Memories from Blacksburg

Interview with Virginia Tech student Ally Larrick

I got an interesting call the other day from a Virginia Tech student who was writing a story on the life of Psychology Professor Joe Germana. Dr. Germana was a professor of mine from 1970-1972, and was an integral part of our little band of hippies. The amazing thing is, he is still teaching in the same department, and is soon to celebrate his 52nd year!

The interview with Ally was a real trip down memory lane for me, and an eye opener for her. Since many young adults her age do not even know what a Woodstock is, I had to ask her if she had heard about it. Of course, she said she had, but she really wanted stories that related to Professor Germana. Well, you just can’t get the essence of Joe Germana without understanding the aura of the time, so I did my best to re-create the vibes of 1960’s – 70’s Blacksburg. Of course, it is ethereal and intangible… you had to be there.

I told her about the early hippies in Blacksburg and how they were considered a strange minority. I told her about the fights we had with the rednecks and how the Blacksburg mountain hippie culture was born. Peace and love with leather and knives. I told her about our own hippie Fonzie with his long black hair flowing over his shoulders, his bare feet and studded jacket… and how he beat up rednecks at the drop of a hat.

I told her about eating LSD like it was candy, and how our growing need for more weed sparked an innovative capitalistic pot distribution empire with fingers stretching all along the East Coast. I told her about Andromeda and the hard rock heartbeat of the hip community. I did forget to tell her about the outdoor concert in the country where the whole band was tripping, and the lead singer (yours truly) was slamming the ground with a big club like the apes in 2001 A Space Odyssey. I think that’s the one where I threatened to beat Germana over the head with my club for no apparent reason.

I told her about our semi-conservative values, that even though we believed in free love, homosexuality was not a part of the equation. We still considered it strange… and traditional marriage was a given.

There were some problems, however. Even though our success at pot capitalism generated a wealthy class of dealers, our propensity for pleasure, and cocaine in particular, provided a drain for all that money to go through. Like Robin Williams said, “Cocaine is God’s way of saying, ‘you’re making too much money.'”

How does all this relate to Professor Joe Germana? Well, to be fair, he had nothing to do with the pot dealing network, the acid or the cocaine. But, since the movement began in the college community, and many of the students took his classes, he was a beloved part of something that blossomed into what would later be called the Woodstock Nation.

I don’t know how this interview affected Ally, but she did say that it opened up a whole new part of history that she knew nothing about. Sadly, as I wrote in From Woodstock To Eternity, the magic of peace and love and flower power was over in a few short years, replaced by booze and downers and acquiescence to the lower, baser elements. Such is the progression of man without the redeeming power of Jesus Christ.

Ally, thank you for the opportunity to relive a special time in the lives of all of us who were there. I hope your bio of the good Doctor Germana is successful. And to all my friends in Blacksburg and elsewhere from that magical era, I say this,

“for a little while, for a sweet moment in history, we were stardust, and we were golden.”

Woodstock Chapter – From Woodstock To Eternity

 

The Power of Woodstock Fever

Why Did Dustin Morgan Cry at Woodstock?

Excerpt from “From Woodstock To Eternity”

The images of the last three days roll through his mind like a video.  The overwhelming onslaught of people from everywhere.  The gathering of the tribes.  The exhilarating swells of peace and brotherhood.  The generosity of the hog farm, the open market of psychedelic drugs.  The acid reports.  The smiles on everybody’s faces, the “hello, brother”, “hello, sister”, “peace, man”, “this is far out, really far out”.  Jimi says it all in his brief chatter between songs,

“You proved to the world what can happen,” he says, “A little bit of love, and understanding, and sound.”

Hendrix goes straight from “Voodoo Child” into the opening notes of “The Star Spangled Banner”.  He raises his arm high in a salute to the crowd, his fingers formed into the peace sign.  The adoring audience flashes the sign back in unison.   The twisted, exploding version of the National Anthem paints the picture of everything the revolution stands for, and Morgan knows he is part of it.  Woodstock has sealed the deal; he has sold his soul.  A great swelling of emotion rises up in his heart, and he cannot contain it.  He raises both hands into the air, with his fingers forming the “V”, and cries like a baby.

Why did he cry? He just had an overflowing sense that all the Woodstock movement stood for was the real thing. And because it was the real thing, he was obligated to devote himself entirely to it. It was going to transform the world, it was based on brotherly love, and it just felt so good to be a part of it. But some people were not going for it…

“If they think I’m going to grow my hair out and wallow in the mud, they got another thing comin’!”

In time, the innocent Peace and Love movement began to mutate into forms that were not very pretty…

Just as this generation of free spirits was certain that the Great Establishment wanted to enslave them and force their ways down their throats, they adopted the same role of tyranny, forcing their ideas of how things should be down everybody else’s throats. 

Now, the radical fanatics living in the glass dome in Eastern Wyoming really do want to make the whole world like Woodstock.  They want everybody to share everything.  And if you don’t want to share what you have, then into the concentration camp you go!  If you don’t agree with their ideas of social behavior and political correctness, then too bad, they are going to force their view of what is right and proper on you.  

From the “Woodstock” chapter

Unfortunately or fortunately, however you see it, the Woodstock fever faded away after a few short years. Oh, it’s still around in aging hippies, hip centers and liberal ideology, but the massive wave of hip culture has been pushed into obscurity. On the other hand, consider a fever that has not faded away, but has only grown over the last 2,000 years. Consider the woman at Bethany, anointing Jesus with costly oil  and wiping His feet with her hair and her tears.

Mark 14:8-9  “She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”

Why was this woman crying? In many ways, for the same reason Dustin Morgan cried at Woodstock. A truth bigger than herself had revealed itself to her. A truth bigger that the earth, or the universe, had suddenly taken root in her heart. This Man before her had come down from heaven to save her and deliver her from her sin. He was God in human flesh. And He came here to show the world there is a God, and His Son is Jesus, and He is going to transform the world with His love. Not only that, He had just transformed her. Knowing that this Son Who was sitting right in front of her had taken away her sin and made her a new person demanded that she give him her full devotion.

So, she poured out all that she had to anoint Him for burial.

Walk A Mile In My Shoes

Why should we walk a mile in someone else’s shoes?

 

From Woodstock To Eternity tries to address the ideology behind the peace and love movement in the 1960’s and ’70’s. The core principle revolved around the caution that if you didn’t really know what someone was going through, how they felt, the experiences they had, you could come to the wrong conclusion and judge them falsely. And by judging falsely, all of your subsequent perceptions of them would be false as well. Here is an excerpt from the book,

In 1970, Joe South wrote a song entitled, “Walk a Mile in My Shoes”, which defined the message that we should see, feel, and experience what someone is going through before we pass judgment on them.  This is the reason thousands of young people who already had it made tried to look, feel and act like they didn’t have a thing in the world.  They wanted to walk a mile in their shoes.  They wanted to experience poverty when they weren’t poor.  They grew their hair out so they could incur abuse for their shabby outward appearance, just like people who couldn’t help it did.  They wouldn’t admit it, or put it that way, but that’s what it boiled down to. 

Straight society would scorn them, avoid them, treat them like morally depraved, undesirable freaks. That’s what they looked like, anyway.  They wore their freak badge proudly.  They wanted to empathize with the downtrodden and join with them so they could experience the injustice.  If enough people did this, they could transform society, break down the barriers between classes, and permanently alter the hierarchy of mankind.

How do you walk a mile in someone else’s shoes?

This is the harder question. While we may be willing to subject ourselves to someone else’s trials and tribulations, there are areas that others simply cannot go. A white man can never know what it is like to be black. A man can never really know what goes on in a woman’s mind. This has been proven over the course of human existence. But, it is nevertheless a noble effort to try. This is how Dustin Morgan approached it,

Morgan was already an attractive, normal looking young man.  What would possess him to grow his hair out and intentionally make himself look unattractive?  He was already in the middle class.  What advantage could he gain by intentionally making himself look like a low class bum?  He already had a home, so why would he want to make himself look homeless?  He already had shoes.  Why would he want to run around barefoot?

Some people just think it’s cool to be poor, downtrodden, and talk like a hick.  There is a perception that people who don’t have anything are more real than people who do.  Because they have no possessions, they have nothing to put on airs about, so they have no hypocrisy.  And HYPOCRISY, of course, is the greatest evil of them all. 

Because they are crude, and have no training in social graces, they also escape the phony, high falutin’, high society arrogance that high class people show.  The high class looks down on the low class, because they think they are better than others, and we all know that no one is better than anybody else, and we are all equal in God’s sight.  The low class looks down on the high class because they think they’re so dang high-falutin’.  So the real people, the ones who tell it like it is, who have no hypocrisy, who have no airs, who really look at the inside and not on the outside are the uneducated, unsophisticated, down to earth good old boys. 

The answer is in The Golden Rule

“Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” This is the way I learned it. The actual verse from the New King James Version says,

“just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.” Luke 6:31

And, perhaps the best known verse is the Second Great Commandment. Jesus said,

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself” Matt 22:37

Doesn’t this say it all? Imagine yourself suffering the treatment, dealing with the issue, making the decisions that the other is doing, and how you would react, before casting judgment on what they are doing. Simple… but so few do it. Listen to Jesus and do what He says, and we can all “permanently alter the hierarchy of mankind.”

Woodstock Anniversary Promotion!

48th Anniversary of Woodstock: August 15-17, 2017!

From Woodstock To Eternity will be available on Promotion for the 48th Anniversary of Woodstock. Paperback now $14.95 (Reg $19.95) and Kindle now $2.99 (Reg $6.99)!

 Here is a brief intro to that time long, long ago, from the intro to the book.

August 15, 16, and 17, 1969.  Hundreds of thousands of hippies converge on a farm in upstate New York.  The Woodstock Festival became the symbol of a peace and love movement that came and went in just a few short years.  Though its time was short, the effects and influences of this era were profound, and are still with us today.  This book will take you on an odyssey from the development of the Woodstock ideology into the world of international pot smuggling, and through the spiritual victory of one who makes it to the other side. 

Woodstock 48th Anniversary: From Woodstock…

Every year when August rolls around, I have a little flashback to that weekend on Max Yasgur’s Farm in 1969.

I must admit, I have mixed emotions, feelings, and thoughts about the Woodstock

phenomenon, and those thoughts are what inspired me to write my book, From Woodstock To Eternity. I wanted to paint a real life history of the hippie era… its rise and fall, its ups and downs, the good, the bad and the ugly. A final scene in the Woodstock chapter captures the stardust…

He closes his eyes and lets the rhythmical power of the acid rock take him away.  The images of the last three days roll through his mind like a video.  The overwhelming onslaught of people from everywhere.  The gathering of the tribes.  The exhilarating swells of peace and brotherhood.  The generosity of the hog farm, the open market of psychedelic drugs.  The acid reports.  The smiles on everybody’s faces, the “hello, brother,” “hello, sister,” “peace, man,” “this is far out, really far out.”  Jimi says it all in his brief chatter between songs,

“You proved to the world what can happen,” he says, “A little bit of love, and understanding, and sound.”

Hendrix goes straight from “Voodoo Child” into the opening notes of “The Star Spangled Banner.”  He raises his arm high in a salute to the crowd, his fingers formed into the peace sign.  The adoring audience flashes the sign back in unison.   The twisted, exploding version of the National Anthem paints the picture of everything the revolution stands for, and Morgan knows he is part of it.  Woodstock has sealed the deal; he has sold his soul.  A great swelling of emotion rises up in his heart, and he cannot contain it.  He raises both hands into the air, with his fingers forming the “V,” and cries like a baby.

From Woodstock To Eternity is a story of change, of mutation and renewal. In just a few short years, Dustin Morgan and his friend Cutter lament the passing of the beautiful people…

“… We used to talk about the reasons for war, why it was wrong, what made up the human condition, what could be done to improve on that condition.  All we wanted was brotherhood, and good vibes; it was enough just to groove on a good rock beat and hallucinate.”

“Yeh, I know what ya mean.  Where did all those people go?  A whole society has suddenly disappeared!  Did they all vanish into thin air?  Did someone throw some kind of cosmic switch that instantly transformed a whole generation?  It’s like an alien mother ship slowly cruised around the world with a long vacuum hose dangling down to earth, sucking up the beautiful flower people, leaving behind nothing but dull-witted, lecherous, party ‘til you puke derelicts.” 

Cutter goes on,

“Now, the only thing anyone talks about is, ‘Let’s get drunk, let’s get stoned, hey, look at that chick!’  Slobber, drool.  Instead of ‘Why is there air?’ the deepest, most profound question anybody can come up with is, ‘Hey man, got any coke?’”

On the one hand, I wrote the story to give those of us who were there, in that time, a walk down memory lane. It blossomed in Haight Ashbury and peaked at Woodstock, but the hippie movement soon took a downward spiral into debauchery and depravity. Morgan witnessed it for himself at a rock festival in Evansville, Indiana.

The kid is a total mess.  His hair is not quite shoulder length, knotted and disheveled like a bad case of bed head.  His shirt is torn and unbuttoned, hanging loose.  His pants are halfway down his rear, sagging over his bare feet.  His shoulders are stooped and rounded in a slouch… a filthy lock of hair dangling over his face as he gazes downward.  Morgan thinks to himself,

“Is this the picture of the typical hippie?  Is this what the world thinks we are?  No wonder they think we’re disgusting.  I think it’s disgusting.”

The image of the kid playing in the sewage plagues Morgan from that time on.

“Has Woodstock Nation come to this?  This isn’t stardust and golden; this is space aliens in the sewage.  A wasted kid, totally stripped of all decency, full of downers, playing in the piss?  This is pathetic.”

Dustin’s Dad gives him a wise analysis,

“If you’re wondering why all this is crumbling around you, it’s because you have left Jesus out of the equation.  You want the results, but you don’t want to obey the Giver of the results.  Therefore, the Giver withholds His hand.”

Next: The Turn to Eternity 

Richie’s Reviews Gives Four Stars

From Woodstock To Eternity Gets Four Star Review From R. W. Lang

Hello and a Very Happy and Blessed 2017 to everyone!! I just came across this review from Richie’s Reviews for my Christian Adventure Novel, From Woodstock To Eternity and thought I would share it. I encourage everyone to click on the link and visit his site, as well as read and comment on his review.

2017 promises to be  a very good year in many ways. For those of you who were left hanging on the cliff ending, I have already started writing the sequel, which will reveal what

Are you Dustin Morgan?

happened to Dustin Morgan, and how God again worked miraculously in his life, but only after he submitted to some very difficult commands from Scripture. The name of the next book is “The Steel Wall”, but more on that in a future post.

For now, please visit Richie’s Reviews and see his great review of my book, and also, please go to my Amazon page and leave your own review for From Woodstock To Eternity. I believe this book has a valuable message, and the best way to spread it is through many good reviews.

Thanks so much, and again, DREAM BIG!!!

Happy 2017!!!

Discounts on Create Space and Kindle!!!

Price Reduced for Christmas! Get $5.00 off From Woodstock To Eternity!!

Two discounts are now available for the wild tale of deliverance – From Woodstock To Eternity

From Woodstock To Eternity

Go to www.createspace.com/4936312 or search From Woodstock To Eternity in the Createspace.com store and enter discount code RAXXKE82

Get the reduced price of $14.95 for From Woodstock To Eternity.

Go to Amazon to get the Kindle version of From Woodstock To Eternity for only $2.99

These Discounts Will Go Through The New Year 2017!!!

For those who have not yet read this book, it is a highly entertaining story of the hippie era and a moving tale of deliverance. For this Christmas season, it is a stirring account of what Jesus can do to transform a life.

Amazing Real Book May 2, 2015

Amazing Real Book!!! Thank you for writing it and then Sharing it with us!!! Oh how I

remember the days of my youth!!! My Parents were so right about my music and lots of other things!!! I see now that I am older, THANK YOU AGAIN !! Loving the readings in this BOOK!!!

LIVE THIS ADVENTURE YOURSELF May 2, 2015
INCREDIBLE, VERY ENTERTAINING,GETS YOUR ATTENTION IMMEDIATELY AND DOESN,T LET UP.
WOW!!!!! FROM ANOTHER PERSON WHO ATTENTED WOODSTOCK. THE READER WILL GET THE
FEELING THAT THEY ARE ACTUALLY THERE, LIVING THIS ADVENTURE. YOU ARE LEFT TO FORM
ON OWN CONCLUSIONS ON WHAT IS RIGHT OR WRONG, THE MORAL IMPLICATIONS OF DECISIONS
MADE BY DUSTIN MORGAN ARE OPEN TO INTERPRETATION. AWESOME!!!! I HIGHLY RECOMMEND
THIS
Powerful! January 21, 2015
There is only one possible way this man could have lived through all of this and come out of it mentally stable, emotionally balanced, and spiritually whole. This is the power of God. I promise, you will not regret reading this book!
 You made me feel like I was on the plane with you. Actually, I think I would have been in the “drop zone” waiting for the goodies! Very descriptive, accurate, and well-written. Rick Blaisdell -Pastor Renewed Life in Jesus Church and Author of One Life to Give-Living Water for Thirsty Souls.
 It arrived from Amazon Saturday afternoon and I finished it Monday morning. Couldn’t put it down. It was really intense.

 

Old Hippie Reunion in Blacksburg, VA

News Flash! Get Together Steppin Out Weekend August 5&6

An event that is destined to be is now coming together for everyone who was a part of the magical time in Blacksburg, VA from the late 1960’s thru the 1970’s.  Sparked by the book, From Woodstock To Eternity, the lofty memories can put on life as we make

SteppinOutTShirt_2016

SteppinOutTShirt_2016

concrete plans to meet for a grand reunion during the Steppin Out Festival on Friday and Saturday, August 5 & 6 in downtown Blacksburg, VA.

Ever since From Woodstock To Eternity came out in early 2015, a feeling of excitement has been growing among those who were a part of that era.  For many, it has reminded them of a time gone by that held very fond memories.  Like most fond memories, we tend to embellish them a bit, but good memories are good memories, and in this day of who knows what? they can be a welcome diversion.

Please get the word out any way you can.  Share this blog, share each other’s posts.  Let’s make this viral – it should be a lot of fun.

We all know who each other is…  See you there!!!

The Execution or the Plan

The Plan is the Heart of the Matter

Most of the time, in normal life, our plans are good and solid, but they don’t come to pass due to poor execution.  Especially if it is delegated to incompetent or untrustworthy people.  Even when we try to carry out our own plans we can mess up somewhere along the line.

Making plans

Making plans

This applies especially to big plans, such as life goals, major moves, decisions for your family, etc.  If it seems like your plan is just not coming together, there is one factor that everyone must be willing to consider.  Your plan is wrong in the first place.  This is not a new idea.  Proverbs 19:21 says, There are many plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless the LORD’s counsel–that will stand.

Plan Execution

Plan Execution

This applies even when your plans are meant for good.

But how about when they are not meant for the most upright of goals?  This is the problem people outside of the law have to face whenever they are caught.

In the book, From Woodstock To Eternity, Dustin Morgan has to face this contradiction in his life when he ends up in a lonely jail cell.

“If I had only done this, or not done that, then it would have worked.”

In this case, it wasn’t the execution – it was the plan!  The vial of coke was there, because that’s how he had planned to live. 

He stares at the blank, pale yellow walls of his prison cubicle, and allows the reality to flow in.  He knows that as long as he continues living this way, the vulnerability will be there – like stripes on a tiger.  No amount of precautions or self-imposed checks and balances will guarantee it won’t happen again.  There will always be a forgotten roach in the ashtray, an open container in the car, a misplaced film tin in the trunk, an empty vial in the suitcase.  And they will always lead back to this place.  It’s worse than that.  The next time he gets caught, it’ll lead to the state penitentiary.

This leads him to a life changing conclusion:  It’s Not Working!!!

Life can be confusing.  Is it a matter of pressing on?  Is this just a test?  Was I wrong in

Indecisive

Indecisive

the first place?  How will I know?  It is very easy to get caught in the middle of indecision.

We all have to reach this point when God is trying to get our attention.  If we do not let him deep inside to change the way we have always thought things should be, we will never see total victory.

Be willing to give your plans to God and let His counsel stand in your life!

New Edition Coming Soon

From Woodstock To Eternity Collector’s edition expiring soonFront Cover

The 45th Anniversary Collector’s Edition of the smash hit,

From Woodstock To Eternity, will undergo some changes in the following weeks, so get your unabridged, Anniversary edition now!

There are a number of reasons for the update:

  1.  It is no longer the 45th Anniversary.  As a matter of fact, this August 15,16, and 17. 2016 will be the 47th anniversary.  I am gearing up for a big push for the 50th Anniversary in 2019.
  2. Even though I love every story in the book, and believe that it all contributes to the ambiance of the era, It is common knowledge in the “professional” writing world that a book should be (or must  be) shorter that this one is, so I will be cutting some passages from the current edition
  3. Many writing articles also have given me some great advice on techniques, from spicing up the characters to amplifying conflicts and episodes, so the new version may have some surprises in it.
  4. The current Anniversary edition is indeed a collector’s issue.  I have some good indicators that it will eventually take off, and this unabridged, from the heart telling of the journey From Woodstock To Eternity will be a treasure for the first faithful bunch.  I love you all, and I will keep you posted.

Get the unabridged Collector’s Edition while it is still available through Christmas!!