Myocardial Infarction

Myocardial Infarction. That’s a fancy name for heart attack. I have had two of these, the most recent on January 28-29, and I OH SO DO NOT want to suffer any more of them, but is that possible? More in a moment, here’s Wikipedia…

“Myocardial infarction (MI) or acute myocardial infarction (AMI), commonly known as a heart attack, occurs when blood flow stops to a part of the heart causing damage to the heart muscle. The most common symptom is chest pain or discomfort which may travel into the shoulder, arm, back, neck, or jaw. Often it is in the center or left side of the chest and lasts for more than a few minutes. The discomfort may occasionally feel like heartburn. Other symptoms may include shortness of breath, nausea, feeling faint, a cold sweat, or feeling tired. About 30% of people have atypical symptoms, with women more likely than men to present atypically. Among those over 75 years old, about 5% have had an MI with little or no history of symptoms. An MI may cause heart failure, an irregular heartbeat, or cardiac arrest.
Most MIs occur due to coronary artery disease. Risk factors include high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, lack of exercise, obesity, high blood cholesterol, poor diet, and excessive alcohol intake, among others. The mechanism of an MI often involves the complete blockage of a coronary artery caused by a rupture of an atherosclerotic plaque. MIs are less commonly caused by coronary artery spasms, which may be due to cocaine, significant emotional stress, and extreme cold, among others. A number of tests are useful to help with diagnosis, including electrocardiograms (ECGs), blood tests, and coronary angiography. An ECG may confirm an ST elevation MI if ST elevation is present. Commonly used blood tests include troponin and less often creatine kinase MB.”

Numero Uno

My first heart attack occurred on May 19, 2004. I had the classic symptoms for five days leading up to it but, brain surgeon that I am, I tried to ignore these symptoms, hoping that they would just go away. They did not.

They began on Friday, May 15. As usual, I went out for my daily walk and could get no more than about 1/8 of a mile and I became winded and felt I could not go on. I had slight chest pains and shortness of breath. Back to the house.

Saturday found me at a Perfect Circle concert with my son Luke. I had chest pains walking to the venue and during the concert so I spent much of the time sitting in the concourse and sipping beer while my mind entertained thoughts like news headlines which would read, “Acworth Man Dies of Heart Attack at Rock Concert”.

Sunday I attended a CD/Record show in the ballroom of a nasty hotel in Atlanta. I picked up three or four CD’s, Grateful Dead and Gov’t Mule, I think, and deceived myself about the minor chest pains and shortness of breath I was experiencing. Really?

Monday was uneventful. Tuesday I went to the nearby Stone Age Tattoo parlor to sit for Mike Bargeron as he filled in a great deal of the psychedelic back tatt I was trying to have completed. I was there, hunched over, for around three hours. I got home and, again, made an effort at my walk. I got almost nowhere as the pains returned. It was if something heavy was sitting on my chest.

I crept home, went to the basement to get some files from my car and trudged back up the stairs. I almost fainted and had to grab the railing. I made it to my office, sat down, bent over to place the files on the floor and became very light-headed.

I FINALLY realized this was going nowhere and I picked up the phone to make an appointment with my doctor. The phone attendant asked me what my symptoms were and I told her. She said ,”Sir, you need to hang up the phone and dial 911. This is an emergent situation.” I did.

The person who answered at 911 said that they would be sending out the ambulance. I asked if the fire truck had to come with them. I said I didn’t want them to turn on the siren and make a big fuss in the neighborhood. They replied that they would do their best.

I was embarrassed. Complete stupidity, no?IMG_2678

So, here they all came, no siren, and they loaded me into the ambulance, gave me aspirin and nitroglycerin, hooked me up to an EKG and headed for Kennestone Hospital in Marietta. I was feeling fine and, now, even more embarrassed. I called Melodye and told her where I was headed. She had suggested that I do this as soon as everything started a few days back. Men!

At the emergency room I spent several hours on a gurney, waiting on a room to open up. I watched the whirl of activity in the ER with a bit of trepidation. My thinking was that there is just too much room for human error in a situation like this.

A cardiologist stopped by and told me that there was about a 90% chance I had/was having some type of heart event. I was unusually calm.

I was finally put in ICU and hooked up to a monitor while a blood thinner drip was attached to my arm in the form of an IV. I couldn’t go to sleep very well as I thought there was a possibility that I might not wake up Wednesday morning. I was administered a heart catheterization which showed that I was 99% blocked in my main artery, the Left Anterior Descending artery. The doctor told me they needed to rush me to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Atlanta for an angioplasty, as they were not equipped to handle that procedure there in Marietta. That has since changed. More on that later.

Ole Mel climbed into the front seat of the ambulance with the driver and I layed down in the back as the other EMT gave me aspirin and did another EKG, which showed nothing. EKG’s are useless.

They rushed me into the OR and, almost immediately, began the angioplasty. I was sedated but awake. There was a screen by the table and I, drowsily, observed as the process began. Well, maybe halfway into the procedure I began to sweat profusely, “like a whore in church”, as I told one of the nurses when it was over, and lose consciousness.

It turns out that my 99% went to 100% closed in that main artery, I threw a clot, my blood pressure crashed to almost zero, and I almost met our Lord Jesus Christ face to face. During this time I thought about my grandchild, who was scheduled for birth in November, my family and my Auburn Tigers. I was expecting great things on The Plains. I was not disappointed as they went 13-0 and won it all. You will never convince me that that group was not the best in the country. They were.

I went to CCU for one night and then to a regular room for one more night and I was dismissed on Friday, May 21st.

Everything went splendidly until Thursday, January 28th, 2016.

MI Number Two

On that evening Me and Paul were enjoying a typical Thursday evening together in our den. We had a good dinner, a couple of beverages and all was moving along swimmingly.

I began to have, what I thought, were gas pains, I mean SEVERE gas pains. 8 on a 1 to 10. I really did think it was gas but I had never had it so brutally. Pain radiated into my jaws, arms, fingers and all the way to the top of my skull. I took some prilosec and a nitrostat , which I had NEVER had to take before, drank a few slugs of Diet Pepsi and, eventually, all was well.

Until the next afternoon.

I love to go to matinees by myself on Friday afternoons. If the movie is especially good I’ll take Mel back with me at a later date. About an hour had elapsed when I began to have pains just like the night before. It was then that I knew. I have to call friggin’ 911.

I was weak but made my way to the cashier at the front and asked for an aspirin. I was out in the fresh air and the cool breeze felt good. A manager came out with some Advil and Tylenol. No aspirin. I took a nitro.

It was then that I called 911, much to my chagrin, and the phone attendant kept me on the line talking until the ambulance arrived, with TWO firetrucks no less! Sirens a blarin’. I was embarrassed.

Well, they got me in the ambulance, gave my four baby aspirin and hooked me up to an EKG, which again showed no abnormalities. USELESS!

I called Mellie and gave her the news. that I was on my way to Kennestone Hospital, about 7 minutes away.

It was almost twelve years since Numero Uno, heart attacks deserve caps, and I had never even experienced a twinge since then.

I got checked in pretty darn quickly and they put me in an observation room before too terribly long. I talked to doctors and I talked to nurses, who were so helpful and kind. They, eventually, came to the conclusion that my blood enzymes were positive and slightly elevated. They thought if I had suffered a heart attack that the enzymes would be more highly elevated if an MI had, indeed, taken place.IMG_2679

They debated whether or not to give me a stress test, and if that showed trouble, then do a heart cath. Me, our wonderful pastor, his equally wonderful wife and Paul thought that odd. Look at my history! Look at my family history (stroke, quadruple bypass, leaking aortic valve and an aneurysm)! Daddy had all but the stroke, which befell my mother.

Common sense did prevail and they decided to do a cath… MONDAY MORNING! The doctor said they only do caths on the weekend if it is an emergency. Then what the hell was this?

Fine.

Fast forward to Monday. After two nights in the new cardiac unit, state-of-the-art, and some good visits and poor food, it was showtime.

If you have seen any of this on Facebook, posted by my goddess Mel, or heard about it at all, you know what happened. I was, again, 99% blocked in the same artery. I do love to live on the edge, I suppose. Peer over into the abyss. Not really but that’s the way it’s gone for me.

Two stents later, one inside the old/clogged one and one more new one, I found myself in recovery.

I DID have a heart attack but there was NO damage. Hallelujah! Same as Numero Uno.

A minor detail. There remains a 40-45% blockage between the stents and the heart. They can only do three at once. That’s got to be dealt with. My follow-up appointment is (now, WAS) Monday, February 15th (2016). We shall see. There are also a couple of other spots, in different arteries, that have a 10-25% blockage. That’s for sissies.

What is the moral of the story? I don’t really know. “Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we shall die!” I don’t think so, although it is a tempting option.

I’d say do your best with the light that has been shed on you. All things in moderation, including moderation 😉

When one is faced with a crisis such as this it truly puts things into perspective. In my case, and most of yours as well, I am exceptionally blessed. God has been exceedingly good to me. I have the dearest of family and friends. The prayers and outpouring of love has been ever so humbling.

I enjoy life and I enjoy it to the fullest. Simply put, I love living. My hope is that I have many more years of doing just that. But NONE of us is guaranteed ANYTHING.

I have Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) and it ain’t going nowhere.

Life is so very short. Get your priorities right. Only you can decide what those priorities are.

And this. “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:34-35 NLT

Grace and peace.

 

 

 

 

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Grateful, But Not Dead Yet

Well folks, 2015 is in our rear-view mirror and 2016 is upon us. As the Grateful Dead ponders the passage of time in their song, Uncle John’s Band, “Oh, oh but I want to know, where does the time go?”

Beats me. And when you’re well to the north side of of six decades on this spinning blue marble, that line rings ever so true. I’m running as fast as I can, but I often feel like I can’t keep up. ZOOOOOOMMMMM!!! Collecting Social Security? WHOOOOSSSSHHHH!!! Looking down the barrel of sixty-five turns-around-the-horn in a mere twenty months?

Wot hoppened?

Life did, that’s what. Fine. Carpe diem! Rock ‘N Roll, Mick! I’ve tried to enjoy every minute of it and I plan to keep on doing just that!

Now, let’s take a quick glance back at 2015, and Auburn, before we turn the page to 2016.

It truly does seem like yesterday that we were about to make our way to Tampa for the Outback Bowl between Auburn and Wisconsin. Auburn was flush with promise. Will Muschamp had just been hired as the defensive coordinator on The Plains and things were looking up.

That bowl game, in hindsight, was a portent of things to come. Daniel Carlson, a superb placekicker, bounced a field goal attempt off the goalpost, at Raymond James Stadium in overtime, and the Tigers found itself on the losing end of its first bowl game of 2015. They will play their SECOND bowl game of the year in the Birmingham Bowl. The opponent is the Memphis Tigers. That game is either in progress, or has been completed, by the time you read this.

Then came recruiting. Gus and company landed an excellent class. Check it out!

The A-Day game, in mid-April, gave Auburn fans more reason to hope as Jeremy Johnson, Sean White, Duke Williams, Roc Thomas, and company lit it up! Woo Hooo!

SEC Media Days ushered in a blast of unabated enthusiasm for Auburn Tiger fans all across this spinning globe. They were picked, by the media, to win the SEC and advance to the College Football Playoff. I was, and many of you were, so stoked by this time that we could hardly contain ourselves. Auburn’s in the top five and Jeremy Johnson is getting Heisman hype!

GULP! We know, all too well, what transpired next and continued throughout the entire autumn.

Mediocrity. In spades.

So, where does that leave us? In Birmingham, that’s where.

I was once told, by an attendant at what was the old Gulf station at College and Glenn, in Auburn, when my old Pontiac Astre broke down, “You have a blew gasket.” That was, of course, spoken to me. I knew my gasket wasn’t the color blue. I knew it was busted, broken, kaput.

And as I peer at 2016 through my orange and blue crystal ball, I’m hoping this thing ain’t “blew”.

I believe Gus will get his bus up and running MUCH more smoothly than it ran in 2015, when it sputtered and spewed and belched forth six regular season wins.

I think he will locate a very good defensive coordinator that will, hopefully, give us the continuity and stability he is looking for.

I think he will come up with an exciting dual threat quarterback, John Franklin?, that will get the offense back in the mode Gus has become known for with his HUNH.

The Tigers have a good nucleus of returning players to build around in 2016. They include Braden Smith, Alex Kozan, Austin Golson, Robert Leff, and Kaleb Kim on the O line. Will Shon Coleman and Avery Young go pro?

The D line should return Carl Lawson (PLEASE!), Gimel President, Raashed Kennion, Maurice Swain, Dontavius Russell, Devaroe Lawrence, and Price Tega Wanogho, among others.

Linebackers? Tre’ Williams, Deshaun Davis, Jeff Holland, and Cameron Toney will make up the core.

How about the secondary? Carlton Davis (BOOM!), T.J. Davis, Josh Holsey, Stephen Roberts, Nick Ruffin, Johnathan “Rudy” Ford, Tim Irvin, Tray Matthews, and Montavious Atkinson.

And back to the offense. The aforementioned John Franklin, Tyler Queen, Jeremy Johnson, Sean White and, the incoming Woody Barrett, are all potential starters at quarterback.

The running back position looks great with Jovon Robinson, Peyton Barber, Roc Thomas, and Kerryon Johnson helping to make up that group.

Jason Smith, Tony Stevens, Stanton Truitt, Marcus Davis, Darius Slayton, Ryan Davis, and Gray King will return at wide receiver.

The kicking duties are in excellent hands (or legs?) with Daniel Carlson and Kevin Phillips coming back.

I expect the tight end and H-back/fullback roles to perform much better with some experience and added talent.

All the guys, just mentioned, were known quantities, for the most part. There are redshirt and incoming freshman that will bolster the talent levels, as well.

What else do the last couple of days in 2015 and the New Year of 2016 hold for those of us who are rabid college football fans.

I have Alabama over Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl and Oklahoma over Clemson in the Orange Bowl.

What will happen in Glendale? Will Nick Saban win one more Natty at Alabama and depart T-Town? Or maybe retire? Possibly?

Who will be the early favorites for the 2016 crown? Clemson, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Alabama, and Notre Dame, it appears.

The SEC West? That has to be Bama. The SEC East? I like Tennessee.

Ohio State should get a strong challenge from Michigan and, especially, Michigan State in the Big 10.

Florida State looks set for the long haul in the ACC, after Clemson.

You have to stay with Okie State, TCU, and Baylor to continue to be strong in the Big 12.

The PAC-12? Wide open. USC, Oregon, UCLA, Stanford, and, my dark horse, the Washington Huskies, should all contend.

A fly-in-the-ointment? Houston? Boise State?

And what about the Auburn Tigers? You’ve been given a look at some solid returning talent and there are some studs in the 2016 signing class. Only time will tell. But, playing in the SEC West is absolutely brutal.

Where do we find victories on that next schedule?

The Tigers open with my pre-season numero uno, Clemson… in Auburn…on my birthday. I’m not of the mind to pencil that one in as a win.

Let’s go with victories over Arkansas State, Texas A&M, LA-Monroe, Mississippi State (bye, Dak), Vanderbilt, and Alabama A&M. That’s six. I have LSU (in Auburn), and Arkansas (also in Auburn) as, at least, 50/50 shots. Clemson, Ole Miss, Georgia, and Alabama? You simply cannot pencil wins in for any of those tough ones. But, I do believe Auburn will have a chance to win any game they play in, with an 8-4 record a good possibility. Anything else will be gravy. Well, bring on the turkey and dressing ’cause we have that gravy awaiting on The Plains.

Happy New Year and War Damn Eagle!

Consider the Lizard (Bird 6:28)

This title was ‘adapted’ from Matthew 6:28.

“What is a lizard?
Lizards are part of a group of animals known as reptiles. They are most closely related to snakes. In fact, some lizards, called sheltopusiks, look like snakes because they have no legs! Many lizards today resemble the ancient reptiles of the dinosaur era. Their ancestors appeared on Earth over 200 million years ago.

In general, lizards have a small head, short neck, and long body and tail. Unlike snakes, most lizards have moveable eyelids. There are currently over 4,675 lizard species, including iguanas, chameleons, geckos, Gila monsters, monitors, and skinks.” Taken from the San Diego Zoo site.

See more at: http://animals.sandiegozoo.org/animals/lizard#sthash.uyqKlMK1.dpuf

The lizard I am most familiar with is the chameleon. This is the lizard I grew up with in southwest Alabama. Chameleons are fascinating creatures. The primary reason for this is that they change colors depending on where they are stationed. It appears to me that they largely come in bright green and a dull brownish hue, but I am somewhat color blind in distinguishing these tints, so don’t take it form me.

I took my daily walk at midday and just returned a few minutes ago. As I had just turned from one street down a nearby cul-de-sac, I spotted this chameleon, his skin darkened from hurrying along the pavement, dart into some thick grass along the right-of-way.

The first thing that popped into my mind were the words, consider the lizard. That’s what prompted me to write this blog. So here I sit.

Doors lead singer, Jim Morrison, was known as ‘The Lizard King’.

“Jim Morrison wrote a poem called “The Celebration of the Lizard” that first apeared on the sleve of The Doors’ album “Waiting For The Sun.” The poem contained the line: “I am the Lizard King, I can do anything.” Fans thought Morrison was refering to himself instead of another persona Morrison created as the fictional author. The nickname stuck, and, later, the band added music and the poem was performed several times live.” This info was taken from the ‘Fun Trivia’ site.

Now back to the chameleon. “The Carolina anole (Anolis carolinensis) is an arboreal lizard found primarily in the southeastern United States and some Caribbean islands. Other common names include the green anole, American anole and red-throated anole. It is also sometimes referred to as the American chameleon due to its ability to change color from several brown hues to bright green (though it is not a chameleon).”
Wikipedia

How about that! This blog is both fun and educational!

We used to catch these lizards and ask them to “show us your money bag!” The reptile would soon produce a red, almost dime-shaped sac from under it’s neck. I was told this was an instinctual defense-like mechanism which appeared when the lizard felt threatened.

So those rascals are actually ‘red-throated anoles.’ Sounds like a bird to me.

Our dogs, particularly Layla (the female of our Bichon Frise trio), love to hunt and chase lizards. Red-throated anoles love hanging around our back door, deck and air-conditioning unit. In the warm months Layla cannot wait to go outside in search of the ‘chameleons’.

The dogs also love to chase each other and play ‘king of the mountain’ on our bed. This is called the ‘Bichon Blitz’ or ‘Bichon Buzz’. They will also race around the the kitchen, down the short hallway and around the den, barking and biting and slipping all over the faux hardwood floors. This is very entertaining.

Layla’s middle name is Lucinda. Layla is for obvious reasons if you are a music fan and know the popular Derek and the Dominos tune. Lucinda is for Lucinda Williams, who I think is one of the greatest singer-songwriters out there today, male or female. Her album ‘Car Wheels On A Gravel Road’ is an absolutely brilliant piece of work.

Layla’s brother/litter-mate is Lesh Zappa. Phil Lesh is the bassist of the Grateful Dead. Need I explain Zappa? I didn’t think so. Lesh is a very sweet little dog who loves other animals and children. But Lesh is also cursed with bladder stones an a pinched nerve so he often keeps his distance from people. His nickname is Ed.

Then there is Hunter. Hunter’s name comes from my favorite author, Hunter S. Thompson and Robert Hunter, the primary lyricist of many Grateful Dead songs. Hunter’s middle name is Garcia. Need I explain Garcia? I didn’t think so. Hunter (10) is two years younger than Lesh and Layla and is, basically, a spoiled rotten scoundrel. He whines and barks for dinner. He whines and barks for his bone/chicken rawhide stick, which is dessert. And he whines if you stop petting him. Hunter usually wins the ‘king of the mountain’ game.

Melodye with an ‘e’, Miss LeCroy, Paul, or whichever moniker you choose, LOVES HER BABIES. If you don’t like her babies, then she, probably, is not going to like you. She bathes them, trims their faces, doctors their ears and brushes their teeth. She really dotes on those little, white, furry rascals.

These puppies are not our first Bichons. We had our first one from 1990-2003. He name was Misie. Misie was given to us by Harold and Emma when we lived in Sumner County, TN. I can’t remember Harold and Emma’s last name, but they were an older couple who simply could not keep up with Misie’s energy. She had energy in spades.

Harold and Emma let Misie go potty on their deck which was covered in astroturf (I HATE astroturf AND the designated hitter but that is another story). They did not let her out into the yard without a leash.

The day I brought Misie home, as a surprise to the family, I thought she would be fine running around the huge yard which surrounded the double wide, wooden modular home we rented on Cecil Keesling’s cattle and tobacco farm.

WRONG! When I took Misie out for her first potty, she took off like a rocket all over the yard. I began to chase her. She thought it was a game. She soon darted into the adjoining pasture where we played chase for forty-five minutes. She would occasionally stop, put her head in her front paws, with her behind in the air, and wait until I got very near to her. She would then ‘buzz’ or ‘blitz’ for a short while and then… repeat… for 45 minutes.

Somehow, I finally caught Misie and brought her back to the farmhouse. She was covered in dirt, grass and cow poop. She then received her first bath, at 1025 Brinkley Branch Rd., from daddy.

Melodye thought this was one of the funniest things she had ever seen. I did not agree, at the time, but we laugh at the thought of it to this day.

Unfortunately, Misie became riddled with tumors and we had to put her down in May of 2003. This was a horrible day. I gave her her final ride to Dr. White’s office where we met Mel. I petted her the entire way and was able to share my love for her, just us two. It brings me to tears at the thought of it, even to this day.

Here is a poem I wrote for our sweet Misie:

Misie

Pure Energy, love, innocence
Haha Haha Hahahahaha… panting
Bouncing
Begging
Sweet and naughty (DO NOT EAT THAT CHOCOLATE FOOTBALL!!!)
Cheese?
Treat?
Go Outside?
From Harold and Emma’s to
Dr. White…
And LIGHT,
Loved all and all loved you.
I’d give anything to hear
Just ONE more…BEEP…
There will never be another you
Misie
Good-bye
We miss you.

None of us are going to live forever. Cherish those you love and tell them you love them. Also do this, “Unto the least of these.”

And… AND

Consider the lizard.

Winter Words Vol.5/ “Grateful” for Sunshine

The sun has shone brightly all day. The car wash was packed. People seemed a little happier and peppier today. It’s only 40 degrees now and it ‘feels like’ 35 but you would think it’s 60 degrees judging by people’s attitudes. It’s actually a little bit unseasonably cold. The average high in the ATL area for February is 57 with an average low of 38. Perception vs. reality huh? Amazing what a little sunshine can do.

One of my all-time favorite song is George Harrison’s ‘Here Comes the Sun’. “…Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces, little darling, it seems like years since it’s been here…”

And the music itself in the song. It just makes you smile. It moves you to want to dance.

Me and Paul were at a Further concert at SPAC (Saratoga Performing Arts Center) in Saratoga Springs, NY back in the summer of 2011. I was working that area, along with Lake George, NY, and the opportunity availed itself. The band Further includes two core members of the Grateful Dead, Phil Lesh and Bob Weir.

If you’ve never been to a Dead show, or one of the many incarnations that the surviving members formed, Weir’s Ratdog and Phil Lesh and Friends would be the most recognizable, then you’ve missed something special. The band members casually stroll out on stage when they’re good and ready to little or no fanfare. The they will tune their instruments for what seems like an eternity.

During the tuning process the various notes being tinkered with will eventually form what sounds to be fragments of a song. Eventually the sounds WILL develop into a song and the crowd will, usually and simultaneously, recognize the song. There will be a huge roar and then everyone will begin to dance like mad, spinning, twirling, swaying, bouncing and hopping in a free form manner.

Well, on that night back in June, four years ago, the tuning and jamming turned into ‘Here Comes The Sun’. I think the entire crowd was quite surprised, I know me and my Grateful Dead Granny were. The smiles on the faces of all in the crowd were worth the whole concert experience, and it was a very good show.

Here is an excerpt from a fitting article in Americana – The Journal Of American Popular Culture.

“The Answer To The Atom Bomb: Rhetoric, Identification, and the Grateful Dead”

“In The Hero’s Journey , mythologist Joseph Campbell claims that ‘the Grateful Dead are the best answer today to the atom bomb’ because ‘The atom bomb is separating us and this music is calling up the common humanity’. Campbell first articulated this belief about the psychedelic rock band from San Francisco after attending one of their concerts in 1986 in Oakland, CA. where he witnessed what he refers to as ‘one incredible Dionysian ritual,’ ‘a dance revelation,’ and ‘magic for the future’. As Campbell explains, ‘They hit a level of humanity that makes everybody at one with each other. It doesn’t matter about this race thing, this age thing, I mean, everything else dropped out… It was just the experience of the identity of everybody with everybody else. I was carried away in rapture. And so I am a Deadhead now.”

Amen brother Campbell. You NAILED it! There is NOTHING like a Grateful Dead show! It is a transcendent experience. Everyone is one with their fellow human beings. It is tangible. It is church. And the sacraments aren’t bad either. 😉

Music was the only church me and Paul had for many years. The joy and fellowship we have experienced is immeasurable and the friends we have made, at concerts and festivals, are priceless.

The SPIRIT is the SPIRIT wherever it manifests itself. God/Goddess is everywhere, in everything, in everyone. Where love exists, God exists. God is love.

I’ll close with a line form the Dead song, Scarlett Begonias. “Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right.”

Amen?

So tonight, why not cue up Scarlett Begonias and dance like nobody’s looking.

Peace and love.