I jolly well need two posts to adequately cover the month of August. This most awesome-ever month began with Jerry Garcia’s birthday on August the first as it always does. Then two days later, we made our way to Jerry Garcia Day in San Francisco’s McLaren Park to celebrate the man’s 72nd birthday with a proper Deadhead bash. Finding a parking space was NO problem at all even though a gazillion cars were strewn everywhere. (Om my gosh: Thank you parking gods and goddesses – You rock!)
The hubby decided to go ahead of me to score us ample space in the bleachers, while I valiantly plodded down the winding sand-filled path to the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater. The path seems to be growing longer every year. Or maybe it’s just moi? I dunno. Another lone woman passing from behind asked if she could take my photo. You know I said yes. It was the first of many “snapped” that day. Yow! I could not believe that my old man was seated next to the mother and son we usually sit next to. Last year, they were too late to even find a seat in the stands, while we eventually found seats in the front row reserved for people with mobility challenges. I can see why they are so labeled: As the crowd grows in size your toesies are stomped on so much, you’ll likely need a doctor for your injuries hence the possible need for permanent mobility seating. It’s a vicious cycle, I tell ya! Get there real early next year.
Every year I think that the crowd couldn’t possibly get any larger, and every year it just keeps expanding, man. People were literally hanging from tree branches. And if there were any way to install rafters outdoors, people would be hangin’ from them, too!
The best thing is that the music just keeps getting better, if that’s even possible. I guess it’s because the bands -on- hand play Grateful Dead tunes pretty much non-stop throughout the year. And play it with wild abandon, obviously.
My terrapin hat-topped hubby and I posed for SO many photos just like we did at the Haight-Ashbury Street Fair. In fact, I was asked to pose for a photo with a gentleman from Rock Med, a Deadicated group of health professionals who aid ailing fans at rock concerts. They have a booth at the Fair every year and I was recognized by one happy hippie healer.
We had a great time, we saw a lot of wonderful people we’ve met previously (see photo of Deadhead friend in pink Grateful Dead Bear costume –she’s amazing!), and shared our joy with fellow attendees. A few folks remembered seeing us on Haight Street, and said our colorful attire helped make their day. Thank you for that. There was also a major fan of Jerry’s who added a hefty dose of style to the festivities with her magical movement. This lovely woman elegantly twirled a beautifully decorated fan as she grooved to the music. (Please view her video.)
All in all, a groovy time was had by all in attendance. Alas, the tie-dyed couple we met at the Haight Fair was nowhere in sight. Unless the two were somehow hangin’ there amongst some tree branches?
I dunno, you never know.
It looked as though my dream of seeing Sir Paul McCartney at Candlestick Park –the site of The Beatles last concert ever – was not going to happen. Like, no way, Jose. It wasn’t that I had not attended any of his previous concerts in the San Francisco Bay Area. The hubby and I saw him in Berkeley with his late wife Linda & then band Wings, at Cal’s football stadium; we nearly slid down a rain-muddied hill at Shoreline Amphitheater (It was my birthday, man) to see him perform with the newly hip-again crooner Tony Bennett and other rock biggies. We even made the trek to San Francisco to see him perform with his current band of talented musicians at AT & T Park several years ago. I mean, it’s not like this might possibly be the last opportunity to see him, or that this place is considered sacred ground for many a fan of the Fab Four, or that they plan to demolish the stadium soon?
Na-a-a-ah. But the idea that I would not be present was becoming too much to bear. After all, I did see the Beatles in Chicago prior to their last performance at the Stick. I was even in the fourth row, baby, indoors where your hearing could be shattered. (Did you say something? I can’t quite hear you.) This fan remembers it well, even though it was long ago in ##!!Oops, oops, Mayday! Mayday!!## (Oh, you know when it was, don’t you?) I guess my carefully rehearsed gloom & doom routine worked on my old man: He got the tickets, I say. Yeah, we have no culinary choices but the cheapest eats probably for infinity, but all that lost gold bullion got us into Candlestick! It was totally worth it.
We arrived more than four hours before the concert was set to begin. Heck, I wanted to be at Candlestick even earlier. (I was all Beatled-up since early morn.) It was being held on Thursday evening and with thousands of people expected, it was prudent to avoid both the evening commute and concert traffic hell. (We did, however, thousands of fans were caught in a nightmarish traffic jam & never reached the concert.) For once the hubby reluctantly took my word, and we arrived at Candlestick practically stress-free –yeah, right.
Somehow I believed that nearly everyone would be attired in their best Beatles attire. Sort of like I imagine that everyone in attendance at the Haight-Ashbury Street Fair will dress like the hubby and I. Ha! Not that many make an effort. After all, this was a major celebration for Sir Paul & Beatles fans alike. How come people don’t even try to look festive, huh? Why? Why? Why don’t they try just a teensy bit?
Well, your FUNcillitator and her old man always make an effort. It’s just who we are, I guess. Of course, the hubby did NOT put on all the attire I set-out for him. Bummer. What can ya do about it? I began to put a groovy outfit together from the moment I knew we had the tickets! That’s how much this event meant to me.
Apparently, the local & not-so local paparazzi took notice of moi & hubby. I dunno, it could be that the press was watching when the infamous wind at the Stick blew the back of my tie-dye skirt way-up in the air! I must have caused a stir at the Stick, because it then seemed like newspaper columnists and photographers appeared out of nowhere. I found myself peppered (these reporters were obviously well-seasoned) with questions about my Beatles cred, my age (classified information), and what seemed like a gazillion more things they thought they needed to know. Peter Fimrite, a reporter from the San Francisco Chronicle started the (at-least) twenty questions & his story was featured in the paper the next morning. I’m in it, baby! Please Google Kathleen Bender, Paul McCartney and prepare to be amazed. Try Henry Bender, Paul McCartney for a photo of my old man which was printed in the SF Examiner next day.
A reporter/photographer from the Sacramento Bee newspaper took a special interest in yours truly. He was nearly on the ground taking photos of the hubby and I as we made our way to the stadium entrance hours before the show was to take place. He got a very close, close up of my chest. He obviously wanted to focus on the myriad Beatle buttons pinned to my Union Jack scarf. (He could have been looking up my skirt from the angle he used in still another shot.) The parking lot was swarming with paparazzi (now I have a taste of what Hollywood celebs endure) wanting to take our picture. And the photographer from the Associated Press did, assuring that his photo would be on news sites world-wide. We were in the London Daily Mail, I say. Can’t do better than that, as we are not (yet!) rock royalty.
The concert and Sir Paul can only be described as magical. I sang along with the majority of the many awesome songs, although I wasn’t certain that I would survive our little snack from the Stick: The hubby returned with extra garlic, garlic fries and an Irish coffee for me to drink. It’s odd that I didn’t spot any Leprechauns after such a concoction. But the magic in the Park was so thick, I didn’t need them. Lots of great photos for y’all, however, but there is not even one video to view. None, nada. Yeah, the hubby “accidentally” erased some absolutely fab footage of Paul – complete with fireworks – in order to take more pictures on our vacay to the Southwest. You’ll probably enjoy them, but at what cost?
I let him live, only because he bought the tickets for the most amazing show EVER held at Candlestick Park…except, maybe for the final concert the Beatles EVER did in ##!!Oops, oops, Mayday! Mayday!! ##.
So glad I made it to THIS one!
My dear friend Jerrie was so up to having us visit her. After all, we had not been together in many a moon. OK, she does live in the Four Corners area of the country, a place where the four states of New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Arizona intersect, and her home is located in Aztec, New Mexico. That’s over 1,000 miles from Hayward, California. Jerrie has been dealt a heavy hand in life with many health challenges to her body/mind/psyche/spirit, yet remains an inspiration to all. This gal has mucho courage & a massive amount of spunk. We had to see her. Visiting with her pets was an added bonus. She has two adorable Scottish “Westies,” and an 18 year old kitty cat. She refers to these special animals as her “children,” and they are living the good life.
They get complementary doggie-sized cones at the local ice cream shop. In fact, I had my very first green-chili ice cream sundae at this shop. Yes, green chilies? Uh-huh. With lotza nuts on top. I had recently heard of the Hatch Green Chile which is roasted over a hot fire in a rotating basket, and I felt compelled to try & eat some. Aye! Aye! Aye! I sampled green chili quesadillas, green chilies with an American Indian Taco, and a green chili burrito. Yum. Some people like eating the red chili as well, but my ancestry is Irish so naturally I wanted green.
Speaking of Irish, I found out about an unusual eating and drinking place in nearby Farmington, N.M. It’s a fun spot that my friend has been to many times: Clancy’s Irish Cantina & Sushi Bar, so you know I had to go! They have food fancied by Native Americans (many in the house that evening), Mexican & Irish dishes besides the sushi. It was kind of fun, not to mention tasty, to eat Fish ‘n’ Chips (Irish cut potatoes) and quaff a refreshing Margarita along with it. Still wasn’t seeing any Leprechauns, but maybe they don’t like living in the Southwest. The heat, you know. Google Clancy’s and enjoy the lilting Irish bagpipe music on their website.
We visited the Four Corners Monument on a nearby Navajo reservation, which I highly recommend. Our GPS had a crosshair on it showing we were at the intersection of four states. We stood in the medallion that puts YOU in four states at once! (Actually, five as you will likely be in an altered state as well.) Then you can shop for native crafts or eat a Navajo taco or try some frybread. We viewed “Shiprock” from our automobile. This rock formation is aptly named. We also soaked up ancestral spirits at the Aztec Ruins. This national monument is a Heritage Site that dates to 1100 A.D. The tribes who once lived there were Pueblo Indians, not Aztec. Somebody goofed.
We had an awesome time with our dear friend and her “children.” Her home is one of the oldest in Aztec, built in the 1870’s and filled with her creativity and charm. Oh, and can she ever cook. She lovingly prepared a most delicious dinner for us one evening. The hubby insisted we treat her to meals at local eateries. It was a joy & laugh-filled vacay with her. It’s just a frickin’ long drive, man. But we will want to do it again, right, Henry?
Peace, love, abundant joy & lots & lots of laughter,
STAY TUNED FOR PART TWO!