The Ol' Rancher's Memory


Greetings Old Hippie,
                                   You asked for a Woodstock story. Here's mine:
                                                                                                                    By  August '69 I had finished college at University of Maryland and had a job teaching 6th grade in Montgomery Co. Maryland (avoided draft). I had been a 'hippie' for at least three years by that time and was wise in the way of concerts and big psychedelic shows. I had seen Hendrix three times, Jefferson Airplane, and other major groups. I saw a sign and read handouts about the Woodstock Arts and Crafts Fair and when I read the list of acts, I knew this was a big one.
 
            My new wife and I drove a red Volkswagon the Thursday night and parked six miles from the site. By the time we reached Max's farm the fencing was recently down and we walked in. I had figured it would be free and nearly out of control so I had no tickets anyway. Seventeen dollars was a lot on money then for a ticket. Without reviewing days of activities let me just list a few highlights and indicate how attending the concert changed the course of my life.
 
          
          Highlights:  Most memorable acts ... Santana - Out of nowhere this unknown Latin act with the screaming guitar,  bank of conga drums and other percussion knocked our lights out.
                                                                Hendrix - Worth the wait till Monday morning - the transition from Star Spangle banner to Purple Haze swept the already stunned crowd into a refreshing high essentially overcame the sleep deprivation and wet muddy surroundings. His banks of Marshal amps (nearly 30) were cranked to the maximum. He let it all go. It was so  strong and loud that for the  first time the music echoed back from mountains to create a reverb. My wife who was by then back at the car said that from there it sounded like someone next to her had a stereo volume set to #9.
 
                            People: On the way back from the pond I met a kid about 17 years old selling acid for $1 a hit but his jeans pockets were so stuffed with money he had nowhere to put any more and his solution was to begin giving hits away. 
 
                            Play of the Day: When the rains hit it was a muddy mess and all was wet. But I had anticipated this. Ta Da ! I bought a large plastic baggie with boxes of kitchen matches. When the sun came back out and the music returned, guess who had the only means to light a joint for a circumference of 10,000 people? In the next couple of hours, I had tasted the best stash of that many people. The winner was some real Panama Red from a New York guy.
 
                            Overview:      For the most part, I sat about 200 ft. slightly stage left of dead center. Was interested more in the focus of the speaker systems seeing the performers. That was just past he first 100 feet we called the acid and speed  zone or perimeter, where those who couldn't keep still were dancing.
                                                 I remained there for most of three and a half days, leaving only to use a bathroom ... Ha!  For food and drink one just sat and waited. In a minute or two a sandwich would come by being passed around and you took a good bite and passed it on.  Then a cookie, then a drink or two. Soon you were no longer hungry and all was well. In my area of the concert it as not a really tight pack of people but we were just about up against each other sitting or lounging back a bit. Almost no one knew beforehand who was sitting next to them or anywhere nearby. We were all separated from whoever we arrived with, so we struck up a network of instant friendships. Every hour or so I would stand and stretch ... Wow ... the view. In all directions a sea of people ...
 
 
Epilogue : When I finally stumbled back to car Monday afternoon. I was too high to return home or to city life. I was still high from all the acid I ate to stay awake for Hendrix. So we drove north instead of south just because the was as far from home as we had been. We didn't stop until the drugs wore off just outside of Montreal, Canada on a small isolated mountain top overlooking the city.
 
                Now we knew that travel and adventure was for us. After the end of the coming school year, we quit and went on the hippie trail backpacking across 35 countries for two and a half years. I then knew that living in suburban Washington D.C. was not for me. We moved to Austin, Texas just in time to begin a cosmic cowboy 'scene' there. Unknowns like an old guy named Willie Nelson and a guitarist named Stevie Ray Vaughn played mostly for free everywhere they could in town.
 
                And now ... Austin (I stayed) has become what I left in suburban D.C. So I bought a small ranch near a Texas hill country town named Blanco where ' old Texas' lifestyle still survives. It is near a town named Lukenbach that is known for the song of that name sung by "Willie, Waylon, and the boys .."   I am now a retired (teacher) and call myself the Ol' Rancher ..  To see my piece of heaven on earth  go to    http://www.picturetrail.com/    enter : bruce5320     where it says member name     click go