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Back to Woodstock
7/20/2012 9:09:57 PM

Can you go back to a place you have never been before?  I think there are certain circumstances that allow that to happen.  Take Woodstock, the iconic music festival of 1969, for example.  That music festival was named after a small town in New York State.   The festival was actually held on a 600 acre dairy farm in Bethel, NY, 40 miles from the Town of Woodstock.  I cannot tell you why the festival is remembered as “Woodstock” rather than “Bethel,” other than that it was promoted as "Woodstock ... three days of peace and music."

In 1969 I was 22 years old, newly married and living in Troy, NY, approximately 120 miles from Bethel, a relatively easy car ride away.  I wanted to go to the Woodstock Music Festival to hear all the great performers: Janis Joplin, Jimmy Hendrix, Joan Baez, The Who, Santana, Creedence Clearwater, Jefferson Airplane, The Band, just to name a few. I lobbied my new husband to make the trip with me.  It was before I had my feminist conscience raised and it never occurred to me to go with other friends.  Although he and I were the same age, I was already running down a much more open-minded path than the conservative road my new husband was on.  The free spirited, love-one-another, stop-the-fighting, stop-the-war philosophy of the hippie movement made tremendous sense to me. 

Ultimately, my husband refused to go to the music festival because he didn’t want to hang around with “all those hippies.”  I on the other hand thought hanging around with “all those hippies” was one of the best reasons to make the trip.

My landlords at the time had an 18 year old daughter who took off for Woodstock with her friends early Saturday morning on the weekend of the festival.  I was envious and wanted to go with them but back in 1969 in my parochial world, married young women didn’t just take off and leave their husbands behind.  As it turned out, the three young woman were back home by six o'clock that night.  They couldn’t get any closer than 10 miles to the festival site, and the local police told them to go home. 

The bottom line is that although my body wasn’t at Woodstock that weekend all those years ago, my heart and spirit certainly were.  Over the years I have visited the small town of Woodstock but have never been to the site of the original music festival.  Now, 43 years later I’m finally getting the opportunity which supports my still evolving philosophy that if one lives long enough all past disappointments are resolved.

The Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, an entertainment shed that hosts rock and roll performers past and present is built on the site of the 1969 Woodstock Music Festival.  At the end of the summer I am going to a Bob Dylan concert there. In an interesting twist of fate, I am absolutely sure that at least one other person who missed the '69 Woodstock festival will also be there.  Bob Dylan had to cancel his performance at Woodstock because his son was ill.

Notes from Vacation
7/9/2012 12:35:46 PM

Fri., July 6, 2012
Just came back from a midnight walk to the pond. What a strange night. It's very still, not a whisper of a breeze. Even though the moon seems almost full, and a full moon usually lights up the dirt road, tonight the road was so dark I couldn't see my feet. Even the pond is in darkness. A Civil War reenactment group is camped near the beach and it was very quiet over there, just a lantern reflecting on the water. Oddly the moon wasn't reflecting on the pond. It was up there, a few sheer clouds floating in front of it, stars are out, but the moon is an odd color; a very pale yellow on a silver-white background. As I was walking back the light from a campfire just over the little hill caused the fog to be visible, just kind of hanging there among the trees. I passed a few neighbors still sitting at their campfires, but even they were talking in whispers.

Sat., July 7, 2012
Picture a pond on a summer evening at 9:15. The woods surrounding the pond are black against a dark blue sky. You're sitting on a lawn that slopes to the water's edge. Across the pond are multiple white tents from the Civil War era, a golden lantern lit in front of each tent and reflecting on the water. Then ... FIREWORKS!! Big, colorful, loud FIREWORKS!! Then ... a cannon goes off ... then ... more FIREWORKS!! A row of ten year old kids sitting side by side cheering and laughing, adults clapping, little ones holding their ears but smiling, the world's largest bullfrog making bullfrog noises beside you in the dark. That's how I spent the last hour ... what a perfect summer night! I love this place.

Mon., July 9, 2012
Beautiful weather up here. Sunny and breezy and my vacation continues. Most everyone has gone home after the weekend except for a few families. One small family with kids is still here. I like hearing their little red wagon full of beach supplies go by my window, it reminds me of my family when we were kids and of taking my little boy to the beach ... great memories. My one and only chore for the day has been taken care of ... I'm off to make new memories ... enjoy the day.

The Littlebrowndog Goes to Camp
7/1/2012 3:31:06 PM

I like my people.  His name is Andy, her name is Mom.  I wasn’t too sure about Mom when they came to the animal shelter and found me.  As soon as I saw them I started barking and jumping around because I knew right away they were my people and I wanted to be sure they noticed me.

Andy walked right over to me so I barked louder and jumped higher.  Mom looked at me but said something to Andy and kept walking on by.  She stopped in front of my neighbor, a silly little dog that sleeps a lot.  Phew, I was relieved when she walked away from the Sleepy Dog.  I started to bark more and threw in a few growls too, Andy seemed to like that, but Mom just gave me a what’s-wrong-with-that-dog look and walked across the room to the black and white dog with the big head.

I got even louder when Mom called Andy over to look at the Big-Head dog.  “Oh, no,” I thought when they asked if they could take the Big-Head dog outside.  I barked and barked.   Andy smiled at me, Mom frowned in my direction.  Relief again when they came back inside and the Big-Head dog went back into its pen.   Andy walked over to me again and knelt down and started talking to me.  I don’t know what he said, but it sounded nice.  He called Mom over and said something nice to her too, but she asked if she could take the Sleepy-Dog outside.

When they came back in, I knew the Sleepy-Dog wasn’t going home with them because he was biting on the leash, almost dangling off the floor.  Andy came over to me again and called Mom over.  Reluctantly, Mom agreed to take me outside.  I was so happy I was jumping around and couldn’t keep all four paws on the ground, at least until I saw the look on Mom’s face, than I began walking like a good dog.

The nice man from the dog pound led me out into a small fenced-in area, Andy and Mom followed.  Once we were inside he took the leash off my collar so I took it as a sign that I could be myself and snoop around and jump if I wanted to.  Then I found an orange squeaky toy and snapped it up in my mouth and tossed it at Andy who was sitting on the ground, hoping he would play with me.  He laughed and held on to it so I climbed up on him.  That’s when I saw “the look.

Andy looked at Mom and said something; all I heard was “good dog.”  When I looked at Mom she was smiling at me for the first time and she said, “OK.” That was six months ago.

Mom and Andy go to something called “work” almost every day.  While they’re away I sleep in Andy’s room.  Sometimes I get bored and can’t resist gnawing on the TV remote, once I even ate a pair of eyeglasses, but you can be sure after Mom’s reaction, I’ll never do that again.  The biggest problem is my addiction to birds.  I see a bird and everything else fades away.  I just have to chase it; which is how I ended up in the animal shelter in the first place.

Andy and Mom have something called a “car.”  Lots of times Andy will let me go with him in his car.  Last week he took me for the longest ride ever and when we stopped, it wasn’t at our house.  It was dark outside the car.  Andy had to pull me outside by my collar.  I didn’t like this place.  I could hear little paws walking in the dark and fifty frogs talking near the water.  I couldn’t see the water, but I could smell it and I could hear the wind blowing through the leaves of hundreds of trees.  Andy pulled me over to wooden steps that led to a big wooden porch.  He kept telling me it was OK but it didn’t feel OK.  I sat close to Andy’s leg when he opened the door to the new place.  As soon as he opened the door, I could smell Mom and felt better.

I hopped up the steps and ran around the tiny house looking for Mom, but she wasn’t there.  I still felt better knowing she had been there and knowing that if this was our new house Mom would be back.  Andy turned the outside light on and I sat by the door and watched him bring things into the new house.  Andy was tired and soon went to bed.  He coaxed me up onto the bed and I curled up on a blanket that smelled like Mom and went right to sleep.

WOW … when I got up the next morning and looked out the door there wasn’t a fence in sight!  There were lots and lots of trees and a pond.  Andy took me outside and tied my really long leash to a tree then hooked me up so I could wander.  The leash wasn’t long enough to reach the pond, but I tried.  On the way I got tangled in bushes and wrapped around a tree or two.  I could smell other dogs, but didn’t see any, too bad; it would have been fun to play. 

Andy called our new home “camp.”  I liked camp.  We went on long walks, we went into the water and at night Andy would start a fire outside and I sat behind his chair away from the sparks.  Andy said stuff like, “be careful,” “get out of there” “don’t do that” but I think he had a good time.  We slept, we got up, I dug some holes in the ground, we slept, we got up, I chased a few squirrels and a bug flew up my nose, we slept, we got up and then we got back into the car and after a long ride, we were home again.  It was good to be home and play with my stuff, I didn’t even mind the fence in the backyard, but I hope Andy will let me back in his car soon and bring me back to the camp.

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