Updated: Jul 19, 2021
In fact, 70 Trips Around the Sun
Richie, first - there will be an intermission and at the end, you'll find a link to a playlist of all songs in this post. As I was creating the post, I remembered the movie "The Music Never Stopped" and wondered if this post would ever stop - as it became like the lotus with so many layers unfolding.
Though I’ve included a few memories of our early years together, what I’m really excited about is what’s been happening since we’ve reconnected. I’m grateful for beginning to discover who each of us has become and am enjoying the wisdom you've been sharing with me. What’s helping this process for me is the power of our shared experiences during those formative times in our lives – when we were trying to figure out adulthood. Personally, I still haven’t figured it out and find, instead, that just letting it flow carries me and has always carried me where I’m supposed to be.
1. Love Your Neighbor AS YOU LOVE YOURSELF
As I Began to Love Myself – A poem for your 70th Birthday by Kim McMillen
As I began to love myself I found that anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth. Today, I know, this is “AUTHENTICITY”.
As I began to love myself I understood how much it can offend somebody if I try to force my desires on this person, even though I knew the time was not right and the person was not ready for it, and even though this person was me. Today I call it “RESPECT”.
As I began to love myself I stopped craving for a different life, and I could see that everything that surrounded me was inviting me to grow. Today I call it “MATURITY”.
As I began to love myself I understood that at any circumstance, I am in the right place at the right time, and everything happens at the exactly right moment. So I could be calm. Today I call it “SELF-CONFIDENCE”.
As I began to love myself I quit stealing my own time, and I stopped designing huge projects for the future. Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness, things I love to do and that make my heart cheer, and I do them in my own way and in my own rhythm. Today I call it “SIMPLICITY”.
As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for my health – food, people, things, situations, and everything that drew me down and away from myself. At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism. Today I know it is “LOVE OF ONESELF”.
As I began to love myself I quit trying to always be right, and ever since I was wrong less of the time. Today I discovered that is “MODESTY”.
As I began to love myself I refused to go on living in the past and worrying about the future. Now, I only live for the moment, where everything is happening. Today I live each day, day by day, and I call it “FULFILLMENT”.
As I began to love myself I recognized that my mind can disturb me and it can make me sick. But as I connected it to my heart, my mind became a valuable ally. Today I call this connection “WISDOM OF THE HEART”.
We no longer need to fear arguments, confrontations or any kind of problems with ourselves or others. Even stars collide, and out of their crashing new worlds are born. Today I know “THAT IS LIFE”!
The above Charlie Chaplin article spoke to me of how one finds contentment. That led me to this next one…
2. TRAILBLAZING A PATH TO CONTENTMENT
--"’I believe our core desire is to find a level of contentment in life.’ This essay reflects on the five faculties of Buddhism that need to be developed to start the journey towards ease, peace and contentment.” The article begins with a story…
“There was once an ancient city that was far off in the jungle one that had an abundance of prosperity. All the people who lived there had delight with being alive, felt joy, were at peace they had a quality of tranquility and happiness.
At one time, the path to this city was easy to find and the way clearly marked. All were welcome.
But over the centuries, fewer people would seek this path and as time went by the trail became overgrown with vines, fallen trees, and bushes. Finding the path and the city became difficult and arduous.
The Buddha during his journey to find the answers to freedom from suffering
(described as Nibbana or Nirvana) rediscovered this path, long forgotten.”
The article continues at the above link…
“It’s a narrow path and few find it…”
And here’s an equally valid alternative perspective…
--(video) an old-timer shares wisdom from his times on both paths…
Another Trip Around the Sun – Dead Larry
As I was creating your birthday message, I came upon this track. The album art drew me in…who was this guy “Dead Larry” – a Deadhead?, someone now deceased whose friends posted a song in his memory?…anyway, the song has a great beat and the following lyrics spoke of you:
“A man of heart and a man of wisdom…”
3. USE “DEAD RECKONING” TO FIND THE CURRENT PATH…OR, THE PATH THROUGH THE CURRENTS
--Definitely a cosmic tune, the writer reflects on how the song has Taoist, Buddhist and 23rd Psalm imagery. He asks…[my comments are in square brackets]…
--“What place has ‘Ripple’ had in your life? Has it helped you through anything? Have you sung it to your children as a lullaby [see “Teaching Children…Grandchildren” below]? Have you played it around a campfire [see image below]? These are just a few ways the song has lived in my life.”
--Sort of reminds me of our nights on County Line beach (Hells Angels had the fire) and camping in Florida (we owned the fire and ice…cold ones)…In the background is Chickie’s bus…
4. STEALING FIRE FROM THE MOUNTAIN
--My son read this a few years ago and said it was amazing. I’ve included it because, from what I’ve discovered about you from your practices, (which DO speak louder than words), is that you challenge yourself - physically, mentally and spiritually. The next section is from the Stealing Fire Book website. It’s already challenging me to really look at where I am…not judging…but simple deeply seeing…
You know who you are. You’ve hung on to that surfboard or skateboard or ukelele long after they started collecting dust in the garage, just on the off chance you’ll get back to the Zone someday. You crank your favorite college soundtrack up to 11 when no one’s home, and maybe even down a beer (or three) while you’re at it. You couldn’t stand the writing in Fifty Shades of Gray  (but read it anyway). You got tired of “just sitting there” meditation, but now you’re putting butter in your coffee and ice cubes in your bath.
Those fleeting moments you’ve spent outside yourself, connected to something bigger, are the North Stars of your life. Without them, you’d probably shrivel up and die, but you’ve always had a hard time explaining their appeal, and justifying them to everyone around you. You’ve refused to just “grow up” “get real” or “be serious.” Your guilty isolation is over. This book gives you permission and validation for what you’ve known in your bones all along.
 If fifty were too many, why not try…(FYI – The site misspelled “grey” as “gray.”)
--Pacific Coast Highway! VERY HIGH!!!
--awesome display of power from our Earth's core. We are a microcosm of this - we have so much untapped power and heat and light in our core. We do our inner work to unleash it...
--the lava flows reminded me of rolling and breaking waves
--one viewer added her comments: "I've got the lyrics tattooed on my legs; my younger self telling my now-older self to stay true to my Eugene Oregon hippie runner girl roots!
As I say below, one of my memories includes parties where we tried to take over the record player to hear OUR favorite tunes. Often, this battle for the bands was waged between Deadheads and Stoners, Uhh, other Stoners. That said, to be fair, here's an appropriate one... Play with Fire - Rolling Stones
5. MORE RIPPLES ON STILL WATER
--Blogger’s reflections on the spiritual content of Robert Hunter’s music
“…When there is no pebble tossed…
“…No wind to blow…”
The un-mazing Ripple effect…helps us navigate the mazes in our lives…
…If I knew the way, I would take you home…”
“…no simple highway…”
6. WE EACH GOTTA FIND OUR OWN WAY HOME…OUR OWN PATHS…
Early on after we got back together, we were walking in the woods and you said something that gave me insight into how you see our world, “There are many roads up the mountain.” This really resonated with me because I too have come to the place where I no longer believe that there is ONLY ONE WAY, as in one religion or belief system. That said, I do believe that underneath all the different streams we see on the surface, there is one River of Life feeding all the streams.
Asking another such as a teacher or guru is OK as long as we eventually follow our own internal guidance system…Enlightenment…salvation…is an inside job.
Which way do I go, George or Paul or John or Ringo…or Jerry…?
You can fool some of the people some of the time…not sure about all of the people all of the time…I’m hopeful that there will always be some who use their built-in truth recognition software to help them decide which is real and which is an illusion.
Cartoons…it’s no wonder people grew up so Looney and violent…
He went thata way…duh, thanks, George (or Jerry, Bob, Phil, Bill, Mickey…)
“If I knew the way…”
The guru’s job description is in the word – “gu” & “ru” – a guru leads one from darkness to light…and the light is INSIDE each of us…
The syllable gu means darkness, the syllable ru, he who dispels them,
Because of the power to dispel darkness, the guru is thus named.
— Advayataraka Upanishad, Verse 16 (Source)
“You/we are the light of the world…”
So turn on your lovelight…and leave it on (Grateful Dead & Blues Brothers mashup)
--you won’t be able to sit this one out…
--FYI – This uploader has lots of other GD mashups…very clever
7. GOTTA BALANCE OUR OUTER WORKOUT WITH OUR INNER WORKOUT…
A main reason folks can’t find their way home is that they are looking for it – outside themselves. We already have all we need…
We're about half way thru this trip, so how about a snack break...a three-course delight...and while munching play the album you'll find below...
Dark Side of the Moon - Pink Floyd (complete album)
9. FROM THE ATTICS IN OUR LIVES
We are really living only one shared life…
Memories...in no particular order...
Wackenhut to NCPD
Security guards at Columbia – Remember the guy who hired us asked, “How attached are you guys to that long hair and those beards?”
Remember guarding the buildings at Columbia University and having to sneak past the demonstrating students just to get to work? We were them just days before...
You traded your van and roof racks with surfboards for a cruiser with roof racks with flashing lights and sirens…cool, helped you get to the beach and waves much faster.
Lookin’ for America and perfect waves
Great memories of our trips to Cape Hatteras, Florida and Callie on our surfing safaris
Lookin’ for Chicas
That prom night – Yellow LILCO truck amidst black limos, smoke rising – not from the tailpipe, but from inside the cabin…the boys decked out in top hats and tails…all those high school girls so envious of their classmates - our prom dates. As you may recall, my date was the result of a taxi fare. I was cruisin' Manhattan when two girls hailed me. On the way to their Brooklyn destination, as I surveyed the rear seat landscape, I kept hoping the one I liked would get out last. Lady Luck was with me that night...we exchanged numbers, dated and I got invited to her high school prom.
Yes, Walt’s Kingdom was magical…A few of my favorite attractions were (actual names from that time):
Spaced Out Mountain [see satellite image below - Hey, this is a high-tech post]
Fantasyland - The Traffic there is always heavy - but never a downer...
Skull Rock restaurant (for obvious reasons) - I think I remember they had a sign out front that read "Be Grateful - We serve both the living and the Dead"
Mushroom Kingdom - "Be aware of the fungus amongus"
Frontierland - We guys were always going where man had not gone before
Big Thunder Ranch Restaurant - Imagined I'd hear Mickey Hart rollin' thunder over the PA
Flight to the Moon - it was far out, but I still prefer the Dead's version: Mountains of the Moon. NOTICE: I selected this version because of the intimate setting and opening conversation between Jerry and his host - Hugh Hefner. HOWEVER, I strongly disapprove of Hefner's sexploitation of women.
Adventure Thru Inner Space - actually, that ride is what the rest of our life is all about
I also recall one night trying to leave before the park closed…but we couldn’t find my bus…so we went back inside and waited til closing time and the parking lot was empty…and then still wandered around the nearly empty lots until we found…our way home…
In times like this, we need to heed the voice of reason...and stay INSIDE our spaceship...
Ground Control to Major Tom (Rich, Gregory, Mike, Vinnie, Steve...)
--After watching this interesting adaptation...Tom should have quarantined on the Moon for 14 days, so as to give us Earthlings a chance to prepare for the alien invasion
But not down in New Orleans…
If you want New Orleans or Joplin – and I don’t mean Missouri, click here. I liked the images in this cover…
Like a scene from Simon & Garfunkel's "America," we rode cross country together as part of a reconciliation that I wrote about in my 2019 post for Father's Day - Mom writing poetry and Dad taking pictures...
Your White VW Convertible
You looked so cool driving to the beach, surfboard resting on the back seat, freak flag blowin' in the wind...I even recall some seedlings emerging from the back seat area...proving nature takes over whenever we give her a chance...
"It's the same story the crow told me...
I remember several…the one on Liberty Avenue under the El – might have been a VFW hall. After we got raided, one cop came out of the bathroom holding a bottle of booze (we had stashed it inside the toilet tank) and exclaimed to one of his fellow officers, “Gee, they drink better stuff than I do!” I always wondered how he knew to look there…
There was another for New Year’s Eve (1975?) at what I remember as a Masonic Temple in Richmond Hill. I was living in Callie at the time and flew home for that one. I think I took Eileen to that party. She later confided to me after I had permanently moved back to NY that she always knew I’d be back for her. Duh…I didn’t…
Speaking of secret societies like the Masons, when I googled “Masonic Temple and Richmond Hill,” I got this video. The thumbnail image of the 4 skeletons caught my eye, so I clicked and started listening. As the band was getting started I looked for evidence that they might do the Dead. That’s when I saw the skeleton vest on one guy and the skull behind the band…and then I recognized they were noodling around the beginning of “I Know you Rider.” Click here to watch their set.
Gatherings in your parents’ basement in South Ozone Park – where Pa and Ma Pate could keep an eye on us – especially Ma.
Parties at your apartment (Kew Gardens?) and folks jockeying for control of the record player – usually Grateful Dead fans vs. Rolling Stones fans.
Dr. Scherr forwards with your added reflections
I really like the selections you choose to send me and the other guys and always enjoy your mindful reflections on the Doc's words of that day or your observations about other things that come your way, such as this one from Buddy.
On the edge of autumn September has a strange and wonderful feeling. It is the best part of the summer and the hardest part of the summer. Just when summer gets perfect—fresh nights, soft sun, casual breezes, crushingly full and quietly cooling trees, empty beaches and free weekends—it ends. Life is like that, too. Just when we get it right, it starts to change. The job gets easy and we know just how to do it and they tell us we’re retired. The children grow up and get reasonable and they leave home just when it’s nice to have them around. The days get less full of work but we’re older now and too stiff to play. The money we never had enough of to spend on “extras” abounds after the mortgage is paid off, but the desire for expensive travel and clothing and entertainment has waned. We celebrate the autumn equinox this month—one of only two days of the year in which daytime and nighttime are of exactly equal length. From now on daytime will begin to wane. But there is nothing to fear from this diminishment of the kind of life associated with sunlight. The night times of life have their beauty and their lessons, too. That’s life on the edge of autumn. And that’s beautiful. If we have the humility for it. Humility is a natural virtue. It’s one of those things that everybody has to get eventually or else die in misery. Diminishment, for instance, is one of the facts of life that breeds humility and diminishment is part of every experience. We get to practice it all our lives. Humility is the survival mechanism of life. —from A Monastery Almanac by Joan Chittister
"Into the forest I go to lose my mind and find my soul"...Lao Tsu.....
Some ideas that I try to keep in mind that sync with this: In order to grow in any meaningful way we must be willing to be wrong. We need to accept what is. The Tai Chi masters tell us to invest in loss.
The EGO is a dominating and yet wily part of each of us. We can keep it in check through non judgmental self observation. Awareness of our thoughts, words and actions. When I bring awareness into my life I recognize how imperfect I am and how much work there is to be done. I also realize how blessed I am. This will always brings a feeling of gratitude.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you and your families! Regardless of the pain, frustration and sadness we all have to deal with on a daily basis we all, I believe, have so much to be thankful for. I never cease to be amazed at how the universal truths can come from all corners of the world and from so many periods of time.
( I guess that's why they're universal truths. Duh! Richie) So here we have Emerson exhorting us to live each day to the fullest, accepting that we'll make mistakes and have problems to deal with. But do your best, let it go and start fresh the next day. And hundreds of years earlier half way around the world the Buddha tells us " Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most." Keep in mind there are no mistakes- only lessons. So embrace this day. Let go of whatever anger, pain, tension and frustration you may be holding onto. Resolve to be more compassionate to yourself and everyone in your life; family, friends and strangers.
Be grateful for life truly is a precious gift, a gift that becomes stronger and more beautiful when it is shared.
With Love and Peace, Richie
P.S. The doc’s discussion starters plus your comments and those of the other sangha members continue to open me up to new ways to SEE and then write about what I’m seeing.
I have at least half a dozen lengthy and unfinished emails that I’ve been meaning to send to you.
I can imagine your Inbox saying, “Whew, hope that doesn’t happen!”
--from Franklin’s Tower (a la Marx Brothers silliness)
10. SANGHA FAMILY PHOTOS
Back in the day, I never had a camera so all these are courtesy of Bermont and maybe some other folks...
Our own personal Cosmic Charlie (Chic) - an early space traveler
At County Line Beach...that's Larry Lombardo (RF), the guy at LF has not yet been ID'd...you know the rest of the crew of knuckleheads, as you like to call us...
Only an Italian is cool enough to pack wine on a camping trip...
Steven musta ran outta vino...
Say, "Cheeze, it's the fuzz..." Steven's (?) hidin his face in case we're being photographed...
"Hey, guys, the chicas are the other way..."
An occasional surfin' sangha member - My brother Mike's '61...
And the hippie's favorite New Mexican VW guru - John Muir and his bible...still got my copy
Even though I had this wonderful car guru, early in my career, there were nights I laid in bed like this guy…and those weren’t pipe dreams. FYI - John also did all the artwork.
Detective Pate: Be on the lookout - there's an APB out for this guy
P.S. The first summer we were in Callie - 1969 - was when ol' Charlie Manson was causing havoc up in the hills very close to where we were hanging out at County Line Beach. I remember keeping a hatchet near the entrance to our tent. We were safe on the weekends because the Hell's Angels took over the north end of the beach and kept other predators away. There aren't any numbers across my chest, so, I think this photo was from my taxi license.
11. SURFIN’ AIN'T DEAD – OR IS IT?
Grateful for the Beach (Bob & Jerry & friends at the beach)
--from that event...I just noticed her anchor earrings...seeing that she's at a Dead show, she definitely didn't arrive on a Ship of Fools.
Here are a few of several photos of beach street art I took at Gilgo in early winter 2019 – the beach we considered our local version of Malibu, CA.
12. DEAD BIKING
"Bicycles are almost as good as guitars for meeting girls."
--Bob Weir (Source)
--Don’t have to be Einstein to know biking is good for you (from my NYC collected pix)
13. PETER KATER DAY
It was great…especially lying under his piano and feelin' the healin' vibrations up close. Another Peter - Black Peter, presents an equally cool laid-back vibe.
“People may know but
the people don't care
that a man could be
as poor as me...”
14. TEACH YOUR CHILDREN…AND YOUR GRANDCHILDREN
I sense how important family is to you, so I offer this next version of Ripple as a way you can practice what Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young sang about and teach your offspring and theirs about the musical medicine that helps heal our souls and those of the world around us…
--awesome wisdom from a dad WHO KNOWS...
--He offers this to his kids...and anyone else who'll listen...
The above and below shots are from a GD tribute band - Half Step - I saw in 2019 at the Bethpage Public Library...
--an MD considers how going to Dead concerts can be good for you. In the article, he cites the FDA warning we see on many ingestibles:
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.”
Actually, Bill Walton (see below for more Walton - a Deadhead!)
This next one is of a fugitive
You’re either on the train or off the train…
Here’s a first look at our suspect/perp on the LAM (Local Area Metro)…
A close up of our suspect…good guy or bad guy
Oh…Okay…he’s on our side…just undercover
In reality (is there such a place as reality?), this is The Trainman from The Matrix
Richie, you look like you’ve been down in the tunnels too long but…”knew you’d have to come up soon for air…”
“Bang, bang, Neo…hopefully you’re Gratefully Dead. And, BTW, Mr. Anderson, to show you I’m a good cop, I’ll ask Mick to send you dead flowers and put some roses on your grave. If he can’t find American Beauty’s, how ‘bout Ramblin On Roses?”
“BTW – Neo, are you really The One or are you just The Other One?”
All: I wonder if the Stones “I know you think you’re the queen of the underground” is a reference to The Oracle character in the movies? “Underground” is also a UK term for their subway system. Here’s a YouTuber that sees a connection.
All: If you watched the third Matrix movie and wondering about Neo’s fate - whether He’s Gone..and nothing’s gonna bring him back –--- there’s a new movie in the works. I find it fitting that this article is from a site called Deadline. Hmm, “Deadline” would also be a fitting name for an abandoned railroad line…one that had a similar destination - “to never never/never ever land” – as a bus named “Furthur.”
--from the movie soundtrack