Greetings and salutations on the Feast of Fools.
The graveyard of my good intentions is larger than Saint Michael's, and there seemed destined to end my New Year's resolution to be more active this year by doing things like walking nature trails. But after fading fast after January, my resolution has recently and unexpectedly been revived, as I have walked a portion of the Norwottock Trail twice in two weeks.
Today, I paused on my nature trail stroll at Pete's Diner, whose front faces Route 9 in Hadley and whose back is a section of the trail. Ah, just the thing to supplement my healthy walk - a plate full of greasy fried cholesterol!
The food is good and the prices are low. Step inside, and it is like you are transported to the 1950's.
I like this goofy statue by the diner door of a giant hotdog with arms to pour ketchup and mustard on itself. Something about it is strangely erotic.
I guess I shouldn't complain that a lot of people are using the trail, after all I've been promoting it for years. In fact quite a few people have told me that they went to the trail for the first time as a direct result of my website. And if you go once, the trail's incredible beauty will insure that you will return for the rest of your life.
It reminds me of how for years my friends and I used to say, "Why isn't everyone into the Grateful Dead?" Then one day in the late 1980's we discovered that everyone WAS into the Grateful Dead and it became impossible to get tickets to the shows. Even if you could, the audiences were full of drunken yahoos on downers who hadn't a clue what the music was about.
The last tour the Dead did was dubbed "The Tour from Hell" by the band itself for all the violence that occurred. I attended a show in Vermont, and described it this way in a piece I wrote years ago about Bob Dylan.
I did not attend the Dylan concert in Hamp recently, but I have seen him in concert a few times. The first time was in Springfield during the Rolling Thunder tour and I remember spotting the poet Allen Ginsberg dancing just off-stage with finger cymbals. I also saw Dylan once in Hartford with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers as his back-up band, probably the best time I saw him for sheer musicianship. I also saw Dylan with the Grateful Dead on a few occasions in the late 1980's when he was a fixture on Dead tours. The last time I saw him was in Vermont in 1995 at an abandoned Air Force base near the Canadian border when he and his band were the warm-up act for the Dead. So many people stormed the gates that the concert became a free festival, which is a nice way of saying it became a shitty mess with traffic jams and chaos galore as news spread that the show was free and the ticketless masses poured in from all over New England. The concert site became the largest city in Vermont for one day, although that may not be all that much of an accomplishment considering that Vermont has a larger population of cows than people.
For the rest of my life I'll always remember the terrible roar and awe-inspiring sight of the gate to the concert site coming crashing down under an unstoppable sea of swarming humanity - it looked like a scene from the bible or a Cecil B. DeMille epic; the Hittites storming the temple of the Grand Wazoo or something. Anyway, all the commotion caused me to be held back getting within earshot range of the stage so I missed Dylan's entire set except for the encore, "Like a Rolling Stone." Ain't seen Dylan since, and frankly don't much miss him. For my money he hasn't made any really interesting music since the late 1970's.
In any case, our wish that the Dead would become popular had come true, but we regretted the results. I hope that's not what's happening to the Norwottock Trail.
Finally, walking past the student housing on my street this morning I observed considerable evidence that this was a hard partyin' weekend!
My only objection is that I wasn't invited.