Okay, so I am a week and a half or so late on this one, but it was something I did not want to write on the fly. I beg your indulgence.
What can I say ? As much as I had dreaded that day, and yet knew that it was probably going to come sooner than expected, it still knocked me for a loop. It still does. It's weird, but I still miss him. Yet, I had never actually MET him. But he was (and remains) a major part of my life. The music, the sense of humor. The guitar. Christ, that guitar playing. Way underrated, if you ask me. I think he is so much considered this iconic, shamanistic figure, that the pure musicianship is lost in the shuffle. On a good night, I don't think there were many better than Jerry. Of course, as a rider of the so-called "bus", I may be a bit biased. Sue me.
I still hate how I found out that he died. I was working an awful job at an awful place, and I did not listen to the radio much in those days(still don't really, I guess).I was at work, and my boss came in to work, and I heard him saying over and over again..."Is he wearing it ? Is he wearing it ?"
He came over to my desk and said, "Are you wearing your Jerry Garcia tie ?"
"No", I answered. "Why?"
"Because he's dead." he replied.
And that was how I found out. I wasn't on the web at all in those days, so I found a radio, and that confirmed it. it was almost like he was gleeful about it. I mean, what the fuck ? So, on top of it being shitty news, I found out in a shitty, shitty way. I would not have thought there would be a way to make that news hurt more, but he found it.
I was really numb the rest of the day. I drove home. My Mom called, and my brother called, to see how I was, which I thought was very sweet of them. People were acting like a friend had died, which, of course, was true(in my head anyway) but I never really expected anyone else to react to me that way. it helped.
I played a lot of Dead tunes, smoked a lot of cigarettes, drank a couple of beers, and just sat in the courtyard of our apartment building in Los Angeles. I did not go to any of the vigils or anything, it just felt too personal to me.
I have gone through a lot of emotions since that day: anger at his being gone, regret that I had not seen more shows, would not see any more. But most of all, I am grateful(pardon the pun)... I am Grateful that the bus came by...that I got on...That I can enjoy this music from this band in my own way, that I found somewhere to belong. Thanks, Jerry. I still miss you, brother.
"Fare you well
Fare you well
I love you more than words can tell
Listen to the river sing sweet songs
To rock my soul..."- "Brokedown Palace"- Garcia/Hunter