There are a lot of perks of being a musician’s daughter. I have many memories of going to father’s shows at a young age, jumping up and down and dancing to his original songs and covers. And as a hippie, Daddy’s favorite band was the Grateful Dead, so by the time I reached kindergarten I knew the words to “Going Down the Road Feelin’ Bad” and “Not Fade Away” while my friends were making up their own lyrics to N*SYNC’s “Bye Bye Bye”. My parents owned a stuffed animal Dancing Bear that I used to add to my menagerie when I would go to bed at night.
And by some kinda strange stroke of psychedelic luck, my father was the long lost twin of Jerry Garcia, the Dead’s frontman. Both men with wild and gray hair and beards, Daddy’s fans would refer to him as Gary Garcia. It even got confusing as his daughter: when I was ten, I noticed his Jerry Garcia doll (Why did he own that?) and yelled out, “Daddy look it’s you!!” “Oh no Claire, that’s Jerry Garcia”.
The unfortunate part is that I didn’t get into the Dead until after a couple years after Daddy died. I was going through the massive CD collection, found myself a copy of American Beauty, popped it in my CD player and I’ve been hooked ever since. And you know what’s funny? I decided to play some Grateful Dead while I was writing this post, and “Eyes of the World”, which I 100% ripped the name off for this blog, started playing. Tuning into the chorus, I heard the words “Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world”, but Jerry wasn’t singing to me. The familiar lyrics were being sung by my father on stage, while I stood in the crowd, holding my mom’s hand. The Gary Gerloff band jammed on behind him. Daddy I know you’re always with me, you let me know that through music.
I can’t say thank you enough for guiding me all my life, from the when the days you greeted me home from school with a kiss and a few words to get me smiling, to the wisdom I can hear your voice in, from the old Dead songs today. Thank you for making sure I knew a few things as a child. I wish we could ride around in your green Yukon to Granite together, windows down, bathing suits and flip-flops on, discussing Orioles baseball together over live recordings of “Sugar Magnolia”. I can’t rewind the past, but I definitely cherish what we had together. Don’t worry, years from now when rich husband and I have a couple of little babies, they will be running around barefoot to “Franklin’s Tower” in their own sunshine daydream. I know that one day the four winds will blow me safely home to you, Daddy.
No, I am not some pot-smoking, molly popping hippie. You can be clean and love the Grateful Dead and psychedelia.