Here is the poem that Laura Slusher gave to me last night. I read it on the air.
Forty Years So Far
(dedicated to David Gans)
by Laura Slusher
December 7, 2011
This personal story of love and true fun
Goes back to 1971.
That’s when my long, strange trip was begun.
Didn’t dream it would be a forty-year run.
I hadn’t yet heard, even late in November,
Of the “family” of which I’d soon be a member.
My life was to change on the seventh of December:
With love, light, and songs I clearly remember!
Before school it was dark out, and I’d hated to get out of bed.
But hate changed to love in the afternoon, when my friend approached me and said,
“Guess who’s playing tonight at Felt Forum: New Riders and then Grateful Dead.
Life is too short to do homework, let’s go to the city instead.”
There was little to lose so we hopped on a train,
We got off at Penn Station, into cold wind and rain.
The show had sold out, staying there seemed insane.
But by rushing back home we had nothing to gain.
Each time I yelled, “I need a ticket,” inside I would grumble and cuss.
Hours later, a man in a trench coat made the following offer to us,
“Gimme ten for each five-fifty ticket, and tonight you’ll see what’s all the fuss.”
I sat in the 12th row for the 6-hour show, and claimed a permanent seat on the bus.
Went to surprise shows like Gaelic Park, and to shows of great renown
Like the huge and legendary Watkins Glen and exhausting Englishtown,
Then came west for Winterland’s last, and settled in Oakland, the jewel in the crown.
Where the music never stopped, until tragically, I heard the bus broke down.
In the morning on the ninth day of August in 1995.
A friend called my office to tell me Garcia was no longer alive.
I thought no more Dead, no more joy, didn’t think any of us would survive.
But the music was in us, and much was done toward helping the Dead culture thrive.
I’m grateful for all the hearts and souls, the work of many hands,
The faith and Deadication of musicians, technicians, and fans.
For keeping the bus wheels turning, the credit is not just one man’s,
But I dedicate my poem to just one, and his name is David Gans.
For my 40th GD anniversary, I decided that a very good way
To acknowledge the special event in a valuable, meaningful way
Was to donate forty dollars to listener-sponsored KPFA.
And please note, it’s in David’s honor that I make this pledge today.