Monday, July 6, 2015

Fare Thee Well

“Sometimes the light's all shinin' on me;
Other times I can barely see.
Lately it occurs to me
What a long, strange trip it's been.”
         “Truckin’,” Grateful Dead

Among the 71,000 fans enjoying the Grateful Dead’s final “Fare Thee Well” concert at Chicago’s Soldier Field, scene of the band’s last previous performance 20 years ago, were comedian Bill Murray, basketball guru Bill Walton, and nephew Bob Lane, who posted that he was “truly blessed and grateful to share this music.”  Joining Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, and Bill Kreutzmann on the historic evening were Trey Anastasio of Phish and keyboardist Bruce Hornsby.  “Truckin’ opened the second set, and “Not Fade Away” ended it.  Billboard’s Shirley Halperin wrote:
   A staple closer of Dead shows going back decades, it’s also the most participatory, with the crowd’s in sync claps helping to keep time.  On this final show, the chorus came with a minutes-long fadeout, as the crowd chanted “You know our love won’t fade away” in an effort to cajole the band back to the stage.
Back they came.  The final encores were “Touch of Grey” and “Attics of My Life,” the latter a Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter composition with these final lines:
In the secret space of dreams, where I dreaming lay amazed.
When the secrets all are told, and the petals all unfold.
When there was no dream of mine, you dreamed of me.

“Fare Thee Well” is not only a way of saying goodbye, as in the case of celebrating 50 years of Grateful Dead, but can mean doing something almost to perfection, as he did that to a fare-thee-well.  While a Grateful Dead concert without Jerry Garcia will never come close to perfection, hats off to the band for providing a truly nostalgic farewell.

For only eight dollars (a fraction of what stepfather Howard used to pay a podiatrist) I had my toenails clipped at Aqua Spa in Chesterton; as usual I was the only male customer – everyone else was there for a “pedi.”  I was hoping for the cute Asian teen but got a middle-aged man who only smiled when he received a three-dollar tip for his five minutes of labor.
 Steven and Leah
After Anne Balay and numerous helpers (including a former English teacher at East Chicago Central who changed her last name to Heart after marrying her female soul mate) packed a moving van that will deliver her possessions to an apartment on the Haverford campus, I took the three Balays and Emma’s friend Steven to Flamingos.  At lunch I mentioned turning down Dave Serynek’s boat outing offer, thinking he meant onto Lake Michigan; he had a small inland lake in mind.  Anne almost drowned while on her ex-spouse’s sailboat on Lake Michigan when a sudden storm arose.  I’m going to miss her.  So will IUN

Historian Jerry Pierce, also treated unjustly by Balay’s nemesis, posted: “So apparently this is the building where I give my talk on heresy.”  Rich Colvin replied: “That’s so freaking cool.  I miss your classes so much.  To this day I remember the ‘Hell’ course you and Professor (Gianluca) Di Muzio taught as my favorite class at IUN.”  Jerry responded: “It was a fun class, wasn’t it?  I think you were in the first incarnation of it.  Were you in the class where someone did a layered cake as their project?”  Years ago, David Malham cooked a medieval meal in a class taught by Rhiman Rotz, Jerry’s predecessor.

Tom and Darcey Wade had us over for grilled burgers, potato salad, and watermelon.  Because Dave and Angie’s dog Maggie is ultra-sensitive to fireworks, Toni lugged his kennel in the bathroom and put on soft music. At Wades we played pinochle with crazy rules that involved passing three cards between the partners who won the bid and awarding 30 points for a double pinochle (jack of diamonds, queen of spades).  In the final hand I needed only the ace of spades for a run, which Toni could have passed me, only Tom outbid me and then put down a spade run plus a hundred aces.  We were home by dusk, to Maggie’s relief. 

Tom, retired from teaching, has become an Uber cab driver.  Everything is done with a smart phone, so no money exchanges hands.  For driving two Grateful Dead fans to Soldier Field he received a ten-dollar tip.  He enjoys the social interaction as for the money and learning how Uber works.  Tom wants me to be his duplicate bridge partner, but he uses the Stayman convention that I have never played. I recommended that we play some hands together first.
 Carli Lloyd, who scored three goals against Japan
Cubbies won two of three from the Marlins, and the U.S. women’s World Cup soccer team routed Japan, 5-2.  I completed Ray Boomhower’s excellent biography of Hoosier journalist and diplomat John Bartlow Martin.  In my review for Indiana Magazine of History I’ll concentrate on his love-hate relationship with Indianapolis, where he spent his formative years.

IU History department chair Eric Sandweiss wrote that next February’s Indiana Association of Historians (IAH) conference will be in Bloomington and he “would like to see some folks from the Region presenting.”  I’m on the editorial board of the Indiana Magazine of History (IMH), which has its annual meeting then.  I replied: “I'll be sure to attend the IAH meeting next February, will try to talk colleague Chris Young into joining me, and will think about participating.  Right now I'm working on a book review for IMH of Boomhower's biography of John Bartlow Martin and on a speech to the Portage Historical Society entitled "Edgewater: Portage's Vanished Community" (all homes, including ours, became leasebacks within the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore that expired by 2010).  Maybe Eva Mendieta and John Fraire, recent IMH contributors, could participate in a session about Calumet Region Mexican Americans. I'll talk to John Hmurovic about submitting a proposal based on his IMH article on A.F. Knotts.”

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