I started blogging when my wife was battling cancer and we knew it was terminal. I quit work to be home with her, and to occupy my time I started to write. What time we had to share was more important than any amount of future financial security I might have after she was gone.
That lack of finances and my own weariness combined to find me at another crossroads, and I have decided to do what many have asked me to do in the past: tell you part of my life story. I hope some will now understand where I’m coming from.
Recent world and personal events have led me to this day. Actually, a lifetime has led me to this day in the last week of the eleventh month of the year 2015. But the beginning was sometime in the spring of 1966.
It was May when I first drove the winding roads through the deepest parts of one of the most beautiful states in our country, West Virginia. The Vietnam War was raging, and young men and women were dying. Protesters were marching and going to jail, and some of them were dying as well. It was a time of almost diabolical contrast, from the killing fields of Vietnam to the loving fields of San Francisco. Woodstock was yet to be. United States President Lyndon Johnson was saying that we should stay in Vietnam until communist aggression was stopped there. US troops totaled 190,000, and 20,000 Buddhists marched in demonstrations against the policies of the military government in South Vietnam.
Driving that back-country road with the beauty of spring coming to life, I was feeling far removed from all that was going on in the “outside world.” But I was about as not removed as a person could be. I was, in the words of John Fogerty, “a fortunate one.” I had already refused to take part in the safe life, having publicly burned my draft card. I had refused induction into the Vietnam War, after forcing the Selective Service to reclassify me from “fortunate” (otherwise known as 3-A, that is, a family hardship deferment) [What Hardship? you ask] and a college deferment, to boot, which meant I was never going to Vietnam. Except I was not going to sit silently and watch others die while I took the easy way out.
As I drove that beautiful country road, I thought about the day I was supposed to step forward and accept enlistment but instead stepped backward and said “No, thank you.” I laughed as I remembered the Sergeant’s face, which looked like it was about to explode. Prison, no doubt, was in my future as it was part of my plan to accept no deal “they” would offer, but first I was going to have a little fun and lead them, the FBI, and a few others on a merry chase. There might be more on those adventures in the future, but this is about the wonder and beauty of being alone and the ability to sink into my mind, leaving behind the sounds of the city and the normal rush and noise of the day-to-day world.
To get where I was going there would be a few more miles on paved road, the last few covered on foot, and there was no cabin. That would need to be built before the first cold spell on my mountaintop.
(To be continued)
I might say more about this blog in the podcast, but there will be definitely some rock-and-roll history, music, news, and more on the shores of Rambling Harbor. Join me there.