Morning at the Ranch...

Morning at the Ranch...

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

Thoughts On Seventy Seven

Birthdays come like it or not and require some measured moments of reflection. For me they are a reminder that the present is not the end result of a life in which each day is like a drop of water… a Chinese water torture of time. As both my children have observed at some point in their young lives, the only constant is change. Nothing is ever one way, good or bad… it just is. I guess what has brought me this far has always been being able to make the most of any situation, self-inflicted or not. I don’t live in the past, but I do not run from memories. They, and the events that spawned them are what have made me… me.

Tonight Vanessa and I went to the memorial service of a friend of mine. We were really more of acquaintances but we liked each other so in the end, I guess that made us friends. I have been to a lot of memorial services here in Southeast Ohio over the last decade or so and since I live in a small, rural community I see the same faces. I see a friend who I almost only see at memorials. ‘We’ve got to stop meeting like this,’ I tell him. We both laugh and move on to extend our condolences to the family. ‘And so it goes,’ in Tralfamadore speak.

As for me, for some time my goal has been to see both my children as adults and to do this with Vanessa by my side. That is indeed the main course, and everything else is desert. I continue to be blessed and not for a moment do I take this life for granted. I am committed to making the most of each day. Whether at home or on the road, it is my duty to be always present.

Tomorrow I will go to the Lake Hope State Park and enjoy a steak dinner with friends and family overlooking the lake. Perhaps I will take my drone with me and take some aerial shots. Perhaps I will just enjoy the moment unencumbered by gadgets. In any case… so far so good. As some wag once said, ‘It will be the oldest I’ve ever been, and the youngest I’ll ever be.’

I’ll take it!

The end of the day...

The end of the day...

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen


  1. Comment made on December 31, 2017 by Larry Peterson

    Well said Jorma! I turned 55 and have similar thoughts. So funny to think the first time I saw you I was 19! Now I shall see you twice in Colorado in 2018. Keep the music coming because your fans will show up.

  2. Comment made on December 29, 2017 by John Adams

    Happy Belated Birthday!

    Thanks for sharing some very insightful thoughts, and thanks in advance for coming down to Ponte Vedra, Florida for a show next year! This will be the first time I have seen you in many years, the last time I saw you was at my very first concert ever when you headlined with Muddy Waters and Clifton Chenier at Winterland in SF.

  3. Comment made on December 29, 2017 by Richie K

    Happy birthday Jorma, and I hope you take some time to reflect on how much joy and support you have provided to your fans over these many years. May you have many more happy and healthy birthdays!

  4. Comment made on December 26, 2017 by crndl

    Happy Birthday Jorma, and keep us in the loop about yr book. I lived in SF many years & saw JA & HT many times. I’m sure it will be a great read. Cheers.

  5. Comment made on December 25, 2017 by Ant

    Happy Birthday,and thznk you for your amazing music……thank you for hitting those strings man and making me smile

  6. Comment made on December 25, 2017 by Joey Hudoklin

    Jorma, you are loved

  7. Comment made on December 25, 2017 by George Anthony

    Dear Jorma,

    During this busy time of year, I also want to extend very ‘Happy Birthday’ wishes and we’re all looking forward to 2018. ‘All the Best’ to Vanessa, your kids and the team at the Ranch. Your music and your writing on your blog gives me the gift of encouragement.

    I am class of 1975, my next Birthday I’ll be 60 and sober. I’m a Tuna/JA fan since high school. We loved the crazy 1975/1976 shows at Commack Long Island Arena, right up to a few weeks ago at the Paramount in Huntington. Jack’s playing is better than ever, and Justin is also terrific. Jason got a great house sound that evening. My wife and I especially enjoyed hearing ‘Roads & Road…’, plus ‘Wolves and Lambs’ with Jack.

    I hope this note provides a small token of gratitude for the all guitar lessons and life lessons you’ve shared.

    George from Long Island.

  8. Comment made on December 25, 2017 by Cyndy Consentino

    Dear Jorma,
    Happiest of birthdays to you

  9. Comment made on December 24, 2017 by Andrew

    Happy birthday Jorma.
    Going back in time you mentioned
    after just playing at the Paramount
    theatre that it used to be the IMAC.
    From what I remember Hot Tuna performed
    at the IMAC for what it’s 25th year
    Anniversary, for which I was lucky
    enough to be present. I put that somewhere
    in the range 1995-95 but unfortunately
    memory is failing me. Just a testament
    to your ability to do more than just

  10. Comment made on December 24, 2017 by rich l

    This is a twist of the song “It’s Cold Outside – by Lydia Laiza and Josiah Lemanski –
    very sacrilegious, but brought a huge smile to my face “Text me at your earliest convenience…” Enjoy

    I really can’t stay/(Baby I’m fine with that)

    I’ve got to go away (Baby I’m cool with that)

    This evening has been (Been hoping you get home safe)

    So very nice (I’m glad you had a real good time)

    My mother will start to worry (Call her so she knows that you’re coming)

    Father will be pacing the floor (Better get your car a-humming)

    So really I’d better scurry (No rush)

    Should I use the front or back door? (Which one are you pulling towards more?)

    The neighbors might think (That you’re a real nice girl)

    What is this drink? (Pomegranate La Croix)

    I wish I knew how (Maybe I can help you out)

    To break this spell (I don’t know what you’re talking about)

    I ought to say no, no, no (you reserve the right to say no)

    At least I’m gonna say that I tried (you reserve the right to say no)

    I really can’t stay (…Well you don’t have to)

    Baby it’s cold outside

    I’ve got to get home (Do you know how to get there from here)

    Say, where is my coat (I’ll go and grab it my dear)

    You’ve really been grand (We’ll have to do this again)

    Yes I agree (How ’bout the Cheesecake Factory?)

    We’re bound to be talking tomorrow (Text me at your earliest convenience)

    At least I have been getting that vibe (Unless I catch pneumonia and die)

    I’ll be on my way (Thanks for the great night)

  11. Comment made on December 24, 2017 by John R.

    George Henn: I was at that show at Convention Hall in Asbury Park in summer ’79. July, I believe. Vital Parts. Also saw them at Palladium and either Aquaduct or Belmont Park (can’t remember which) that same weekend.

  12. Happy Birthday Jorma…”and May You Stay Forever Young” !!!

  13. Comment made on December 24, 2017 by Paul P.

    Hi Jorma, Happy B.Day!!

    I tune in from time to time, and really enjoy your thoughts / reflections, it is so universal to everyone. The simple things are what count…like as you said enjoying the day with no gadgets, being in the moment with the ones you love. Our pets know this instinctively.

  14. Comment made on December 24, 2017 by Susan

    Happy Birthday Jorma! Thanks for all the shows in New York over all these years. Onward to 2018!

  15. Comment made on December 23, 2017 by carlo pagliano

    Happy Birthday Jorma.

  16. Comment made on December 23, 2017 by Max Bernheimer

    Inspiring words as always. Happy 77th and thank you for doing what you do which you do so well.

  17. Comment made on December 23, 2017 by Chappy

    Happy Birthday! I got turned on to the musical magic of Hot Tuna 38 years ago as a freshman at Ohio University and for that I am forever thankful. Blessings to Jack and you and your family.

  18. Comment made on December 23, 2017 by Bob Kozyak

    You give me hope Jorma. My son is still in the fire, has been for some 20 years. Your success with recovery is something I always think of when times with my son get tough. You my friend are a special person and a inspiration to so many. I’ve been to your ranch twice and I could tell how genuine you are, thanks so much for the gift of giving. Happy birthday and may you have many more!

  19. Comment made on December 23, 2017 by Bob Kelly

    Happy Birthday Jorma, all the best, good health..peace always

    Bob and Eileen

  20. Comment made on December 23, 2017 by George Henn

    Happy birthday Jorma. You had recently mentioned the Airplane shows at Convention Hall in Asbury Park. I remember your show there (performing as a trio under another name) in the summer of 79, and also a great triple bill there 21 years later; Hot Tuna, Ratdog and the Persuasions. Thanks for constantly playing in NJ, for decades!

  21. Comment made on December 23, 2017 by Mark D

    Happy birthday to you,
    Happy birthday to you,
    Happy birthday, dear Jorma,
    Happy birthday to you!
    Wishing you all the best through the year.

    Mark D

  22. Comment made on December 23, 2017 by Jim

    Happy B’day Jorma – we love you for all the music you’ve shared with us over the years and our appreciation increased when we see at FPR what a good hearted human, dad and husband you are, with that healthy sense of humor and perspective the world really needs more of – CHEERS! SKOL! MAZEL TOV! 2018 here we come – Jim

  23. Comment made on December 23, 2017 by eaglesteve

    As I’ve said…….. many times….many ways……….Happy Birthday to you!
    And many mo’

  24. Comment made on December 23, 2017 by Lori

    Your poetic writings always inspire me and so many others ! Wishing you the happiest of Birthdays and may you continue to keep on keeping on! Peace

  25. Comment made on December 23, 2017 by Nicola

    All the Best Jorma, and Merry Christmas to you and your family, from Italy

  26. Comment made on December 23, 2017 by Dan

    Lucky double 7’s, such a mazel. There is only one alternative to having birthdays, so I hope they keep coming for all of us. Celebrated my 61 last week end with a David Bromberg show at the Funky Biscuit down in Boca (and yes the biscuits are funky), the happy hour guitarist opened the evening with Barbeque King and Good Shepard. Nice way to start the evening, and for all your circles around the sun you are now part of the fabric of life and music. Congrats and enjoy many more, Dan and Julie

  27. Comment made on December 23, 2017 by mikie

    Happy B-day, so glad you had another one. We who knew Wolfie will sure miss his dry wit and we have the legacy of his fine little bar to keep his memory alive.
    You just can’t do much better than the Hope lodge, it’s even more splendid after it’s post-fire rebuild. Enjoy the day and thank you again for the great joy you and your family have brought to those of us who get to experience it. m

  28. Comment made on December 23, 2017 by Herman Stolk

    Happy Birthday Jorma and blessings to you,your family and your loved ones. May the Great Spirit guide you and guard you !!

  29. Comment made on December 23, 2017 by Walt Hetfield

    The River of Time…….I for one, am glad your river is still flowing……..Happy Birthday…….my prediction: you will meet your grandchildren. All the best Walt and Roz.

  30. Comment made on December 23, 2017 by Dead Head

    Enjoy this one, young man. Something tells me you will have several more. By the way, how do you like your steak cooked……rarely well?

  31. Comment made on December 23, 2017 by phil

    Beautiful Thoughts. Happy Birthday, and wishing you many happy and healthy days ahead!

  32. Comment made on December 23, 2017 by Joe from VA

    Happy 77th Birthday Jorma—May there be many more. First saw Hot Tuna on 22 November 1976 at the Fieldhouse at Franklin Pierce College in lil ol’ Rindge, NH. about 10 years ago, I asked you if you recalled the show (silly me)—you said “no—how was it.” I said “y’all rocked the rafters — blew the roof off the place.” You said “great!” with that look in your eyes that I only see when you and Jack reach those special “harmonic convergences” during a song in concert.

    November 1976–would have made you 36 Jorma—how time flys. Thanks for providing the soundtrack for my life brother. Cheers, Joe

  33. Comment made on December 23, 2017 by Greg

    Happy Birthday, Jorma!
    I guess this is the beginning of the next 77 years.

    Your Pal,

  34. Comment made on December 23, 2017 by mark k

    All the world’s a stage,

    And all the men and women merely players.

    They have their exits and their entrances,

    And one man in his time plays many parts.

  35. Comment made on December 23, 2017 by John R.

    Happy Birthday, Jorma, and best wishes for many, many more.

  36. Comment made on December 23, 2017 by HOGAN

    Dear Jorma

    The happiest of Birthdays to you…may all your wishes come true…
    Enjoy your day with your family and friends, could not want to celebrate it any other way, and that steak dinner too.
    Thanks again for all you do with bringing joy to so many people.

    Here’s to many more..

    Take Care

  37. Comment made on December 23, 2017 by johno

    Happy Birthday Jorma! You deserve all that comes your way, since you are such a kind and caring soul. I’m so happy you’ve found peace, happiness and love. That’s all we ever wanted back in the Sixties. May you continue to thrive. Sto Lat!

  38. Comment made on December 23, 2017 by Paul Caldwell

    Happy Birthday Jorma! Love ya man.

  39. Comment made on December 23, 2017 by wolf h

    Happy birthday, Jorma, best wishes from Germany and (using your own words:) Onwards!

  40. Comment made on December 22, 2017 by carey georgas

    Beautiful reflection. Awareness of the present moment is to be alive in the river of time. Relax and float downstream – no tellin’ how far you’ll ride. Peace.

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