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Front Page » September 22, 2009 » Opinion » Remembering Woodstock
Published 2,205 days ago

Remembering Woodstock

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Sun Advocate Columnist

Uncle Spud came through the door all decked out in a psychedelic-patterned puff-sleeved peasant shirt, bell-bottomed Levis and sandals. A flowery bandana was tied around his forehead and a string of beads dangled in the open front of his shirt. His small, rose-tinted granny glasses were set far out on his nose and he was carrying a tambourine in his hand. It didn't look like he'd shaved for a week.

"What happened to you?" I asked in total surprise, concern, and disgust, all at the same time.

"I'm reliving Woodstock," the hip-Spudster smiled. "It's been 40 years."

"You were not at Woodstock," I insisted. "An old redneck like you wouldn't have been caught dead at a hippy convention like Woodstock."

"It was not a convention," Spud corrected. "It was a three-day festival of love, peace, music, mud, and marijuana. I took Willie Nelson with me and he's never been the same."

"You never met Willie Nelson."

"Oh yes I did. He just smoked so much dope he doesn't remember."

"You must have been under the influence of something to go to a hippy 'happening' like that," I laughed.

"Under the influence of universal brotherhood, social justice and age of Aquarian spiritual enlightenment," he purred. "And besides, I wanted to see Jimi Hendrix and Credence Clearwater on stage."

"I thought you liked cowboy music."

"Credence Clearwater is cowboy music," Spud spat. "I rode the range for 30 years with an 8-track tape of Credence on the stereo speakers of Old Paint, my faithful pickup truck."

"So how much did tickets to Woodstock cost you?" I asked, cleverly changing the subject.

"They were charging 18 dollars," he said, "but everyone got in free. We just broke down the fences and ignored the ticket-takers. It was part of the free love, free will and free concert mentality of the times."

"That doesn't sound fair," I questioned. "The people who sponsored the event must have lost millions of dollars."

"Capitalist pigs," he intoned. "In a world of universal brotherhood everything should be free."

"Yea, unless you're the guy doing the selling," I chided.

"No comment," was his reply.

"So tell me, cool dude, what was it like to be at Woodstock?"

"It was groovy," he said with a wistful, far-off longing in his eye. "The music was great, the crowd was huge, the rain came down and everyone was wet, muddy, semi-naked and higher than kites. It was the ultimate far-out, greased-up, communal love-in."

"They say there were half-a-million people there."

"Yea and I remember most of their names," Spud grinned. "I think I kissed or shared a toke with everybody."

"Some say Woodstock was the defining moment of the 1960s," I offered. "What do you think?"

"Yea man, nothing was ever the same after Woodstock. Just a few months later we entered the 1970s. The girls all became feminists, rock-n-roll degenerated to disco, the guys all traded beads and sandals for leisure suits, the sexual revolution gave everyone herpes, and they ended the Vietnam war so we didn't have anything to protest anymore."

"Bummer dude," I sympathized.

"So where are all of the hippies today?" I asked.

"They turned into radical environmentalists," Spud said sadly. "The flower children are now as drab and green as cow manure. They've become tree-huggers, eco-warriors, nature Nazis and government functionaries."

"Do they still believe in peace and love?"

"Only for trees. Toward people and industry they are inflexible, intolerant and insufferable."

"Do you think they'll have a Woodstock for green people one of these days?"

"I don't think so," Spud opined. "They all sing the same old tune, and besides, any open space big enough to hold a concert is a wilderness study area now."

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September 22, 2009
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