocked out loud!

  2. Comment made on December 15, 2015 by Barbara Jacobs

    Doug was a wonderful gentleman. You were blessed to have worked with him.
    What a great guy!
    He lives on in your memories of him, you will always have him in your heart.@Denise Kaufman

  3. Comment made on December 11, 2015 by jonathan s.

    When I die
    Give what’s left of me away
    To children
    And old men that wait to die.
    And if you need to cry,
    Cry for your brother
    Walking the street beside you.
    And when you need me,
    Put your arms
    Around anyone
    And give them
    What you need to give to me.

    I want to leave you something,
    Something better
    Than words
    Or sounds.

    Look for me
    In the people I’ve known
    Or loved,
    And if you cannot give me away,
    At least let me live on your eyes
    And not on your mind.

    You can love me most
    By letting
    Hands touch hands,
    By letting
    Bodies touch bodies,
    And by letting go
    Of children
    That need to be free.

    Love doesn’t die,
    People do.
    So, when all that’s left of me
    Is love,
    Give me away.

    Epitaph, Merrit Malloy

  4. Comment made on December 11, 2015 by Denise Kaufman

    Dear Jorma,
    Thank you for sharing that beautiful poem. I’ve been sad about the loss of Doug Tompkins who died in a kayaking accident a few days ago. I worked for Doug when he started The North Face on Grant Ave in North Beach in the days just before we started the Ace of Cups. Don’t know if you’ve followed Doug’s work but he has been a true warrior for the planet and biodiversity. I will keep “The Gift” in my heart and keep giving the love away when I think of him and others who’ve passed on. Shabbat Shalom, amigo.

  5. Comment made on December 11, 2015 by Gary Dion

    Thank you, Jorma, for all the wonderful thoughts as well as the lifetime of great music.

  6. Comment made on December 10, 2015 by Mark K

    Hopefully we are all connected in life to others we love and who love us back, Sometimes we don’t realize the amazing ways we are connected and unfortunately some of us realize this too late. It seems as we get to a certain age death becomes more often a part of our lives, but the truth is it is just a moment in the eternal circle of life. As I remember a long time ago, a wise voice once taught me ” No Man is an Island, He’s a Peninsula”

  7. Comment made on December 9, 2015 by Brett

    Thanks for the reminders Jorma…of Treasures and Blessings

    So sorry to hear about the passing of your friend



  8. Comment made on December 7, 2015 by John Garbett

    Jorma, I’ve been visiting family in Oklahoma, and listening to the fabulous Double Dose cd in my car. Sure love those power trio years!

  9. Comment made on December 7, 2015 by Bob

    Athens will always hold a place in my heart. Miss the good people and the good music, but finding a life with good folks much like Athens folks here on the beach in Englewood, Fl. Come down and play some time.

  10. Comment made on December 7, 2015 by Hamneggs

    Sounds like good grief
    I hope so
    Beautiful poem
    Peace and Love All Ways to your Family and Friends

  11. Comment made on December 7, 2015 by johno

    Hey Brett I saw you were stressing out about the Richmond set list – look at the Dec 1st entry – I think its there. Just sayin…

  12. Comment made on December 7, 2015 by John McVicker

    Thanks for the msg, Jorma. I miss Martha too, and think of her and Joel’s amazing business, Magic Video, one of Athens’ treasures…just like you guys and FP Ranch.

    You’re right, though — life is fleeting, sometimes very hard, but needs to be treasured. Gratitude is, indeed, the right attitude.

    Be well. John

    PS – you may recall that I was NOT one of those who thought of you as the guy with the “first name that ends in a vowel.” Instead, at WellWorks I called you ‘Norman,’ having misheard your name, for several weeks until you patiently corrected me.

  13. Comment made on December 7, 2015 by johno

    Glad your home safe and sound – so sorry to hear about your friend. I was at the show in Westhampton – it was great – small, intimate and classy. Jack and Jorma had suit jackets on – we’ve come a long way together. Happy Holidays!

  14. Comment made on December 7, 2015 by Paula

    Love the poem.
    May borrow those words.
    God bless all who knew Martha. . .and may she rest in peace knowing her love is still alive in all of you ♡

  15. Comment made on December 7, 2015 by richu

    also…very sorry to read this about Martha…Richu

  16. Comment made on December 7, 2015 by richu

    hi jorma…glad you back home and settled in? great time of the year and no snow yet to the east of you in n.y.makes for good workin weather. also stockin up with canned goodies and venison.yeah buddy does it get any better than this?

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