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Like many of you, one of my New Year’s Resolutions is to read more books. One of the books on my list is from the Santa Luz Literary Luncheon – “Five Presidents: My Extraordinary Journey with Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford” by Clint Hill.
Mr. Hill is a New York Times bestselling author who was the Secret Service agent that climbed onto President Kennedy’s car as soon as he heard gunshots and tried to shield the President and First Lady from harm. No big surprise, that day has haunted him throughout his life and writing books about his experiences has helped him heal somewhat.
“From my unique vantage point, I had the rare opportunity to observe the human side of these men – the most powerful men in the world – as each dealt with the enormous responsibilities and unforeseen challenges thrust upon them, and how their individual characters and personalities affected grave decisions.” – Clint Hill
Mr. Hill told us stories about his 17 years in the Secret Service while photos from his life flashed on a screen behind him. His first assignment was guarding the home of President Eisenhower’s mother in law. He quickly moved up to protecting the President and held that post until he retired at age 43 when he failed a physical and realized that he could no longer handle the physical and mental requirements of his job.
“Like the five presidents I served, there were many things that influenced the decisions I made, the actions I took, the man I became. It has indeed been an extraordinary journey.” – Clint Hill
As you can imagine, Mr. Hill had some incredible stories and I think what impressed me most was his age. At 85 years young, he was one of the most engaging and articulate speakers I have had the pleasure to meet. I was absolutely mesmerized by Mr. Hill and all that he had to say; he played a big part in some of our country’s most iconic moments and I am grateful that he is willing to share his inside view with all of us.
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When I was in college, I was a total preppy…….. then I went to a Grateful Dead concert and it changed me forever. Talk about how decisions you make have a ripple effect that will impact your life in ways that you could never imagine……
“Sometimes we live no particular way but our own.” – Eyes of the World
So, what is it about the Dead? Well of course, the music is why we keep coming back, that part is a no brainer. But as much as I love Neil Young, would I go on tour with him like we do with the Dead? Probably not. I have seen Neil multiple times on the same tour and have totally loved every show. All of them are pretty much the same though so I don’t think I could do the entire tour without losing some of my enthusiasm for the music each night.
If I told you all that went down, it would burn off both of your ears.” – Deal
The Dead shows on the other hand are therapy for me. Each show is unique and everyone stands and dances the entire four hours of the concert. If you want to sit, that’s cool but you better not complain if the people around you are dancing and blocking your view. I love to dance but I’m a terrible dancer so the shows are a place that I can do whatever I want and not feel self-conscious or beat myself up the next morning for acting stupid. No matter how silly you might be, trust me, there’s going to be someone there who is way weirder than you are.
“What I want to know, is are you kind?” – Uncle John’s Band
The Deadheads are either hippies or wanna be hippies which makes for a super nice group of people to hang with – everyone is polite, not a lot of pushing, shoving and yelling. When the Stones played at Petco Park, we had the most obnoxious people sitting in front of us and it really put a damper on the evening. During the same concert, a friend of mine said that a guy was chain smoking cigarettes and when the girl sitting next to him asked him to please stop, he spit on her! Granted, not all deadheads are peace loving, kind, and gentle but more often than not, they are.
Through this world of trouble, We gotta love one another.” – My Sisters & Brothers
The best analogy I can make to help non Deadheads understand the appeal is sports. If you are a HUGE Lakers fan, even though the players are the same, and the rules are the same, you watch every game. The same goes for the Dead – the same musicians perform at every concert and they play the same instruments every time but you’re never sure what you are going to get. Each concert has a different set list and the band tends to improvise rather than play the songs the same way every time. Everyone is always so excited before the show in anticipation of what song the band will open with and afterwards, Deadheads like to compare their notes; they know their stuff and truly are little musicologists!
“Without love in the dream, it will never come true.” – Help on the Way
When I first started going to the shows, I never imagined that the Dead would play such a huge role in my life. If I didn’t genuinely love the band, the music, and the scene, it’s highly unlikely that my husband and I would still be married!
“If you get confused, just listen to the music play.” – Franklin’s Tower
No matter what kind of music you like, I firmly believe that music has the power to inspire and heal & I hope that you have something in your life that brings you the kind of joy that I get from being a Deadhead.
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For the last couple of years, my husband has been part of a group of cyclists (bicycles not motorcycles) who ride the Amgen Tour of California course before the professionals start their race. Eight or nine Pro Cycling Teams participate in the eight day race that covers approximately 650 miles.
Carmichael Training Systems (CTS) is the only organization that gives amateur riders complete access to the Tour of California. They get to ride all of the stages as well as have VIP access to areas that are closed off to the public. The amateurs also get to eat their meals with the pro teams and stay in the same hotels. It’s a wonderful way to see the expanse and variety of topography that California has to offer as well as a behind the scenes look at how the pro cyclists live.
I’m always fascinated by the mindset of someone who takes on this type of challenge. Personally, you could not pay me to do this ride but I definitely have a lot of respect and admiration for the people who participate. I am more than content to view the world from the comfort of my climate controlled car with a nice cushiony seat.
I am so happy for my husband though that he has something that he loves so much yet isn’t crazy competitive about. I think cycling is the only thing that he is not competitive about. And what makes it even more impressive for him to be so chill is that the rest of the group is super intense. Normally, it’s hard not to get caught up in the energy of those around you especially when you’re outnumbered like that.
He’s never been afraid to be his own person and one of the many reasons why I love him is because he isn’t always trying to fit in even if it isn’t popular to do so.
Thank you for visiting BdaKiNE.com & have a grateful day.