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What hurt my daughters hurt me.

I did not want children. I was too young.

By our third anniversary we had two daughters. An instinct to mother directed all that I did. I was, by then, the lioness. - Image by Crissy Maltese
By our third anniversary we had two daughters. An instinct to mother directed all that I did. I was, by then, the lioness.

This morning I opened two eggs over toast. I remembered twenty years ago — when I opened soft-boiled eggs for two daughters. How careful I was, pushing my reading glasses back up onto my nose to better see shards of jagged eggshell did not slip onto the toast.

What hurt them hurt me. A topple onto concrete, then the yowl, then the bright blood down her narrow shin: I felt it.

With my head in my hands I sat down and stared toward the floor. I cried, without tears, and retched.

I had been so careful. I put up poisons. I tucked electric cords behind floorboards. I picked up skates and the bedroom slippers with floppy bunny ears from where they had been tossed. I striped jackets with fluorescent tape, double-tied sneaker laces, updated immunization lists, checked sore throats, hourly, with a flashlight.

They were fragile. Their skulls were no sturdier than the eggshell. That fragility made me vulnerable. Their existence opened me, wider, to what the world could do.

They got hurt in unexpected ways, on objects I would not have suspected of offering injury. A head cracked on an innocuous red brick. A lip torn and a tooth chipped on the trusty wheelbarrow. A wrist shattered on a bedroom windowsill. The elder ripped her kneecap during an easy family hike. The skin spread slowly open, a terrifying mystery plot unfolding that exposed pulsing gristle. She whistled with pain. The younger, riding her new bike, ran into a ’48 Plymouth abandoned in the alley. Pea gravel scraped one side of her face, left a white scar.

This morning I counted back. Each year spots with a blood wound, crashes percussively with screams, shimmers with high fever and sour stomach sickness under pallid nightlights, fibrillates through otherwise calm moments with high-speed emergency. I had been glad when it all ended.

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I was young when we married, and only six months after the wedding, in the era before the pill, I became pregnant. I did not want children. I was too young. Not only that, I was enrolled in college and liking it, and my own mother was so chilly, even cruel, that I feared I would be arctic like her, and as distant.

When I try to locate the moment that maternal instinct “took,” I cite my seeing the umbilical cord. My obstetrician, an Austrian woman who took pride in “delivering Mutter awake,” asked, “Do you want to see the cord?” and plopped the kidney-shaped aluminum pan on my still-quivering belly. As thick as velvet theater cord, red and purple, what had nourished and fostered R, in utero, coiled atop the liverish placenta. The cord said something to me that did not come in words.

By our third anniversary we had two daughters. An instinct to mother directed all that I did. I was, by then, the lioness: snuffling out danger, blocking the den against predators, tenderly cuffing babies back into sleep.

S was born scrawny, always hungry. I did not make enough milk. Her cheeks never turned rosy and hot as R’s had after suckling. Her hunger dizzied me.

Poor R, jealous, confused, angry at losing her mountaintop, rubbed against my legs, pulled at my arms, scratched at my hands. She whined. She wept. My love for two stretched me on a rack, torn two ways.

We survived. By the time both could walk we were planting immense, ambitious garden plots. We were digging our own Eden. We planted raspberry canes, apple trees, flowering bushes. We raised ducks. We drew, painted, cut and pasted. We played hand after hand of rummy. We bought pups. The pups ate our socks, chewed ears off the bunny slippers. Even I, who grew up cold and alone in dark apartments with a frowning mama and an absent father, began to glow. I, who for years looked sallow and hugged mechanically, grew apple-cheeked and comfortable with embraces.

This morning, when I sat at the kitchen table, my head in my hands, I was not regretting those days passing. I was only aware again, by its recent tug on me, of our old instinctually forged connection. Specifically, I thought about S. “Ugly duckling’’ was what she was. For years. Strabismatic, her huge deep-brown eye drifted to her nose, stuck a moment before wandering back to center. Her brown hair fell in lank sections. Her chest was concave. She ate so much and stayed so thin that more than once her pediatrician tested her for intestinal parasites. “Worms,’’ she would sob. The unfairness her body did her, the blight of the drifting eye, her sister’s fair plump beauty — all weighed me down.

S was a “good child, the perfect child,’’ she once said proudly and with irony. When she helped out in the kitchen or garden, she was determinedly thorough, the kind of person who does not sweep dust whorls under a rug. She was egalitarian. She shared toys and welcomed new youngsters to the neighborhood. She was compassionate with younger, smaller children. She was heatedly loving. No one popped a cheek with hotter, more perfectly dried kisses. No one bound you as tightly with hugs.

At night I was always glad for the respite and for their safety, health, their wholeness. I slept rich deep sleeps of satisfaction. Years passed.

Adolescence altered them. R bloomed early, grew a bosom and acquired mystery and distance, fluffy auburn hair, and hips. In what became terrible days, S would stand watching while her older sister pulled on a sweater. A look of betrayal passed her wandering brown eye (which, with glasses, began to stay still). And then one day S went downtown and bought a white cotton training bra. “What,” R said, “are you going to do with that?”

“Train them,” S snarled, “to jump through hoops of fire.”

Then S turned twelve. Every beauty-producing gene for generations back in both families fired off and exploded in her face, limbs, frame. “She is gorgeous,” friends would whisper to us. “Gorgeous.” Once homely, the new beauty was a mantle she wore with simple dignity. She knew what it was to be laughed at, pointed out — “Ugly.”

Her hair shone like polished mahogany. Her drifting eye settled. Not only this beauty: even though she was tiny at five feet, one inch, she was strong, with biceps that bulged up, and she was courageous in the self-confidence of strength. Her presence thrilled me.

And she was wild. She fought off — and beat down — an attack by her boyfriend’s drunk twin brother one rainy afternoon at the county fair. She wrestled him down into the mud. She cut him across his chest with a Swiss Army knife a friend out of the crowd tossed her. I felt I must tell no one how physically, morally exhilarated I felt by what she had done.

I liked, too, that she never justified herself. I liked that she was, she said, “not too prissy to lie, but too proud.” I liked that she would not blame anyone when she got into trouble. When Sheriff Bob picked her up out on Bull Road, drinking in a pickup truck, she said, “I got caught.”

S would sit with me in the morning, sip black coffee, and tell me what she dreamed. The winter before she turned sixteen, she told of a dream through which “bad people” whose faces she couldn’t make out chased her. Sitting by the fireplace in her favorite tattered flannel gown, she shuddered. “Just before they grabbed me, Mom, I leaped up on the garage roof.” Her long, complex dreams’ happy endings left me always relieved, replete with a certitude that her life, somehow, would contrive to go well. She would be safe. I would be safe.

During their teenage years, I feared for them. My nerves seemed to scream, to idle too fast, to rattle through my flesh in a constant high gear. Every winter someone’s child was killed on the slick country roads that led into our rural town. Every summer someone’s child drowned in a nearby lake or gravel pit. One summer the tall red-headed boy down the block broke his neck, diving. He came home from the hospital in a wheelchair. His father built a ramp up to their front door and painted it gray, to match their house.

We lived by the hospital. I heard sirens every day. When both girls were with me in the house, I felt a smug assurance when I heard the sirens shriek. But more than once, when one girl was not home by midnight, or when it was almost midnight and time for them to come through the front door, I felt sick with fear, hearing the high whine rush down Chestnut Street to the emergency room. I would see limbs torn, lying in snow. I would see the O of a mouth on a drowned face. I would remember Jim, down the street, painting his son’s wheelchair ramp.

Then they were gone. When the ambulance whooshed down to the hospital, I no longer stiffened to take the blow of injury, the announcement of death. My blood, accustomed to flooding — for them — with adrenalin, began to thin and calm, to tour arteries and veins for only me. No longer a part of their fortress against harm, my flesh relaxed. The cord became suitably frayed, a string.

When I answered the phone and S said, “Hi, Mom,’’ I responded with an easy, “Hi, Sarah.’’ No warning bell rose, resounding and resonating through my legs, belly, breast. “Mom,’’ she said, “I got beaten, and raped, and robbed. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.’’

My baby, my brown eyes, your strong arms, your stiff upper lip, I see you. I hear you scream. Won’t someone toss me the knife? I want to cut.

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Holo Holo Festival showcases music of the Pacific Islands

Featured local artists include Eli-Mac and Lea Love
Cassie and crew at the Las Vegas Sphere.
Cassie and crew at the Las Vegas Sphere.

Basketball great and San Diego icon Bill Walton died on May 27. The next day, sports commentator John Canzano posted an interview clip on TikTok in which he asked Walton how many Grateful Dead concerts he had attended. “Not enough,” replied Walton, before recounting that his first Dead show had been when he was in high school. “I was 15. I’m listening to FM radio and the disc jockey, it had to have been Gabriel Wisdom, that was the guy that everybody listened to, and he said, ‘Boys and girls, that last jam you just heard, that was a new band from San Francisco, and they call themselves The Grateful Dead.’” Wisdom then said that so many people had showed up to the Dead’s recent show in San Francisco that everyone got in free, and that maybe the same would hold true for their upcoming show in Los Angeles. “We said, ‘Yeah, that’s us, let’s go chase the dream!’ So one of the guys stole their parents car for the weekend, right? Nobody had driver’s licenses, nobody had any money, we just went up there in our shorts and our tennis shoes and a T-shirt. We just went up there, got in free somehow, went right to the front, and our lives were never the same.”

“Not enough” Grateful Dead concerts translates, in Walton’s case, to somewhere north of 850. Many of the stories written after his death made mention of his devotion, sometimes to the point where his storied basketball career seemed to be secondary. What were two decades on the court compared to more than five decades in the stands — and on the stage? (Walton famously joined the Grateful Dead offshoot band Dead & Company onstage as a white-bearded, rose-crowned Father Time for its 50th anniversary celebration in 2015.) Drummer Mickey Hart recalled that his dear friend Walton would “regularly send messages that said, ‘Thank you for my life.’ He was the biggest Deadhead in the world and used our music as the soundtrack of his life.”

Three days after Walton’s death, Dead & Company paid tribute to him during a performance of his favorite Dead song, “Fire on the Mountain.” The biggest Deadhead got the biggest sendoff: his image, name, and player number 32 splayed across the gargantuan curved screen of the Las Vegas Sphere, where Dead & Company are in residence until August 10. They started their run in May, after finishing their farewell tour in July of last year, and my wife was in attendance opening night. When she returned, she insisted that she needed to go back — this time, with me. She insisted that Dead & Company was not simply a glorified cover band, rehashing old favorites with the help of relative youngster John Mayer. She insisted that the band was revitalized, in an almost literal sense: the Grateful Dead were alive again, somehow, lo these 30 years after the death of founding member Jerry Garcia.

She knew just what to say. Like many fans, I had thought the Grateful Dead era ended when Garcia died. My wife understood my feeling, if only because she was a little like Walton and other devotees who talked about the Dead — and Garcia in particular — in tones that bordered on the religious.

Garcia was a reluctant high priest — he saw himself as a working man — but that didn’t stop the true believers, even if the best they could offer to explain themselves was, “They are a band beyond description,” one that provided, through their music and the community that formed around it, the closest thing to a religious experience they had ever found. “I am the human being that I am today because of the Grateful Dead,” Walton once said. And like converts, it wasn’t enough for them to attend; they had to tell the world, convince them to come along. “You’ve got to get on the bus, man!” They were friendly, wide-eyed, hopeful you’d join them. But for many, including myself, it felt like they were trying to describe a rainbow to a blind person.

On May 5th, 1990, I got on the bus — or tried to. My best friend at the time was a drummer named Steve Harris. He know I was into progressive rock: polished bands delivering tight performances of frequently complex music. He did not care. He insisted that the Dead were something I had to see, “a band beyond description.” He bought me tickets to see a set of weekend shows in a field at Cal State Dominguez Hills. He proudly declared that these were his first Miracles. I had no idea what he was talking about, but he had a sincerity that was hard to resist, and it seemed important to him that he share this experience with me. Besides: free tickets.

We wound up sitting on the grass, fairly close to the stage. It was extremely hot. A lady seated in front of us said, to no one in particular, “I wish I knew somebody who was at their first show.” Steve quickly let her know that I was just what she was looking for. “Here,” she said, handing me a tiny square of colored paper. “Eat this.” I looked at Steve for reassurance. He was happy to provide it. That set us up for a 16-hour psychedelic ride. But before the acid kicked in, the band strolled onstage and spent what seemed like five minutes tuning their instruments. I had never seen that before, or heard it. It sounded…disorganized. And when they started playing, they kind of fell into the song. The vocals seemed sloppy. I didn’t hear any of the songs I had heard the band play on the radio. The rest of the crowd seemed to approve, but I didn’t get it.

Then they took a break, and when they came back, well, only the drummer came back. The drummer played for what seemed a long time, and when the rest of the band came out, they started doing the strangest thing I had ever heard musicians do. It seemed like they were playing badly on purpose, making sounds that did not link together in any discernible way. By this point, I was thoroughly altered, and the discord sounded weird and even ominous.

By way of consolation, Steve leaned over and said simply, “Space.” I was not consoled. I was annoyed. I had heard so much hype about how good these guys were. Then, finally, they started in on a song that the crowd seemed to recognize, and it was like the whole audience exhaled and relaxed in unison. Then this guy who looked more like somebody’s grandfather than a rock and roll star started to sing something about needing a miracle every day. Steve leaned over again, and explained that a miracle wasn’t just a free concert ticket — it was a gift.

By this point, the LSD had taken hold. I had never experienced it before, and after an hour, I found it close to overwhelming. When we left the venue, we were in no condition to drive. So we sat in Steve’s car, and he played his current favorite Dead song on his car stereo — a slower number called “Box of Rain.” He explained that the song was about the bass player’s father dying of cancer. I remember still not getting it. I remember saying that they sounded like a low-budget Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, with passable but loose harmonies.

Later, my friend Steve died of cancer. Now, when I hear the song “Box of Rain,” I am taken back to the good times we shared before the sickness blossomed in him like a poison flower, and invariably, I will weep. The song has become a time stamp for a moment in my life. It hits deep. But even so, and even though I saw the Dead again a year after that first “miracle,” I did not become a Deadhead until I saw the band’s current iteration at The Sphere. The Dead are an acquired taste; it took me three decades to acquire it.

My wife kept showing me videos taken of Dead & Company at The Sphere. She told me it was a must-see event, that the venue was as much a part of the show as the band, and the internet seemed to share her opinion. Okay then. But our flight out of San Diego was delayed, and despite skipping dinner and making a mad dash to the venue, we arrived after the show started. I should have been soured on the whole experience, but the experience was too sweet for that.

Trying to describe The Sphere makes me sympathize with Deadheads trying to describe the Dead. I will say this: it feels like the future. There are something like 40 individual speakers per seat, and the sound is focused like a laser beam. One section might receive audio in Chinese and another in English, and there would be no confusion. Despite the sonic excellence, it was hard at first to judge the band’s music, because the visual experience was placing such a massive demand on my attention. The curved screen behind the band was enormous; the graphics, all but overwhelming.

But as I settled in, I found I couldn’t help but be impressed by the musicianship of John Mayer (and the rest of the Dead’s new blood). He was doing Jerry Garcia’s guitar licks, but taking them further. And while he got all the words in all the right places, he wasn’t trying to sound like Jerry. He was doing his own thing, and it was working. In short order, I was dancing along with the rest of the crowd.

Back in my younger days, when the band did their “drums and space” thing, that was bathroom and beverage time. No longer. This giant contraption with dozens of drums and assorted instruments was played by three members of the band — and that’s when I noticed the haptic seats. When the drums hit certain notes, I could feel it through the chair. The sound seemed to be three-dimensional, at times bouncing noticeably off the front, back, and sides of the Sphere. But it wasn’t like panning a speaker left and right; it was all around me. And then Mickey Hart did something with an instrument called The Beam that triggered light effects that were unlike anything I had ever experienced before. A one-hundred-and-fifty-foot brain appeared on the screen, the nerves pulsating as if stimulated by whatever it was he was doing. It was incredible! I would pay the ticket price just to see that one aspect again.

As it was, we came back for the Friday show with better seats, and again on Saturday. Each night, the emotional impact grew. The old favorite songs were new again. I started to get it, to understand why the Dead got so big, so ongoing, and why the scene is still so vibrant today. It’s something profound, something beyond music. After the last show, while we were doing the exit shuffle, riding the escalators down, we found ourselves face-to-face with people on another escalator. Our eyes met, and we started cheering, not for the band, but for each other. That’s the kind of love and goodwill I encountered.

Back home, I sought out the local Dead cover band scene. To my amazement, I found around a dozen. Does any other band have a dozen cover bands in one town, or 1800 nationwide, with at least six being full-time touring acts? Dead & Company called their Sphere residency “Dead Forever;” given what I saw and felt, it does seem like the long, strange trips will be going on for a long, long while.

— Albert Barlow

In 2023, Dead & Company announced that their current tour would be their last. They hadn’t played San Diego since 2021. I had to travel to Los Angeles to see the second show of that last tour at the Kia Forum and then to San Francisco to see the very the last one at Oracle Park. But just because they’re no longer touring doesn’t mean they’re no longer playing, which explains their residency at The Sphere. Or helps to explain it.

I frequent a bar in Coronado. One of the bartenders there is Cassie. She’s tall, with dusty blonde hair, the most beautiful brown eyes I’ve ever seen, and she’s drop dead gorgeous. That aside, she’s got heart and soul and is a Deadhead. One day, I went in for a beer. Cassie gave me a wide smile; her eyes sparkled. “I just got a bunch of tickets for Dead & Company shows at The Sphere.”

My interest was piqued. “How do I get in on that action?”

“I got tickets for the first weekend and second weekend. I think we’re going on the second weekend.”

“That’s the weekend I want to go!”

Buzz began to build within the local Dead community; people wanted to know who was going to which show. It intensified when the first clips hit the internet after the opening show on May 16. I didn’t want my experience to be spoiled, so I resolved to avoid them. But the thing about spectacles is that you want to look at them. Happily, they didn’t lessen my excitement about the real thing.

Cassie, her friend Fil, Evan and I were the Coronado Tribe, headed for the May 24 show. Unlike Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo in Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, we opted to fly instead of drive. (Cassie let me know which flight to book and already had a hotel lined up.) Like Duke and Gonzo, we had plenty of drugs to keep us company: eight hits of LSD (4 microfiche and 4 liquid gels), five infused joints with kief and rosin, one pressed Ecstasy pill, sixteen Molly caps, four cannabis pens, one bottle of 1000 milligrams of THC tincture, and a quarter of mushrooms.

That Friday morning, Evan came to pick me up in his golf cart. Golf carts are not uncommon on the streets of Coronado. Evan is 26, and is in the Navy. The Navy promises one sort of adventure; our journey promised an entirely different sort. We met Cassie and her roommate Luke at their place to catch a Lyft to the airport. (Luke was heading to London and his flight was around the same time as ours.) Fil was already inside the airport bar, waiting for us and drinking a beer. Cassie and Evan opted for Starbucks, but I stayed with Fil and ordered a $14 Tito’s & soda on the rocks. I’m not a big fan of flying, so a stiff drink was in order. Fil is 43, svelte, and has eyes that pierce into one’s soul. That gives him authenticity.

We arrived at our hotel around 1:30. Fil had arranged for a suite at the Hilton Grand Vacations Club. After unpacking, it was time to change into our Dead attire and head out to Shakedown Street. For non-Deadheads, Shakedown Street is the designated vending area set up in the parking lots of Grateful Dead concerts. Vendors sell clothing, jewelry, arts and crafts, food, drinks, and illicit items. In this case, Shakedown Street was at Tuscany Suites & Casino, less than a mile away from The Sphere. We arrived at 4 pm, and after we had taken a couple of laps around the lot, we concluded that it wasn’t as robust as others we had visited. (I recently learned that the vendors eventually moved inside the hotel due to the heat.) Fil noticed something odd: “I don’t hear any tanks or see any balloons! Headshops sell tanks here in Vegas, though.”

Cassie bought a hoodie and we decided to walk towards the Sphere. Along the way, we passed by Lawry’s Prime Rib Steakhouse on Howard Hughes Parkway. I was telling my crew that the place was an iconic restaurant when I noticed something else: “There’s a headshop!” Inside, we learned that 2.2-liter nitrous oxide tank prices ranged from $45-$99. We all pitched in for the $45 tank and some balloons. People sell nitrous balloons for up to $20 at shows.

We found a staircase at a shopping center across the street from the Sphere to do our balloons. But we got kicked out by security immediately after doing our first round. We decided to head into the Sphere parking lot to see if there was a space for us to do our thing. First thing we saw were police officers getting ready for their concert shift. We needed a different spot after that encounter. We looped around and found an abandoned parking lot. There, we were free to do our derelict activities: inhaling balloons, smoking joints, and playing music.

After our frolic it was time to march to the Sphere (but not before hiding what was left in our tank in the bushes). We found the line to the entrance. While in line, I saw fellow wordsmith Emily Elizabeth Allison from San Diego. I went to say hello and get her thoughts. This is what I got.

Dead Forever

Giant round belly

against the sky,

an egg, giving birth

within itself

to itself.

Outside-in

swirling dervish

calling across dry sun,

an unforeseen spectacle

so full of nothing

but offering something…

spiraling dreams

in a bubble

that no dawn can burst.

You are a memory

of past desert days

and simpler times.

You are the magic ball

of the future

telling fortunes

in rapid blinks,

sensory reminders

of parts of ourselves

that had been forgotten

and now beg to be

remembered.

You are a balloon

with its exhale

catapulting itself

against hopeful blue

sky water.

You are my bucket of joy

and then my hollow of grief.

I never could have known

how I would be swallowed

into your orbit

and spun within your cycle

of a million stars.

You remain for me

a single planet

unmoving

like a gift

with no corners

or ribbons

and seemingly no end.

Perhaps,

like Christmas,

your smile will subside

and you’ll start a new list

of naughty and nice.

But for now,

you are the wizard

behind the curtain

showing all the love

and unexpected tears

are my own.

Decades ago

I never could have imagined

you are rolling up to my gaze

like God’s spaceship,

offering a portal

that demands no vehicle

but breath.

You, round star,

watch my arrival

then spin behind me

as life pulls me away

back to the sea.

You are indifferent

to my comings and goings

and still, I see your wink

inviting me back

each week

to swim in your sphere.”

Our seats were in the 300 section. Once at our seats, we ingested our LSD. The information I was getting on social media was that the 300 and 400 sections were the best for catching all the visuals of the show, and the floor was good for dancing, spinning and being up close to the band. I haven’t experienced the floor yet. (I stress “yet!”), but confirmation can be provided that the 300 section is good for the visual aspects. Viz: the doors opened to the Grateful Dead House in Haight-Ashbury while the “Music Never Stopped” and then everyone was floating up into outer space. Not to mention standing underneath a waterfall, letting the water run between my fingers and catching the rain with my mouth, only to arrive at that cathartic moment viewing Jerry’s silhouette during “St. Stephen.” The crowd on the floor looked like amoebas moving in their pseudopodal state.

The show ended and it was time to find our tank. Cassie had a pin on it, but wasn’t confident one of our brains would work enough to get us there. Good thing I’ve had children, because my fatherly instincts for finding the child kicked in, and we found our parking lot and continued our derelict activities. There was enough in the tank for two more balloons, and we smoked a joint. That was night one.

Next day was recovery by the pool, drinking beers, hitting the vapes, putting tincture under our tongues and relaxing. At one point, Cassie sat up from her lounge position and declared, “We fucking deserve this! I know all of us work so hard!” After sufficient relaxation, the plan was to get cleaned up and head to the Venetian for the Dead exhibit they had there. When we arrived at the Venetian, we learned the exhibit was (and is )at the Palazzo. Exhibits about the history of the Grateful Dead; I probably don’t need to recommend that. Cassie, Evan and I started eating mushrooms at a microdose pace; we didn’t want to trip out too hard before the show.

The Palazzo connects to the Venetian, and the Venetian connects to the Sphere. Because we were in Vegas with some time to kill before the show, we all splintered off to do some gambling. We set a meeting spot, and after meeting at our designated rendezvous location, we shared our stories of being up and down and happy to lose only around $60. We all considered that a win.

Time to go to the show. Night two was not as intense and I was able to grasp and capture everything better because I was in a more stable state of mind. We all opted to head back to our hotel after the show because we had to wake up at 7 am for a 9:30 flight. Our flight back only took thirty-six minutes, but we were stuck on the tarmac for over an hour because there was a plane with maintenance problems stuck at our gate. That was the worst thing that happened on our trip.

There were firsts for each one of us. It was my first back-to-back shows. It was Cassie and Fil’s first indoor show. It was Evan’s first Dead show ever, and the first time he did LSD. He had moments of going deep inside himself, trembling and being confronted with moments from his youth. He made it out with enlightenment. None of that can explain, nor can anyone explain what happened. As Cassie said, “It’s inexplicable!” Our own experience is the one we have. I got to share and rejoice with my sister and brothers.

As the late Bill Walton (Rest In Power) once said, “We all won, and everybody wins.”

Gabriel Garcia

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