Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Yesterday, December 7, 2020 was Vanessa’s and my thirty second wedding anniversary. One has to wonder sometimes if there is any reason for why things evolve the way they do or of Brownian motion is the sum of all things. In the last analysis I’m not sure that it matters one way or the other although it would be nice if life’s moments were to fit neatly into a box.

Since they don’t it’s probably at the very least a minor miracle that couples not only stay together but that they do so out of not only love but unforeseen commitment. At the end of each day the roll call of events is a testament to almost divine synchronicity. With this in mind I am so grateful that my family is intact. The fourteen year addition of our daughter Izze is another one of those amazing blessings that surround our lives with light. How good does it have to get?

There was another milestone for me when I woke this morning. Chuck Yeager passed yesterday at 97. When I was a kid I thought I wanted to be a lot of things. I looked up to my grandfather Ben who was a research bacteriologist. ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ I might be asked. ‘I want to be a scientist like my grandfather,’ was the reply. My grandfather had all kinds of cool looking stuff he would show me in his lab. Microscopes, exotic glass things, tubing, stainless steel items… I guess I figured when I got older all that stuff would somehow come to me and then I’d be a scientist. Reality wakes you from your dreams like it or not and still at that young age it became apparent that to be a scientist was more than possessing gadgets. There was math involved and more.

It was not for me.

One of the other careers that was not for me was to be a famous pilot. Growing up in the 40’s what kid my age didn’t want to be a pilot. To soar above the earth at unimaginable speeds doing unimaginable things… well, a lofty set of goals indeed.

Back in the 40’s I was growing up in the D.C. area where my dad was still working at the Department of Labor. The District Of Columbia, city of museums, had much to offer for a kid like me. The crown jewel was the Smithsonian air museum. Now it is the National Air and Space Museum. Back then it was less than that and in a way more. I took the bus and the trolley from Chevy Chase circle down to 600 Independence Ave. by myself  which in itself was an exciting feat for a kid who wasn’t even ten years old yet.

The Bell X-1 was there hanging from the ceiling. Chuck Yeager had just broken the sound barrier for first time and even though it was kept secret at the time ultimately Chuck was publicly honored and the Bell X-1 was hung for all to see. For some reason my house of memories has a room in which I actually saw Chuck Yeager at the Museum, but I probably just imagined it for so long that I came to believe it. In any case, in an era when I would write to aircraft companies and request photos of their cool planes to hang on the wall, my photo of the X-1 in my bedroom was as exciting as imagining a trip to the International Space Station.

I remember picking up my friend Michael Falzarano once at the Yeager International Airport in Charleston, West Virginia. Yeager’s memory alive and well in Charleston was a fine thing to behold.

So, December 7, 2020… Pearl Harbor, Chuck Yeager’s passing and Vanessa’s and my 32nd wedding anniversary. In the last analysis today, obviously the latter is foremost in my mind, but they are all in the mix in the heart of this old guitar player.

Happy anniversary Vanessa. You are not only an angel, you are my angel. And Chuck, rest in peace. You were a part of my life and in a way you still are!

PS On another note, does anyone know which Quarantine Concert Jack and I played Things That Might Have Been. I know we did it, but I screwed up the set list… I think. Help appreciated and thanks in advance. ( That would be in the most recent shows Jack and I did.)


  1. Comment made on December 12, 2020 by Tom Spiro

    Happy anniversary to you both! Also, speaking of milestones, happy big time birthday! Thank you for adding so much joy to the lives of countless people (especially me and mine). Thank you for your irreverence and lightheartedness, for your talent and creativeness, for your willingness to share yourself with others, for your ability to break new ground and leading by example. And thank you for just being a blast to watch, hear, and learn from. Thanks Mr. K! We love you! Peace.

  2. Comment made on December 11, 2020 by Dale Radeleff

    Congratulations on your 32nd anniversary!!! May the two of you have many more

  3. Comment made on December 10, 2020 by Brendan Carroll

    Good guy gets the girl.

    Visited Nat Air Mus for first time last year and had goosebumps whole time in Wright Bros room. After the Wrights, Corrigan was my aviation hero. as a boy I read his story and saw him on local news a few times when he flew into LGA on anniversaries. He made us laugh with in his leather flight jacket and bushy red eyebrows over innocent eyes, still claiming he was surprised to see Ireland a day after leaving NY.

    Did your folks know you slipped into DC at nine years? That took a pair. Don’t tell us you used Wrong Way’s alibi.

    Casady and Kaukonen met Col. Aldrin, as I recall (I know too much about your life).
    That must have been a day to remember. Does he like your genre of music? Perhaps he thinks it’s not for him, but you’re very good at it.

  4. Comment made on December 10, 2020 by Steve P

    Happy anniversary to you and Vanessa! I remember seeing you and Jack on your anniversary in Geneva, NY in 2011. It was a scary time and security was tight at the venue. It was my first time seeing the Hot Tuna duo and you helped us forget about the madness, even if was temporary. Your Quarantine Concerts do the same for me now.

  5. Comment made on December 10, 2020 by carey georgas

    Expanding blues horizons. Listening to Bluesville on Sirius some lately. First, I get to hearfor the first time Rev. Gary Davis do the “Hesitation Blues” his own self. Picked it up on the first chord, and listened in rapt rerverie as he played and sang. Then yesterday, I hop in the car and along comes Blind Boy Fuller singing a song called “Get Your Yas Yas Out My Door”. Well, I don’t need to do no ‘splainin’ to the initiated, but even if you’re not, I’m thinking you can guess the tune. How deep that ‘Ol River runs that carries the blues as it cascades down through the ages.

  6. Comment made on December 10, 2020 by eaglesteve

    Happy Hanukkah to the Kaukonens and Tuna Nation

  7. Comment made on December 9, 2020 by Eric C

    Happy anniversary Jorma and Vanessa! Like Jack said to you Jorma, don’t let that one get away!

  8. You and I are on the same page as far kid dreams and flying. My heroes in the sixties weren’t musicians. Music was something I heard on the radio. Astronauts and pilots were my role models. We flew often when I was very young in the early sixties. I can recall being taken into the cockpit of a United Dc-8 in 1962 or 63 and my 3 year old eyes were as big as saucers checking it all out. My dad would take me to the old Newark Airport just to watch the planes from the observation deck during the prop to jet transition era. Many years later when worked for UPS our center was right next to QVC in West Chester PA. I caught Alan Shepard on his way in the parking lot to his rental car. He had been hawking astronaut souvenirs on TV. Didn’t ask for an autograph – just shook his hand. What a thrill! The first American in space and one of twelve people to walk on the moon. It was like being elementary school aged again. Oh and Happy Anniversary!

  9. Comment made on December 8, 2020 by gregg


  10. Comment made on December 8, 2020 by Brian Doyle

    40 years ago a 40 year old John Lennon was murdered by a man with an ultra twinkle in his eye…

  11. Happy Anniversary Jorma and Vanessa. Pete is correct you played Things That Might’ve Been in Quarantine #23

  12. Comment made on December 8, 2020 by Ed

    Beautiful post, Jorma. Between the music and what you say on the blog, I should be paying you as my mental health caregiver. You and the crew have done so much for me. Thank you.

  13. Comment made on December 8, 2020 by Pete

    Happy Anniversary. I think the last time you and Jack played Things That Might’ve Been was at Quarantine #23 on 10/17. Looks like it is in the set list in the blog already.

  14. Happy Anniversary, and thanks once again for the gift of your music and the ongoing Saturday night shows.

  15. Comment made on December 8, 2020 by Richard K

    Mazol Tov to you and Vanessa…May you have many many more…

  16. Comment made on December 8, 2020 by Bill from Wisconsin

    Great memories, Jorma. It’s like the joy that comes from going through a box of old photos. We’re finding that doing that, in these stressful days, is a good elixir. And, it also points out how the “river of time” flows by so fast. It was 40 years ago today that John Lennon was murdered. And, a good day to listen to his song “All My Life”, honoring the past, and “Imagine” honoring the future.

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