A Tribute to Ralph

Ralph the Dog:  A legend in her own time!

One of the only subjects who did not get an alias in the book, From Woodstock To Eternity is the hero’s blonde companion, Ralph.  Ralph was unique from all other dogs in the world, because she was a human hidden inside a dog body.  That’s right, I said “she”.  This female German Shepherd/ Border Collie mix was called Ralph because she had an owner for a couple of weeks after she was born, and he said that she just looked like a Ralph.  So, he named her Ralph, which turned out to be the perfect name for a blonde, female German Shepherd.

Ralph could communicate with her eyes and her tail.  Any combination of expressions from these two features would say what she wanted to say.  She could plead, show that she was happy or sad, know when she was in trouble, and give advice on world affairs.  She was a diplomat of the highest order, making herself known in all of the Blacksburg community in the early 1970’s.

From Woodstock To Eternity

From Woodstock To Eternity

Ralph was even featured in a book about the culturally explosive times of the Woodstock era.  Immortalized in print, she became one of the leading supporting characters to her owner, Captain Dustin Morgan.  Here is an excerpt….

You’ve always got the one companion who never leaves you, is always there, patiently waiting.  She doesn’t care if you’re drunk, or tripping, or speeding, or early or late, or anything; as long as she is with you.  She doesn’t complain, doesn’t criticize, doesn’t

Ralph at two years old

Ralph at two years old

whine.  Yes, she’s been sitting out in the truck for hours now, just waiting for you to come back.  That’s what I need to do.  I need to get up right now and go out West.  I need to go to Colorado.

….. Sitting faithfully in the passenger’s seat, overjoyed at his return, is his female companion; his blonde German Shepherd, Ralph.

“Ralphie, girl, guess what?  We’re goin’ to Colorado!  What do you think about that?”

Pound, pound, pound. 

The tail beats against the seat cushion as she licks his hand and whimpers with glee that her master is back.

“You know you’re just a dog.  You’re not a human, and you can’t talk.  You’re never gonna talk, even though you think you can talk.  Now just get all that out of your head.”

Pound, pound, pound.

People still talk about her today, and she will forever be known as Ralph the Dog.

Beans and Rice Syndrome

Otherwise known as Dependency Syndrome, I Have Rights Syndrome, They Owe Me Syndrome, and Victim Syndrome

Definition of a Syndrome:

  • a group of signs and/ or symptoms that consistently occur together or a condition characterized by a set of associated symptoms.  Eg.  Down’s Syndrome,  Attention
    Don't Mess With Texas Syndrome

    Don’t Mess With Texas
    Syndrome

    Deficit Syndrome

  • a characteristic combination of attitudes, opinions, emotions, or behavior that constitute a set values, character qualities, and perspectives on life  Eg.  Don’t Mess With Texas Syndrome, I’m Number One Syndrome,  The Heart of a Pioneer Syndrome.

In this excerpt in From Woodstock To Eternity, Dustin Morgan finds himself at the food kitchen of the hog farm at the Woodstock festival, contemplating his free food.  He is glad to get it, but it brings up a boat load of questions about the virtues and non-virtues of getting a free lunch.

“Yeh, man, peace and love, ya know.  We all gotta take care of each other or we’re doomed.”

“You got that right.  Y’know, this food is a life saver, but I almost feel a little guilty, like I shouldn’t be taking a free handout.”

“Ah, no, man.  Don’t feel guilty about it.  This is what it’s all about.” 

“Yeh, a lot of us got caught off guard.  But up to now, I always took care of myself.  I was just thinkin’; if I left home and went out on my own, then I should have to accept the fact that I’ve got to provide for myself.  After all, if I want to leave my parent’s authority, then I’m also gonna have to make do without their care and responsibility.”   

“Huh?”

“Look at it from the other side.  If I provide for myself, I earn the right to be my own boss, right?  That means I don’t depend on them to provide for me or protect me anymore.  But if I goof up when I’m out on my own, I got nobody to blame but myself; my parents are no longer responsible for my mistakes.  Does that make any sense?”

“Yeh, I guess so, man.  You are getting’ way out there, though.  What’s all this got to do

Beans and Rice Syndrome

Beans and Rice
Syndrome

with a plate full of rice?”

“I’m getting to that.  OK, here I am, out on my own.  I left straight society behind, and I am sitting in the middle of Woodstock.  Now, today, I suddenly discover that I am unable to take care of myself, and that dilemma rattles up a nerve somewhere inside me that I failed.  I failed to see far enough ahead, or whatever.  So, do I expect the Establishment to air drop supplies down to me because I didn’t plan ahead?  No!  That would mean I am still obligated to them, because I need them.  Can you see that?”

“I don’t know, man.  I just live on the commune and they feed me.”

“What if you left the commune?  Would you still expect them to feed you?”

“I guess not.  I never really thought about it.”

Cosmo is living on handouts and he never thought about it.  That also means he never thought about breaking out and living on his own.  His initiative and creativity had already been snuffed out by the “Beans and Rice Syndrome”.

This Syndrome now affects complete segments of our society as they get more and more used to living off of government handouts.  Like I said in the post, You Get Tired of Steakmost people start getting bored of their existence, no matter how  good it is, once it becomes routine.  People who don’t have to work, who are living on handouts, also get stuck in a routine.  They never seem to get tired of their existence.  In fact, it goes the other way, they get used to living in their government sponsored poverty, and they lose all diligence and effort it takes to break out into prosperity.

Like Dustin said, helping each other out temporarily until they can get back on their feet is a good thing, But don’t let yourself get caught up in the freebies.  Flee from it like the plague, or you will end up with the dreaded societal disease called Beans and Rice Syndrome.

Some Left Woodstock & Some Are Still There

In a recent radio interview with my old friend Charlie Olson, at East Texas Broadcasting,

KBUS Community Calendar Paris, TX

KBUS Radio

he was excited to talk about Woodstock, because it is such an icon in American Folklore.

Whether you agree with it or disagree, everybody has heard about the Rock Festival in the ’60’s that came to symbolize the hippie movement.

I remembered a friend I worked with that had been to Woodstock, was a little older than me, and still grew his hair out past his shoulders, clinging to the image he had in the old days.  I used to say to him, “you know, the difference between you and me is that I left Woodstock, but you are still there.”

I see this concept in all the “veterans” of Woodstock that I have met over the years.  The ones who have left are usually found in churches, where their previous affiliation with the psychedelic sub-culture is seldom mentioned.  The ones who are still there are usually

Woodstock Festival 1969

Woodstock Festival 1969

found on motorcycles, or in old pickup trucks with long gray hair and whiskers.  The funny thing is, in Texas at least, they both share the same political views about the government.  Leave my guns alone, kill the terrorists, and get out of my life.

The spiritual view is what is most important, however.  The Bible tells us

“…forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14

Also, “…if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new”  2 Corinthians 5:17

The popularity of the Woodstock ideology was that it would bring peace and love to the world, as if it could be a substitute for Christianity.  Those who are still in Woodstock are still hanging on to these ideals – they do not want to forget those things that are behind them.  Those who have left have found a new life in Christ, and have let Woodstock pass away.

Perhaps the ones who are in the worst shape are those who have become new, but have not completely left Woodstock.  But that is a topic for another story.

I Remember When

Read this excerpt from a good friend of mine from the Woodstock era:

Can’t believe how much I enjoyed reading your book!
Of course you know I could identify with all the high school and B’burg references.
Let tell you some of my memories of some of the specific incidents you wrote about:
   I was with you and Gregg for the Hardees incident. I recall Slate showing up with a crow bar that be kept under the front seat of his Mustang.

From Woodstock To Eternity

From Woodstock To Eternity

I also ran into Bill on my way home from a summer construction job in DC and told him I thought he had been killed in Vietnam. Don’t remember if I  knew he had died.
   Also ran into Steve E at a head shop in Falls Church and he was pretty strung out at the time.
    I had my draft physical the same day as crazy Jim and rode on the bus from C’burg to Roanoke with him. Remember him in his big black boots and white underwear for the group part of the physical.
    I went to Atlantic City Pop Festival where I heard about Woodstock. But decided not to go to W because I knew I would miss some work and could not afford to do that. Did also go to Evansville though….
Nothing like an eye witness account to tell the stories!!
I believe there are many out there with bottled up tales that they would like to tell.  One of the missions of this blog is to provide a forum for people to vent and tell their stories, so please… leave your comments.
Due to the nature of the culture, it may sound impossible, but kindly leave out the profanity, sex and crude talk.  We want everybody to be able to enjoy it.

From Woodstock to Eternity is here!!!

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From Woodstock to Eternity is here!!  A story of hope and deliverance!  Free Look Inside!

Why is a story about hippies important?  What’s the big deal?

  • A lot of people need hope and deliverance in this day.
  • We all struggle with the inward spiritual battle between right and wrong – between knowing what we ought to do and what we want to do.

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