Ski Texas!

When discussing March weather, we often use lighthearted wildlife references … “it came in like a lion, and went out like a lamb” (or vice versa).  This is, of course, a popular old maxim but, given that I live in Texas, a different meteorological animal has been on my mind of late … Punxsutawney Phil who, on February 2, predicted “six more weeks of winter.”

For most of the United States, that venerable groundhog’s forecast likely provoked little more than a smile.  The state of Texas, though, seems to have heard Phil’s prognostication less as a prediction and more as a challenge declaring: “Six weeks is for sissies!  Here in Texas we are going to compact those six weeks of winter into a mere six days!  Just watch us!”

And, as we all know, the stretch of Arctic-like weather that descended upon the Lone Star State was one for the record books!  

Power outages … frozen water pipes … impassable roads … food shortages … temperatures below zero!  And while some may have flashed back to the 1968 movie “Ice Station Zebra,” it wasn’t long (thankfully) before the snow melted and the shorts and sandals reappeared.

While those frigid days were daunting, they served to remind me why my family moved here from the Northeast more than thirty years ago.  Simply put, anybody who has lived in upstate New York knows something about cold weather … the four seasons in those parts are: …  Almost Winter …. Winter … Still Winter … and Road Construction.

Making the Family Proud

Anyone with children has undergone the rite of passage of a youngster who, with a roll of the eyes and a barely suppressed sigh, stalks away from the parent in utter embarrassment.  Usually this teen-aged behavior is brought on by the parent having said or done something the child is certain will cause lasting shame for him or her (not to mention the family).  And it doesn’t take much to bring about this sort of crisis  … a mistaken observation about a current teen idol … wearing clothes deemed too old fashioned … or even emphasizing that: “be home by 10:00” means “be home by 10:00.”

Luckily, these sorts of teen-aged behaviors are transitory in nature.  Most often, the youngster comes to understand that Dad and Mom are okay after all, and that they do not present as much of a threat to one’s dignity as originally thought.

This all changes, of course, when pictures of Dad appear in the national media showing him strutting through the United States Capitol carrying a lectern purloined from the office of the Speaker of the House.  And, let’s face it, dinner table conversation can be difficult when Dad tries to explain why he lost his job as CEO of a digital marketing firm after being charged with a Federal crime.

Following the outrage in Washington on January 6, a number of individuals have been arrested, while many others, no doubt, wonder if they will be the next taken into custody.   As things continue to unfold, though,there has been a shift in tone of social media posts by some who took part.  One real estate agent, who initially described the rally as a “prelude to war” while vowing to “break windows,” has more recently said she thought she was going to be taking part in a peaceful political march, while condemning the violence that occurred.

To paraphrase Samuel Johnson, the prospect of federal agents knocking on the door can focus the mind wonderfully.

When facing difficult choices, it is always useful to ask oneself a simple question: “How will I feel if my actions are exposed to the light of day?”  In other words, will I be able to defend my actions if others learn what I have done?  Can I explain my decision to my family?

For those already arrested, the process of having to explain one’s choices before a judge has begun.  There are many others, though, whose actions were recorded on January 6, but who have not yet been identified or taken into custody.  For them, one can only imagine the difficulty of explaining to a child why he just saw his parent’s face among a crowd of individuals committing criminal acts at the United States Capitol.

As one business executive said following his dismissal for taking part in the outrage in Washington: “This was the single worst decision of my life.”

Indeed.

Speaking Truth to Power

Kudos to Rev. Jim Gigliotti of St. Andrews Catholic Church in Fort Worth, Texas.

During a sermon in early November, 2020, he made his views on President-elect Joe Biden abundantly clear, referring to him as a “man without value.”  Pointing out that Biden is pro-abortion, Gigliotti reminded us that this stance is in direct opposition to a fundamental teaching of the Church.  He went on to describe Biden as “not a good Catholic.”

Sensing that not all in attendance would agree with his position, Gigliotti underscored that it was his responsibility as pastor to speak clearly and forcefully about a basic Catholic belief such as abortion, and that he was doing so with the understanding that it might upset some people.  To that end, he said, he was prepared to “let the chips fall where they may.”

It takes courage to speak out publicly – to speak truth to power – when a leader fails short and, for that, Father Gigliotti deserves our praise and admiration.  In his widely publicized remarks, he left no doubt that, in his mind, Biden’s beliefs – at least on the topic of abortion – deserve only scorn and repudiation.

That said, it occurs to me that in addition to abortion, there is at least one other issue within the Catholic church that Gigliotti might consider addressing with equal force: the multitude of children who, for years, endured sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic Clergy.  In his sermon he could also articulate and deplore the continuing abject failure of Church leaders to deal effectively with this scandal, and the horrors inflicted upon our most vulnerable.

Clearly, it is time for another of Gigliotti’s “scorched earth” sermons.  And while he hesitated not a moment in directing his recent scornful remarks at leaders in Washington, this time he ought to identify and excoriate failed leaders in another important location … the Vatican.

At the end of his recent sermon in Fort Worth, Gigliotti expressed his airy willingness to “let the chips fall where they may.”  In applauding his willingness to speak out as he did, though, one is left to wonder whether he would be equally cavalier about the manner in which critical remarks about the Child Sex Abuse Scandal might be accepted and responded to by Church hierarchy.   

If past history is any indication, the outcome would not be pretty.  

The Man Next Door

Our new neighbor seems nice.

He appears to be of retirement age and, though he moved in about a year ago, he keeps pretty much to himself.  Somebody said he came here to the Midwest from one of the New England states, and that he had spent a number of years in the Navy.  He lives alone.

A large American flag flies over his front yard, and he is frequently seen in his garage working with his large collection of tools.  He doesn’t socialize much, but he has a couple of buddies with whom he goes golfing and boating.  It’s nice to see retired guys enjoying life.

He must be a religious sort, for there is a statue of Jesus on his front steps and a sticker on his car reading: “I’m Catholic and I Vote.”  He volunteers at a nearby convent where he drives ailing nuns to medical treatment, and he recently began working with a local community theater group offering programs for adults and young folks.

There are many kids here on our quiet cul-de-sac, and we parents keep a close eye on them.  Our own children are well-mannered … when they are playing outside, they wave at our neighbor and say: “Hello.”  He always waves back at them.

We don’t know much about this fellow, but it doesn’t seem like we should be concerned about him.

Should we?

This “new neighbor” is not an actual person.  Instead, he is a composite of details unearthed by the Associated Press (AP) in a recent search for 1,700 disgraced former Catholic clergy living clandestine lives in unsuspecting communities across the United States.

In their exhaustive October, 2019, report, the AP located fallen clerics employed as school teachers, sex assault counselors, nurses and volunteers working with at-risk children.  Some of these individuals lived near playgrounds and day care centers and, since leaving the church, many have been charged with crimes including sexual assault and possession of child pornography.

And, most distressing, these individuals … each of whom had been removed following credible allegations of sexual abuse … were living in unwary neighborhoods absent supervision by the Catholic Church or notification to any government entity.

When asked about this sad state of affairs, Church leaders maintain that once a priest is dismissed there is no way to keep track of him.  But this is simply not true.

In November, 2018, for example, the Archdiocese of New Orleans released the names of 57 clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors over the years in southeast Louisiana.  In revealing the names of the abusers, the Archbishop said surviving former clergy on the list were notified that their names were about to be made public; he went on to note that efforts were undertaken to notify family members of deceased former religious as well.

It should come as no surprise that other Dioceses and Archdioceses have that same ability.  Consider, for example, the many accused clergy who continue to receive pensions or health insurance from the church … it has been suggested that dioceses should devise a system making those benefits contingent upon defrocked priests self-reporting their current addresses and employment

No longer can we allow Catholic leaders to assert that fallen clergy removed from ministry are not their problem.  The failure to monitor predator priests and report their presence in our communities is inexcusable for, as American author Dean Koontz warns:

Evil is no faceless stranger, living in a distant neighborhood. 

Evil has a wholesome, hometown face, with merry eyes 

and an open smile. Evil walks among us, wearing

a mask which looks like all our faces.

Stop … Just STOP!

Well, we just finished watching the news and, as usual, my impulse is to unplug the television once and for all.  The stories this evening were virtually identical to the ones with which we were bombarded yesterday, and there is little doubt that tomorrow’s will be much the same:

Blah, blah, blah, Coronavirus, blah, blah, Protests, blah, blah, Unemployment, blah, blah, Trump, blah, blah, Biden, blah, blah, Quarantine, blah, blah, Fauci, blah, blah, Hoax, blah, blah, Stock Market, blah, blah, blah… and so on.

And if, for some reason, the punishment brought by the 4pm news is insufficient, we can tune in and inflict it upon ourselves again at 5pm, 6pm, and even 10pm.  And this, of course, is only the local network version of things … a variety of cable news channels are accessible round the clock, with choices sufficient for virtually any point on the political compass.

As if being virtually housebound these days is not stressful enough, the 24-hour news cycle with “this just in” and “breaking now” bulletins is wearing me out.  And, frankly, a “users guide” would come in handy in deciphering this new vocabulary permeating conversations all around us.  Yes, I get it when someone uses words like hoax, hate, conspiracy, leftist and far right.  But where did “QAnon” come from?  And “Antifa” … what is that?  What about “Cancel Culture”?  Near as I can determine, my lack of familiarity with those terms means I am not fully “woke” … whatever the hell that means.

Hunkered down in our little abode, we have adopted some strategies to keep ourselves safe and (relatively) sane in navigating the pandemic.  We wear masks … wash our hands frequently … use hand sanitizer liberally … maintain social distance … and avoid exposure in public spaces.  We have also found it important to limit the amount of news to which we subject ourselves.  For us, one half hour of local news is just about right, with the same amount of time allotted for national and international broadcasts.

In adopting this regimen, we have also limited our interactions on social media platforms such as Facebook.  As a reflection, perhaps, of the very contentious political divide in our world, some “friends” seem less reluctant than ever to express incendiary points of view and, as a result, an electronic meeting place that used to be, for the most part, enjoyable, is now a minefield that cannot be safely traversed.  As an aside, it may be time for a discussion of the very definition of “friend” in the context of Facebook, especially since that word, itself, has now become a verb rather than a noun.

In our defense, we are not Luddites … we read three newspapers each day, and follow several reputable news sources.  And, as it turns out, having to sort through the plethora of conspiracy-oriented and downright outlandish claims populating the airwaves has turned us into better consumers of the news.  Now, when a piece of information strikes us as questionable, a quick visit to a non-partisan fact-checking internet page helps separate the wheat from the chaff.

Neither are we strangers to the world of electronic communication.  Consider, for example, the networking platform Zoom which, during the pandemic, has given us the opportunity to interact with and enjoy family and friends simultaneously in multiple locations.  And despite my earlier criticism, we have come to know Facebook (when properly guided) as a superb place for folks to meet and share information.  We administer two Facebook groups and the key to their success and welcoming nature has, in part, been the express limitation on political discussion.

In the 1976, movie Network, Peter Finch played the part of Howard Beale, a disaffected and deeply troubled news reporter overwhelmed by what he saw as social ailments and depravity in the world.  As fans of that movie will recall, Beale’s signature lament was: “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it any more.”

Unlike Beale, the relentless media circus surrounding us doesn’t make me “mad as hell” … it makes me tired.

Looking back to a college class taken almost fifty years ago, it occurs to me that the young, irreverent professor in that room had the perfect solution for dealing with a contentious and confusing debate.  A master at provoking active discussion on a topic, his skill often resulted in two (or three) sides to an argument holding firm to their positions.  Then, when the argument seemed to have reached its peak, he would look around the room and declare: “Ah, to hell with it … let’s go get a beer.”

That was excellent advice then, and it is excellent advice now.

 I’m going to go get a beer.

Putting the “Hip” in Hippie

Pity the poor flower child who, in August, 1969, decided to take a little jaunt up to Bethel, New York, to join in something called the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival.  After loading a few friends in his car he set out, fully expecting a leisurely drive to Yasgur’s Farm, where he would pull into a parking lot next to the concert stage.  Instead, when our worthy young friend took the exit onto Route 17b, in Monticello, New York, he came face-to-face with a world-class traffic jam … everything headed toward Woodstock was completely stopped, with abandoned cars as far as the eye could see.  

Very quickly, two things became clear.  First, if this fellow was going to partake of any peace, love  and music over the next few days, he was going to have to walk.  Second, the distance from Monticello, New York, to Yasgur’s Farm is eleven miles.  And, if you are keeping score, that is eleven “country miles.”

For those in attendance at the original Woodstock Festival, having to trudge long distances amidst hordes of unwashed strangers likely qualifies as part of the experience … the “charm” … of the event.  And when you are young and caught up in the moment, well, the prospect of walking eleven miles was not a big deal.  But that was fifty years ago … how many of us would be up for that sort of a forced march today?

Let’s face it … the body of an aging hippie has endured a lot over the years.  Remember those long rides crammed in the back seat of somebody’s VW Beetle with three other folks?  Or those afternoons sitting in the lotus position while absorbing cosmic truths from Moonbeam and Zephyr?  Some of those memories may have faded (marijuana is reported to have that effect), but your hips and knees remember what you put them through and, lately, they have been demanding attention.

In the process of getting older, a number of those who sat for three days in the mud at Woodstock have likely already sought relief through the installation of a new hip.  If so, it may be time to form an organization called HIGH (Hips In Geriatric Hippies) to let others know how much that surgery improves quality of life.  Like, for example, being able to walk – pain free – round that meditation labyrinth in the backyard.  And for that dyed-in-the-wool hippie who has kept a list of the myriad of substances he put in his body over the years, a new hip provides one more … titanium!

As an aside, many of us likely remember the good old days when the words “joint replacement” had nothing to do with hips and knees.  Back then, that term simply meant you had to light up another doobie because the one you passed to your left around the campfire never made it back.

In 1985, the Bellamy Brothers released their classic work “Old Hippie,” in which they sing of a fellow clinging to his 60’s lifestyle as he cultivates “a little garden in the backyard by the fence.”  The good news is that a hip replacement frees us up to get back to tending that private crop we have so carefully nurtured over the years.

Because, goodness knows, these days we all need something to help take the edge off.

(Baseball) Diamonds Are Not Forever

When it comes to showing off new baseball stadiums, the Texas Rangers can’t catch a break.

In 1994, Globe Life Park (cost $191 Million) opened for business in Arlington, Texas.  Sadly, after only 113 games, the players went on strike, and the remainder of the season (including the World Series) was cancelled.  

As luck would have it, the Texas Rangers were preparing to open their brand-spanking-new Globe Life Field (cost $1.1 Billion) to kick off the 2020 season when the Coronavirus brought everything to a halt.  

Talk about bad luck!

The abrupt ending of the 1994 season was accompanied by much wailing and gnashing of teeth from team owners, television broadcasters and advertisers.  But there was one other less-well-known bit of fallout … I stopped going to Major League Baseball (MLB) games once and for all.  The way I look at it is simple … when MLB gave up on me by cancelling the World Series, I gave up on them.

I know my decision did not cause panic in board rooms across the MLB community, but it is a position that I have held to … pretty much.  Yes, I have fallen off the wagon a time or two over the years …for example, I simply could not resist a first-time visit to historic Wrigley Field on a trip to Chicago.  But if pressed about other MLB games I might have attended during my boycott, my defense would be simple … I was there only for the purposes of research and, as a former President once argued, I didn’t inhale.

Full disclosure, I have not entirely forsworn professional baseball … far from it.  Every winter, my wife and I count the days until we can begin our annual ritual of travel to minor league games across the United States.  The quality of play by the aspiring major leaguers we watch is always high, and the memories we collect are vivid.  For example, we won’t soon forget attending a game called in the fifth inning because of snow while watching the Casper (WY) Ghosts.  And we learned that if you arrive early enough at a Roswell (NM) Invaders game, you can watch the home team raking the infield and chalking the baselines.

For us, minor league parks always provide a delightful experience at a reasonable price.  In Pensacola, Florida, for example, the ridiculously low cost of a seat directly behind home plate provides an up-close look at the game as well as a lovely view of the Gulf of Mexico just over the center field wall.  An added bonus, of course, is the opportunity to pose for a picture with Kazoo, the team mascot.  And for a genuine “bucket list” experience, I had the good fortune in 2019, to throw out the first pitch at a Hyannis Harbor Hawks game in the fabled Cape Cod League.

Kokernot Field in Alpine, Texas

If you are a true baseball enthusiast, though, few experiences can compare with a ball game at Kokernot Field in Alpine, Texas.  Constructed in 1947 by Big Bend rancher Herb Kokernot, this beautiful park was built from native stone quarried on the Kokernot Ranch, with red clay for the infield brought in by boxcar from Georgia.  With a seating capacity of 1,400, fans in this idyllic setting are often treated to the sight of a homerun ball disappearing over the outfield wall in the general direction of the majestic Chisos Mountains just beyond.  Called the “Yankee Stadium of Texas,” Kokernot field is home to the Sul Ross University Lobos, and the Alpine Cowboys of the Pecos League.  

In 2020, Covid-19 has affected broad swaths of life and, no surprise, discussions about any possible start to the MLB season remain deadlocked.  What this means, of course, is that this year, instead of heading to the ballpark for an evening of Crackerjack, cold beer and yelling at umpires, we are left to contemplate the sorry spectacle of billionaires feuding with millionaires over the fate of an enterprise we used to know as “The American Pastime.”  

While disappointing, there is one distinct “up” side to this debacle … my 1994 decision to avoid MLB games has been renewed and strengthened.  The unbridled avarice of owners and players alike has reminded me, once again, of how completely out of touch these folks are with the world of the ordinary citizen and baseball fan.

During his tenure as manager of the New York Yankees, Casey Stengel became known for his sage witticisms.  One of his observations about baseball seems especially appropriate today: “There are three things you can do in a baseball game. You can win, or you can lose, or it can rain.”

There is not much doubt … the 2020 season has been postponed because of rain.

Say It Ain’t So, Willie!

When White Sox outfielder Shoeless Joe Jackson admitted to cheating in the 1919 World Series, a broken-hearted Chicago Daily News reporter begged him: “Say it ain’t so, Joe …”

Recently, a multitude of country music (and marijuana) fans experienced a similar “say it ain’t so” moment when Willie Nelson announced that he would no longer be smoking weed.  The shocking news quickly spread across the pot-smoking community, leaving many, well, needing a toke.  

The news was especially disheartening to Snoop Dogg who, in a recent interview, said Willie should be on the “Mount Rushmore” of pot smokers, pointing out that Willie was the only person to ever have out smoked him.

Willie’s unexpected announcement caused concern in several other areas as well:

The Stock Market  Knowing how Wall Street trembled when China stopped buying US soy beans, investors worried that the value of their cannabis stock would tumble when news of Willie’s abstinence went public.  As it turns out, the value of marijuana shares had already gone “up in smoke” over a year ago, so Willie’s newfound temperance had little impact.

Property Values in Sierra Blanca, Texas   With not much else to offer, this small west Texas Town is widely known as the “Border Patrol Checkpoint to the Stars.” Located on I-10 about 20 miles from the Mexican border and 85 miles east of El Paso, officers here have arrested a number of celebrities for drug possession … Fiona Apple … Armie Hammer … Nelly … Snoop … and, of course, Willie.  So what will happen to this little town if these famous people stop carrying drugs?  Will this place continue to exist?

Not to worry … Border Patrol agents in Sierra Blanca scan approximately 17,000 vehicles each day, with about 2,500 per year resulting in arrests.  In addition, some 10,000 pounds of drugs are seized each month at this very efficient checkpoint.  In one case, the search of a tour bus yielded more than 10 pounds of marijuana, 36 baggies of heroin and a loaded .45 handgun … all of which beg the question … what, exactly, was the owner of these items thinking?  We know marijuana causes one to be forgetful … was that what happened?  Did he forget that he had those items with him?  And those drug-sniffing dogs … did he think they would be off duty when he got to the checkpoint?

Fun fact: When Willie Nelson was arrested for possession of marijuana in Sierra Blanca, the county prosecutor gave him a choice: pay a fine of $3,000.00 or sing his famous song “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.”  Willie chose to pay the fine.

Though some found it difficult to believe that a devout marijuana advocate like Willie had stopped smoking, he pointed out that he had simply decided to give his 86-year-old lungs a break.  And, with cannabis now available in so many forms, he insists he has not lost his affection for the wonders of THC.  For example, a quick review of the choices within his own “Willie’s Reserve” brand show a range of choices to include infused chocolate and fruit chews, along with an assortment of flowers and bud.

At a certain age, people often sit down with family to discuss and make arrangements for the inevitable end of one’s life.  What kind of service shall we have?  Do we want a funeral and burial?  Is cremation the way we want to go?

Willie Nelson, it seems, has things all mapped out.  Given his many years of inhaling marijuana smoke … and with a generous nod to his fans … he used the title of one of his many hits to announce what he wants done with his remains:

Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die

O Hippie, Where Art Thou?

“Turn Out The Lights, The Party’s Over …”  

Although Willie Nelson wrote and sang those memorable words in 1966, they ring especially true today.  The Woodstock 50th Anniversary hoopla has lurched to an end, festival organizers are aghast at the financial hit they endured,  and the Museum at Bethel Woods is operating on its reduced winter schedule.  In other words, calm has returned to that bucolic patch of hallowed ground in upstate Sullivan County, New York.

So … now what?  Given the age of most Woodstock “veterans,” this recent shindig likely marked the “last hurrah” for many who would like nothing more than to continue reliving those magical days in August of 1969.  But these worthies face an inescapable truth … unless marijuana, hash and LSD have some previously unreported anti-aging properties, none of those sprightly flower children who migrated to the original gathering at Yasgur’s farm will be around for the centennial.

On the other hand, being an “elder” of the original Woodstock clan provides one with a certain degree of panache.  As such, members of that august-but-diminishing group are, in effect, “keepers of the flame” of hippiedom, with a duty to educate and guide those who follow.  At the Baba Yaga Home for Unkempt Hippies, for example, aspirants can assume the lotus position while absorbing truths from such luminaries as Moonblossom and Zephyr.

Others, however, have decided that enough is enough.  For them, the time has come to trade in the frayed “Make Love Not War” t-shirt in favor of one with a slogan more suitable to crabby and disaffected senior citizens:

We are old … we are tired … get off our lawn.

The Man in the Meadow

Well, that last half century certainly went by quickly.

The relentless hoopla about the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock seemed to reach a crescendo over the past couple of months, with Michael Lang’s ill-fated venture falling by the wayside, and a number of communities around the world mounting their own mini-celebrations of that iconic happening.

As “veterans” of the original event, we could not resist the pull to take one more journey back to that bucolic place known as Bethel, New York.  And though we originally planned to be there on the exact dates of the 50th, we decided to visit earlier in hopes of avoiding crowds and traffic.  

This proved to be an excellent choice for, when we made our way to Woodstock in early August, we were among the few people on hand that day.  Consequently, we could tour the lovely Museum at Bethel Woods at our leisure, and roam the grounds in absolute tranquility.

Leading up to our visit, I participated in several enjoyable and interactive talks about my book “Dear Hippie … We Met at Woodstock.”  Across these sessions, I met a number of folks who were at the 1969 festival … one even brought a photo of herself as proof.  Another had a (framed) copy of the original Woodstock program, and a third proved to be a helicopter pilot who used his chopper to assist with security efforts.

It was, of course, good to meet folks who were there in 1969, but most in attendance at my talks had never been to Woodstock.  Many were too young; others missed it because “… mom wouldn’t let me go”; and a number had simply read about the festival or watched it on television.  All, though, expressed amazement that an event of that magnitude could have taken place without ending in catastrophe.

Having worked at the Woodstock festival as a police officer, I share their sense of amazement.  And, considering the remarkable confluence of events leading up to that gathering, it is hard to believe that it occurred at all.  Yes, the few police on hand did their jobs well but, in my view, the credit for keeping things calm must go to the assembled masses who, while enduring three rain-soaked days without adequate food, water and shelter, did not allow the event to descend into chaos.

Many things have changed in the half century since the original gathering, but there remains a special aura surrounding that obscure bend in the road in upstate New York. It is here that a dairy farmer named Max Yasgur lent 600 acres of his dairy farm for the 1969 concert venue, and the rest is history.  That plot of land is now registered as both a state and a national historic site. 

At the end of our visit, we stopped at the monument overlooking the serene and well-tended meadow where, fifty years ago, some half a million people gathered for a weekend of peace, love and music.  Standing there, I noticed far off in the distance … in the meadow… near the location of the original stage … a man standing alone … playing a guitar.

I have no idea who that solitary musician was or where he came from.  And though I had driven 1,600 miles to reach Bethel, I have a feeling that he and I each felt drawn to that very special place by something that neither of us could fully articulate.  When all is said and done, Maya Angelou may have best captured the essence of Woodstock in these words:

The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place 

where we can go as we are and not be questioned.